Gene Fieger, who once dominated the Philadelphia Section PGA as an assistant pro at Overbrook Golf Club in the 1990s, stood as the low club pro when play in the opening round of the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship was halted by thunderstorms Thursday at Trump National Golf Club in Potomac Falls, Va.
Fieger, an assistant pro at The Club Pelican Bay in Naples, Fla., was 3-under through 14 holes in the PGA Tour Champions’ first major championship of the season which leaves him tied for 11th.
Fieger, Radnor Valley Country Club head pro George Forster and Applebrook Golf Club head pro Dave McNabb all earned tickets to the KitchenAid Senior PGA at last fall’s Senior PGA Professional Championship presented by GolfAdvisor and Mercedes-Benz USA at the PGA Golf Club’s Wanamaker Course in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Fieger, who won the Senior Club Pro in 2013, led by two shots going into the final round at the Wanamaker Course last November before settling for third place. Fieger is a product of Nether Providence High School.
Fieger started on the back nine at Trump National Thursday and made birdies at 13 and 15 to make the turn at 2-under. He dropped a shot with a bogey at the first, but had birdies at three and six before play was halted.
Bernhard Langer, seeking to break his tie with Jack Nicklaus for most PGA Tour Champions major victories at eight, grabbed the opening-round lead with a 7-under 65. Langer finished with an eagle on the par-5 18th hole. A win in the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship would also make Langer the only player with wins in all five of the senior circuit’s current designated majors.
McNabb is tied for 40th at 1-under, although he only got in seven holes before play was suspended. McNabb also started on the 10th and made a birdie at the 13th to get into red figures.
McNabb finished tied for 28th at the Senior Club Pro in Florida last fall. The top 35 finishers at the Wanamaker Course earned berths in the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.
Forster is another shot behind McNabb at even-par through 13 holes, which leaves him tied for 63rd. Forster, who is playing in his 12th PGA Tour Champions major championship, started fast with birdies at two and three. Bogeys at seven and eight dropped him back to even-par.
The goal for most club pros in this event is to make the cut, which will come after Friday’s second round, although Fieger might be able to set his sights a little higher if he can keep up his good play.