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Brooks gets short shrift as defender KEMPER OPEN NOTEBOOK


POTOMAC -- With names like Price, Norman, Couples, Kite and Ballesteros, it's easy to forget about Mark Brooks.

Amid all the hype of this year's big-name field, Kemper's defending champion hasn't received the usual attention that surrounds a returning champ.

"It doesn't really make a difference to me," Brooks said. "They are trying to sell tickets and it's a great field."

Brooks finished with a 1-under-par 70 in the first round. Brooks, who had a bogey on the 15th hole, said it could have been worse.

"I played up and down with only one bogey today," Brooks said. "I could've made two or three more but I'm playing fine."

The Fort Worth, Texas, native is attempting to become only the second player to repeat as Kemper champion. Craig Stadler is the only player to achieve back-to-back titles -- in 1981 and 1982 at Congressional Country Club.

Funk's group

You don't have to tell Fred Funk about the big names in this tournament.

Funk's threesome consisted of golf's all-time money leader in Tom Kite and the world's No. 2-ranked player in Greg Norman.

Despite playing alongside Norman and Kite, the University of Maryland alumnus and former golf coach said there was no pressure.

"I was actually very loose today prior to going off and everything," said Funk, who finished at two-over 73. "I played with Norman last week in the Memorial so that kind of helped. I was really comfortable today."

Four withdraw

Ninety-two degree heat and all of Avenel's 7,005 yards may have contributed to the withdrawal of four players from the Kemper field.

Australian Bret Ogle withdrew due to dizziness after playing nine holes. Hubert Green of Panama City Beach, Fla., dropped out with no explanation and David Quelland of Ocean City left after shooting an 85. Jim Thorpe of Grand Island, N.Y., withdrew before the first round for unknown reasons.

McGinnis shoots 80

It doesn't appear as if Holly Hills head pro Mike McGinnis will win the Kemper, after all. Barring an unforeseen turnaround today, he likely will not make the cut.

"I didn't come out here just to make the cut; I came out to win," McGinnis said after an opening-round 80.

Things started well for McGinnis, who at 56 is the oldest player to tee it up at the Kemper. He was 1-under par through five holes and had a 10-footer for birdie at the short par-5 sixth.

But he missed the putt there and a double bogey at the par-4 seventh started his road back to oblivion. He double-bogeyed the par-3 after putting his tee shot in a pond, and bogeyed No. 10.

On that hole, his drive landed on an electrical cable. After a ruling, he was given a drop, but the ball wound up in a depression caused by the cable.

"It just got ugly for a while," said McGinnis.

He had some chances to get it back a little, but missed birdie putts at 15, 16 and 17.

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