Rick Hughes of Indian Spring and Billy Bassler Jr. of Rolling Road each shot 68 to share the first-round lead of the 54-hole U.S. Air/Middle Atlantic PGA Championship today at Golden Horseshoe.
Herb Rose of Bay Hills and Mike McGinnis of Holly Hills were next at 69, followed at 71 by Luther Showaker of Leisure World, Jan Miller of Chevy Chase, Fred Gibson of Washingtonian and Woody FitzHugh of Great Falls, Va., at 71.
Although Hughes bogeyed the final hole and Bassler parred it, Hughes was awarded airline tickets for low pro of the day because of the "retrogression" system in breaking ties. For each round of the tournament, the day's low scorer is given two tickets to anywhere U.S. Air flies.
Carl Rasnic, MAPGA tournament director, explained retrogression. "It means that a person who pars the last hole (Bassler) would lose to a person who bogeys it (Hughes) because through 17 holes, Hughes' score was lower."
Hughes, 27, made five birdies, the last at the par-4 17th hole, where he sank a 15-foot putt. He did not hit his drive far enough to get around the dogleg at the 441-yard, par-4 finishing hole and he had to play his second shot well short of the green and took bogey.
Bassler hooked a five-iron shot around trees and onto the green to par the final hole. Bassler opened with bogey, then made four front-nine birdies, before finishing with nine straight pars.
Bassler, 31, played the PGA Tour last year with little success, making $570 and only one cut in 20 events. This year, he started playing well in the Maryland Open (finishing fifth), and he tied for ninth in the Greater Baltimore Open.
Rose hit into water and bogeyed 16, made a 30-foot putt for par at 17, and scrambled to a par on 18 after topping his tee shot.
McGinnis, 44, shot 80 in Sunday's pro-am, but "hit the irons really good" today and made four birdies.
Gibson was four under par after 15 holes, but finished bogey-bogey-double bogey.
Miller and Showaker also had trouble with the finishing holes as both finished bogey-bogey.
Showaker's approach shot on the par-4 17th hole fell short of the green and the ball rested atop four inches of grass clippings. He punched a sand wedge shot from that unique lie to 10 feet from the hole and he was thankful for the resultant bogey.
"I really think even par is going to win this tournament," said 1975 Middle Atlantic Open champion Showaker, who has played in 13 straight MAPGA championships. "The tees are going to be moved back each day."
FitzHugh made three back-nine birdies for an incoming 32.
Defending champion Mike Wynn of Evergreen took quadruple bogey at 15 and double bogey at 18 and finished with 77.
The University of Maryland's golf coach, Fred Funk, the MAPGA leading money winner, is ineligible because he still is an apprentice pro.