Golf pros slamming the trunks of their cars is never a good sign.
Especially when it's not much more than halfway through the first round.
But there were three of the favourites at the Canadian PGA Senior Championship in the parking lot at The Marshes at Brookstreet yesterday, putting their clubs away, done for the week.
Defending champ Yvan Beauchemin, tournament favourite Rod Spittle and local favourite Graham Gunn were all disqualified after playing from the wrong tee on the par-3 fifth (their 14th of the day after starting on No. 10).
"I guess we can laugh a little about it now and cry tonight," said Spittle, who teed off first on the fifth hole, where the tee deck is around the corner from the cart path behind a stand of trees.
He hit from the white markers -- reserved for the 70+ Diamond Division -- rather than the black tee 20 yards back on the tee deck.
"I hate to say it's one of those things because it's kind of my fault. That's where we played from in the pro-am (Wednesday). I didn't know there was another tee box back there. It's kind of confusing."
"There's no excuses," said Gunn, who noticed their mistake when he looked back after they had teed off on the sixth and saw the group behind them at the correct tee.
Gunn, Spittle and Beauchemin could have corrected their mistake with a two-shot penalty if they had realized their mistake before teeing off on the sixth.
"The fact is it's black and white," said Gunn, no pun intended.
Spittle was 1-over, while Beauchemin and Gunn were both 2-over.
Norm Jarvis of Surrey, B.C., leads heading into the second round of the 54-hole championship after an opening 3-under 69. The former Champions Tour player is one shot ahead of a group that includes 2005 champ Hocan Olsson of St-Bruno, Que.; Craig Marseilles of Maple, a strong player on the Ontario circuit; and former PGA player Ray Stewart of Abbotsford, B.C.
"Any time the good players give me a shot advantage, I'll take it," said Jarvis. "This is one of the strongest fields I've seen in a while."
Well, it's not as strong after the tee-box embarrassment.
Not to make excuses, but for most of their careers they have played in tournaments in which there is only one set of tee blocks. But make no mistake: The responsibility for playing from the proper tee rests with the players.
MADE SAME MISTAKE
Olsson was playing with Adam Brown of Dundas, who was slapped with a two-shot penalty after recognizing his mistake in the same spot a couple of years ago.
"He told us to go back or we would have teed off there, too," said Olsson.
Claude Tremblay of Repentigy, Que., who had a 1-under 71, could understand how the mistake happened.
"It's the only tee where you approach it from the front and the white tee is the first tee you see. I made the same mistake for about 15 seconds," said the 53-year-old, saved by the fact he wasn't hitting first and the other players in his group went to the black tee.
The top local performer was former Camelot head pro Barry Laphen, who had a 74 and is tied for 14th. He is also second in the 60+ Super Senior Division, one shot behind Ken Fulton of Port Hope.
Douglas Sullivan of Indian Mountain, N.B., has a big eight-shot lead in the Diamond Division after a 73.
A RULE'S A RULE...
Rule 11-4. Playing from outside teeing ground:
b. stroke play
If a competitor, when starting a hole, plays a ball from outside the teeing ground, he incurs a penalty of two strokes and must then play a ball from the teeing ground.
If a competitor makes a stroke from the next teeing ground without first correcting his mistake, or, in the case of the last hole of the round, leaves the putting green without first declaring his intention to fix his mistake, he is disqualified.
The stroke from outside the teeing ground and any subsequent strokes by the competitor on the hole prior to his correction of the mistake do not count in his score.
Rule 11-5. Playing from the wrong teeing ground:
The provisions of Rule 11-4 apply.