WALLA WALLA — Portland’s Mark Keating strolled to a 7-under-par 65 here Tuesday at the Wine Valley Golf Club to fashion a two-stroke lead in the first round of the PGA Pacific Northwest Senior Players Championship.
The 104-player field was greeted with near-perfect playing conditions, and more of the same was anticipated for today’s final round of the 36-hole tournament.
Keating was two shots in front of Jeff Coston from Blaine, Wash., who was alone in second place at 67 and one up on Kevin Coombs of Vancouver, Wash., in at 68. Rob Gibbons of Portland fired a 69 and was alone in fourth place.
There was a five-player logjam for fifth place at 2-under-par 70 and six more players deadlocked at 1-under 71 as many in the field had their way with the links-style Walla Walla course. Eight players carded even-par rounds of 72 as 23 players matched or bettered par.
One of those in at 1-under 71 was Wine Valley head professional John Thorsnes. And one of those at even-par 72 was Wine Valley amateur Michael Kloenne. Former Walla Walla Country Club pro Steve Stull was one of 10 players at 1-over 73.
Chris Repass, a Walla Walla native and the new head professional at Veterans Memorial Golf Course, fired a 74 and Walla Walla Country Club amateur Bill Boggs and Jim Pliska of Wine Valley shot 75s.
Another Wine Valley amateur, Bob Clarke, turned in a score of 80, and Chris Jacky of the country club shot 82.