Eyes on the prize

Kevin Broderson kind of shook off his opening round of the PGA of Alberta at the River Bend Golf Course Monday.

River Bend Golf and Recreation Area golf pro Todd Fiske plays a shot onto the green during play at the PGA of Alberta at River Bend on Monday.

Kevin Broderson kind of shook off his opening round of the PGA of Alberta at the River Bend Golf Course Monday.

“It was one of those days when it was going in,” he said when first asked how his day went.

But it was more than that as the Lacombe Golf and Country Club head professional shot a six-under par 66 to grab a share of the lead heading into today’s final round of the 36-hole event.

“I hit the ball well and putted well,” he said later.

“I made a couple of long putts plus made all the short ones.”

Broderson finished with six birdies — three on each nine — to go with 12 pars.

He shares the lead with Brett Burgeson of Calgary’s Country Hills Golf Club and Chris Toth of Riverside in Grande Prairie.

Broderson, who finished eighth in last year’s championship, went into the opening day with a lot of confidence.

“I like the River Bend course and have played it more than most of the guys. If you keep the ball in play you can score well,” he said.

Broderson is in his fifth season at Lacombe after moving to Central Alberta from Vauxhall.

He’s always been a club professional and is one of the top players at that level in the province. Two years ago he made the Alberta team at the club professional championships.

A group of four players sit tied for fourth at 67, including two-time defending champion Darryl James, who is an apprentice at the National Golf Academy at McCall Lake in Calgary.

James was born and raised in Kamloops.

He attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla. on a golf scholarship and moved to Alberta when he was 22. He competed at a number of Canadian Amateur championships, with his best finish a tie for third.

James is also no stranger to Red Deer, having twice made the Alberta Willingdon Cup team at the Red Deer Golf and Country Club.

But all that was before turning pro in 1993, when he joined the Canadian and South Africa tours.

He played six years before deciding to leave the pro circuit and get back into teaching golf.

“I never got into it (playing professionally) until I was 30 and by then I was married and had a family,” he explained.

“I was co-rookie of the year on the Canadian Tour and it was OK in South Africa, but they didn’t have the money I needed to be there. There also wasn’t the sponsorship so I felt I was better off to quit.”

In fact he quit playing competitive golf, but four years ago decided to get back on the links, against his fellow professionals in Alberta, and joined the McCall program.

James felt good about his round Monday and doesn’t feel any extra pressure being the two-time defending champion.

“There may be a bull’s-eye on my back, but the only real pressure is what you put on yourself to play well.

“I’m in a good spot and looking forward to Tuesday,” said the 48-year-old.

Jamie Kureluk of the Cottonwood Club in DeWinton, Don Graham, a retired member of the association, and Jeff Murdoch of Nevada Bob’s in Edmonton also came in with a 67 while Scott Anderson of Wolf Creek Golf Resort, Matt Freeman of Calgary’s Canyon Meadows and Adam Pederson of Heritage Pointe in DeWinton had 68s.

Five players sit at 69, including Red Deer native Mike Hogan of the Calgary Glencoe Club.

Jamie Gerlitz of Lacombe and Red Deer native Jason Stanier of Calgary Inglewood came in with a 71 while Todd Fiske of the host club shot a 72.

Jeff Potter of Pheasantback, Roy Hide of the RDGCC and Scott Bergdahl of Lakewood Golf Resort shot a 73 while Ryan Doucette of Cougar Creek at Sundre, Troy Gibb of River Bend and Shaun Luopa of the RDGCC had a 75.

Greg Risler of Pheasantback and David Drake of Pine Hills at Rocky Mountain House shot 76 with Wade Bearchell of Olds at 77, Kevin Snell of Nevada Bob’s Red Deer at 78 and Cody Fiske of River Bend at 81.

Jacques Plouffe of Edmonton Glendale, who is a former member of the RDC volleyball Kings, shot a 76.

Action begins today at 7 a.m. with the final group teeing off at 1:30 p.m.

drode@bprda.wpengine.com

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