Casino leaders standing tall

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:23 AM ET

Turns out on a windy day at the first round of the Casino Lac-Leamy Invitational at The Marshes, being low to the ground was an advantage.

To get on the leaderboard at the 54-hole, $70,000 Quebec PGA Tour event, they needed one of those "you must be this tall" signs like they have at Disney World, only in reverse.

First-round leader Les Carr, an assistant pro at the Peterborough Golf and Country Club, is 5-foot-8, "in my spikes," he said, and checked in with a 2-under par 70.

Gregg Foley of the Kevin Haime Golf Centre, who's just 5-foot-6, had a 1-under par 71, along with Carl Desjardins (5-foot-9) of Le Blainvillier, Steven Sung (5-foot-8) of Knight's Riding in Markham and Gregg Cuthill (5-foot-5) of Chateau Bromont.

"I stayed under the wind," said Foley, a 30-year-old teaching pro at Kevin Haime's, who had Kyle Koskie, one of the area's top amateurs (who isn't much taller), on his bag yesterday.

Foley, who had six birdies, a double bogey and three bogeys on the round, said yesterday's 71 was his best round at The Marshes in about 20 rounds there.

"The wind was moving, but at least it was consistent," said Carr, 29. "It wasn't swirling which makes it very difficult. It was a consistent 20 miles-an-hour."

The Casino Lac-Leamy invitational, which will award $12,000 to the winner tomorrow, is the opening event of the HSBC Prestige Series and the Quebec PGA Tour, which will have $1 million up for grabs this summer.

The Marshes, wet from recent rains, is a tough opening test, playing long yesterday.

"That golf course was something," said Sung, who did a remarkable job of hitting 16 greens in the conditions. "After seeing it (Wednesday), I thought I'd be lucky to break 80. I was comfortable on the 18th tee. I said to myself, 'I've got a nine-shot cushion to break 80.' It's a fabulous course. That's going to be my goal, to break 80 each day I'm here."

CHIPPING AWAY

Carr was 1-under on his front nine despite hitting only two greens. He chipped in for a birdie once and got it up and down like a bandit.

Usually he goes south for the winter, but stayed up here this year and credited a winter of working indoors with veteran Ontario pro Mark Evershed in Peterborough for the sharpness of his short game.

Cuthill, who tried the Canadian Tour for six years, had three birdies and two bogeys and did well despite feeling under the weather. He suffered from vertigo two years ago and was dizzy yesterday morning.

"I didn't expect anything because I didn't feel good. That's the first time in two years I've had any symptoms," he said. "I nonchalantly came in with a 71. If all my bad rounds were 71s, I'd be a rich man."

There is a group of five players at 73, two shots off the pace, including Pierre-Luc Bergeron of Golf Experience, Dave Levesque of Royal Quebec, Kevin Senecal of Le Maitre Tremblant, Keir Smith of The National and Serge Thivierge of the Quebec PGA.

Roger Beale of the host club, who recently qualified to represent his native Barbados at the World Cup this December, was in a group of five players at 74 while Graham Gunn of the Carleton Golf and Yacht Club, had a 75.


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