Courage paces field at Hamptons

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 6:22 AM ET

Gord Courage began the day just trying to keep pace. But by the end of the day, he had managed to set it.

Courage carded a first-round 70 yesterday at the Ben Hogan Assistants' Tour Championship at the Country Club of the Hamptons.

Courage, who's an a associate pro at the Hamptons, managed to shoot the best round of the day, which puts him into today's match-play semifinal.

"Being my home course, there's a certain advantage but there's also a certain amount of pressure to," said Courage, who won this tournament in 2001.

"I was playing with Troy Prusky (yesterday) and he really had it going on. He was four-under through eight, so I knew if I could just stay close to him I would have a decent chance of having a good round."

Prusky, an a associate pro at Lakeside Golf Course, ended the day, even par, which was also good enough to put him among the four qualifiers for today's semifinal. Priddis Greens pros Tim Sawatzky and Matt Freeman also shot 72 yesterday.

Meanwhile, Scott Allred of Elbow Springs shot a 1-under to win the first round of stroke play in the head pro tour championship division.

Courage, 45, admitted his unique knowledge of the greens at the Hamptons helped him post a low number despite a four putt on No. 4.

"Some courses, it's not an advantage but it definitely is here," he explained. "These greens are tricky. Knowing how hard to hit it is key. A lot of putts here are against the grain on one part and down the grain on the next part. So you really need a good touch to tap in."

Moving to a match play excites Allred.

"I love match play. In fact, I wish (yesterday's) round was that format," said Allred. "Your mindset has to be a little more aggressive depending on who you're playing with.

"When you're playing stroke play, you're just trying to stay away from doubles and triples but with this it doesn't matter."

Much like Courage, Allred knew the Hamptons greens were going to test yesterday's field.

"The greens are really quick but in great shape," he explained. "This is the second time I've played here and the greens can be a little testy."

Today's semifinal rounds will begin at 8:45 a.m. and the final 18 will be played starting at 2 p.m.


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