The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


June 9, 2012

Chad Walker's 67 earns Briarbrook Invitational lead

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — Chad Walker picked a good day to shoot a personal-best 5-under-par 67, and after one round of play, he owned the lead in the 44th annual Briarbook Invitational.

Walker has never won the tournament before, and missed last year’s invitational because he was undergoing treatment for cancer.  

“I was too sick, I just wasn’t able to play,” said Walker.

In his first outing at Briarbrook Golf Course since his cancer treatment, Walker excelled, shooting a 4-under 32 on the front side and a 35 on the back.  

“I had a pretty consisent day with my ball strike,” he said.  

Walker cited solid putting and strong iron play as the reason for his first-round success.  

“I actually struggled at first with my putting,” said Walker, who said he missed a few easy shots on the front nine.  “Later on in the round things started coming around, and I continued my good iron play, which led to my 67.”

Former champion Jim Lucas trailed Walker by just one stroke, carding a 4-under 68.  Lucas, who won the tournament in 2005, had a strong day throughout.  

“There’s so much golf left to play,” said Lucas.  “It’s a grind, there’s no question about it.”

Lou Rapalino, another former champion, Ryan Knell, and Steve Hoenshell are all two strokes back, posting 69s.  Tied for sixth are Chris Patterson, John Robinson III, Shane Cowger and Steve McKenzie, who all shot 71s on Friday.  

Frank Jacobs and Tug Baker matched par 72 and are tied for 10th.  

Defending champion Boyd Downey had a somewhat disappointing opening round, posting a 2-over 74.

The field will be divided into flights after today’s second round. The final round will be played on Sunday.

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