Desert Willow Golf Club’s Firecliff Course in Palm Desert, California, is hosting 84 of the top senior amateur players in the country for the 2022 Golfweek Senior Division National Championship.
The 54-hole event concluded its first round of play with one man on top of the leaderboard. Jerry Gunthorpe, a 58-year old mechanical contractor from Ovid, Michigan, leads by one shot following his opening 4-under 68.
A bogey-free day, Gunthorpe kept his card clean with birdies on Nos. 7 and 13 before closing with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 17 and 18 despite his lack of green control and what he described as an “abomination of ball striking”. Overcoming his struggles, Gunthorpe buckled down and got it right when he needed to.
Without having his A-game, Gunthorpe had a clean card with four pristine circles, which could spell trouble for the rest of the field.
One shot back of Gunthrope is Jerry Slagle. The Southlake, Texas, native carded a 3-under 69 that featured a tournament-high seven birdies. A much different day than Gunthorpe, Slagle is still the main challenger to the Michigander.
As always, Slagle said that his day could’ve been a lot better, but he recognized that it could’ve been a lot worse, too.
Three are tied at 1 under and six more are within five shots of Gunthorpe.
Split-tee action begins Monday at 10:15 am ET. Moving day will be scored live on Golf Genius with a winner claiming their title and 1,200 Golfweek Player of the Year points on Wednesday.