POTOMAC -- Tommy Armour, who began the week as an alternate and got into the Kemper Open field when Tiger Woods withdrew Monday, responded with a 4-under-par 67 yesterday at TPC at Avenel.
"I was a second alternate and not worried about getting in. If it were Wednesday and I wasn't playing -- then I'd have been concerned," he said.
Armour, grandson of his namesake who won the 1927 U.S. Open, got to 5 under through 15 holes, but finished with a bogey at the ninth (his 18th) for a 67.
Donnie Hammond was the No. 1 player off the first tee, and Adam Decker was No. 156 (and last off No. 10) for the first round. Hammond had a much better experience.
Hammond, a Frederick native and tour regular, started with a 1-under-par 35-35--70. Decker, the Caves Valley assistant professional in his first major event, struggled to a 39-37--76.
"The ball-striking was fine, but I couldn't get the putter going," Decker said.
Said Hammond, playing in his 16th consecutive Kemper: "You have to be sharp around the greens, and this time I was able to turn a bad round into a good one."
DeFrancesco at 75
Wayne DeFrancesco, teaching professional at Woodholme CC,
"hit too many shots left," and finished 37-38. This is his fifth Kemper in the last seven years, and he has made two cuts.
Estes under par
Jimmy Estes, who grew up in Bethesda, opened with 34-36--70. XTC This is the ninth event for him and he has made one cut (tie for 16th at the Greater Greensboro Open with a last-round 68, worth $30,863), and one still to finish -- the postponed AT&T; at Pebble Beach.
"I was really pleased with Greensboro. It was my best finish and boosted my confidence," he said. "My game is coming around, but the big thing is getting to feel comfortable playing with players who I had looked up to in the past."
He saved his first round by birdieing four of the last five holes, including a 50-foot putt from the left side of the ninth green to finish.
Woody Austin made the first double-eagle of the year on the PGA Tour when he holed a 1-iron second shot at the 520-yard sixth hole. He finished at 68.
Among the others with area ties, Russ Cochran, a mini-tour event winner in Baltimore in 1983, had 71; former Middle Atlantic PGA Player of the Year Rob McNamara had 73, and current member Rick Schuller, who qualified last week, had 74. Michael Muehr, the four-spot medalist who qualified Monday at Argyle CC, was three under par for 15 holes, then gave two back when he double-bogeyed No. 7 after hitting into the back bunker for his only missed green of the round. He finished at 70.
Pub Date: 6/05/98