Very few of his fans showed up early enough to see him tee off at 8:24 a.m., and after going three over par on his first nine, with bogeys at 14, 17 and 18, Lee Elder played almost in isolation while shooting 36 on the front side.
Only his wife, Rose, and a few friends witnessed his bogeys on the fifth and sixth holes that sent him to five over par. He hit his tee shot in the trap at No. 5, was short with his second shot, then left an uphill putt short.
"He's leaving a lot of them short today," his caddy told Rose on the way to the sixth tee. Elder was in the rough with his first and second shots, then knocked a wedge over the green, chipped short, was on in five and one-putted for another bogey.
He got his first roar of approval from the crowd surrounding the eighth green when his wedge shot hit the stick and stopped three feet from the hole. Crowds tend to linger around the eighth and ninth greens, so Elder's gallery swelled in those spots.
Elder made the birdie, his only of the day, but by that time he was playing very lackadaisically, rushing his shots and being impatient. Birdies were as sparse as the conversation in his threesome, which included Bobby Nichols (74) and Allen Miller (77).
There was another roar from the huge crowd around the ninth green when Elder chipped within five feet after missing the green, then made the putt for par and his 76. Still, most of the noise was coming from two foursomes behind, where most of the morning crowd was following Jack Nicklaus.