KILLEN — One by one Thusday, players in the field at the 103rd Alabama State Amateur golf tournament entered the scoring room, looking haggard and with water dripping off their caps, their shirts and their pants.
Some looked shell-shocked, others simply found humor in a day that was better suited for staying indoors instead of battling the elements on a tough Turtle Point Yacht and Country Club course.
Everybody seemed to agree — they were happy to finally be done with their round and were looking for a place to dry off and warm up.
How tough were conditions?
“I don’t know if I have ever played a tournament where it rained all 18 holes,” said former UNA golfer and Decatur native Matt Gourgeot, who shot 77.
“It was like taking a shower that never ends,” another player uttered.
Rain started falling around 9 a.m. and didn’t quit until just before the final group finished. There were periods when it was a steady drizzle and there were periods of heavy rain.
One story from the scoring room was that a player hit a shot and the club slipped out of his hand and went flying about 20 yards down the fairway. The player never did find his golf ball after hitting it.
Given the forecast for the rest of the 72-hole tournament — more rain — the weather promises to be an ongoing source of concern for tournament officials of the Alabama Golf Association.
When the final scores from the first round were posted, former North Alabama golfer Trent Alexander and Mobile’s Will McFadden shared the lead at 4-under-par 68. Both had one thing in common — they played early.
Alexander, a former assistant professional Turtle Point who played bogey free, was in the second group off at 7:10 a.m. McFadden teed off at 8:30 a.m.
“It rained on us from No. 8 through 17,” Alexander said. “It was mostly a nuisance. It was not hard enough to be a real problem.”
Alexander finished his college career at UNA in 2015. He made birdies on No. 8, 11, 15 and 17.
Alexander briefly turned professional before regaining his amateur status late last year. Now, he sells lumber and just recently moved back to Florence from Athens. He played high school golf at Shoals Christian and was a part of a team that won four straight state titles.
“My dad has always told me that you get a little bit smarter when you get out of college,” Alexander said. “In college you think you are as invincible. I just tried to grind it out and not make any mistakes.”
McFadden reached 7-under through 15 holes, but a bogey on No. 16 and a double-bogey at No. 18 left him tied for the lead.
Only 11 players broke par in the first round, with another seven at even par.
Ford Goldasich, Austin Coggin, Dawson Atkinson and Logan Archer led a group of four players who shot 70.
UNA’s Rob Richards was in a group of five players who shot 70. Thirty-eight players are within six shots of the lead, nearly anyone of which could leapfrog to the front depending on playing conditions. The scoring average in the first round was 77.6 – just shy of 6-over-par.
Today’s second round is scheduled to begin a 7 a.m. The field will be cut to 60 players and ties for the weekend rounds — weather permitting, of course.