TOWSON, Mary. (Oct. 16, 2012) -- Marty West, an amateur from Columbia Country Club, and John Francisco, a Director of Instruction at Piney Branch GC, fired 2-under-par 68's to share the lead after the rainy opening round of the 13th annual Maryland State Senior Open at the Country Club of Maryland in Towson.
The rain, present earlier, returned around noon as a light shower, but when it increased in strength, it forced a mid-afternoon suspension of play for an hour. One-half of the morning wave finished prior to that (just barely) and the last three groups off the other side had to wait and return to complete their rounds.
The afternoon groups all got off, although a bit late, but the delay was long enough to prevent a complete finish, so members of the last five groups will return in the morning to do that and then play a complete second round in what is expected to be good weather.
The co-leaders were followed by professionals Charlie Briggs, Burning Tree Club, and defending champion Bob Affelder, The Bay Club, at 69, and professional Bud Lintelman, Westpark Golf Club in Leesburg, VA, runner-up a year ago, and John Howson, a two-time defending champion.
West continued his stellar play of the last few months -- he has won the Maryland State and Washington Metropolitan Seniors and qualified for the U.S. Seniors -- by birdieing two of his first four holes and getting to the turn 4 under. On the front, he had two birdies and three bogeys -- the last coming at the ninth hole in the pouring rain, just ahead of the suspension.
Francisco started on the front opposite West and had two birdies, one bogey on the front and one birdie on the back for 34-34 against a par of 35-35 over a course seemingly playing longer than its listed 6,225 yards. He chipped in for one birdie, hit a shot to six inches to set up another and on the back he almost holed a second shot at the 268-yard 12th, settling for birdie.
Briggs ended with three birdies, two bogeys, and Affelder followed an opening bogey at No. 10 with two birds. Lintelman was 2 under for 15 holes, then doubled No. 7 to fall back to even, while Howson had three birdies, three bogeys in his par-matching tour.
Notes: There are seven past champions in the field, including four-timer Larry Ringer. . .Marty Johnson was 3 under for 10 holes, then struggled the rest of the way on the back nine to complete a 73. . .David Nocar got to 3 under for 12 holes, but a difficult lie in a bunker at the par-3 13th, led to a quadruple bogey. . .There was no cut, so the entire field will play the second round.
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