- The Washington Times - Friday, May 31, 2002

Wayne DeFrancesco ended his first round at Avenel yesterday with a bogey, settling for a 1-under 70. Most Kemper Open entrants might have grimaced at the stumble that kept him from finishing in the 60s. If it bothered DeFrancesco, he didn't show it. He hugged his 10-year-old daughter, Lindsay who walked the full round with her dad for the first time hopped in a golf cart with his wife, Jennifer, and headed for the clubhouse with a smile.
The club pro, who teaches golf full time, is playing in his seventh Kemper, and though he missed the cut his last four times here, he's on track to make it this time. He barely prepared for the tournament, instead spending last week giving 50 hours of instruction at Woodholme Country Club in Pikesville, Md.
DeFrancesco had company among area club pros doing well yesterday. David Hutsell, assistant pro at Columbia Country Club, shot 68 in just his second appearance at the Kemper and is five shots behind the leader.
"One-under is always good in a [PGA] Tour event," DeFrancesco said. "If I make the cut and have a good finish, that will be a remarkable accomplishment for me."
The experience DeFrancesco has enjoyed and will enjoy this year is, as he said, "like the commercial it's priceless." By winning the club pro championship last June (DeFrancesco estimated he beat out 5,000 competitors), he gained eight exemptions into PGA events this season. He used his third to play the Kemper and plans on playing at Westchester next week and attempting to qualify for the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship.
These are prestigious events for a player who admits he does not possess the physical capabilities to compete with the top-tier players in the Kemper field.
"I'm 44. My body can't take the day-in, day-out pounding," DeFrancesco said.
Nonetheless, DeFrancesco remains a teacher through and through. After his round yesterday, right when he stepped on the practice range, he began chatting with Brenden Pappas about the South African's game. The two had talked Tuesday, and after DeFrancesco examined Pappas' swing using video equipment a teaching tool he uses to remedy even his own swing he made a few suggestions. Pappas shot a 69 yesterday and told DeFrancesco the advice helped.
"I can't get away from teaching," DeFrancesco said. "It doesn't matter who it is, I'll make suggestions. I always know what I do wrong, but the physical part is hard. It's hard for my body to do what my mind tells it to."
But DeFrancesco's mind might just be sharp enough for him to make the cut, which would be his first in three tournaments this year. If he doesn't, maybe he'll grab his camera, head out to the practice range this weekend and do what he does best teach.
"I've been real lucky this year," he said. "Guys like me don't get to play in these events."
DiMarco dazzles
For a player who said "I didn't really make that many putts" yesterday, Chris DiMarco's 66 wasn't too shabby.
DiMarco did have birdie putts lip out at Nos.1 and 9 and missed eagle putts from 15 and 12 feet, but he still carded a bogey-free round and enters today's play three shots behind leader Franklin Langham.
DiMarco, the highest-ranked player in the field, had a hot start last year with a 65 in the first round, and he is banking that he'll stay at the front of the pack this year.
"I've always started out good here," he said. "I've had good expectations, and the course sets up well for me. That's got a lot to do with it, I think."
Molder hits no snags
Thanks to increased time recently on the range getting comfortable with a stronger grip in his right hand, young American Bryce Molder recorded a 4-under 67 and is tied for eighth.
"I don't want to say [the round] was boring, but it was very consistent," Molder said. "I hit a couple really bad shots luckily they weren't too bad. I'm probably going to do that until I get more and more comfortable. A round like this, not making any bogeys, is giving me a lot of confidence in what I'm doing."
See ya
Brent Schwarzrock played three holes before withdrawing, citing back problems.


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