England and Wales (North) Region
31 Jul 13
When you drop two shots on the first hole in an important tournament you can only hope things will get better.
But even by his high standards Craig Corrigan could never have envisaged what would unfold in the rest of his round.
The 44-year-old Haigh Hall professional, one of the most consistent players in PGA North over two decades, pushed his opening drive in the Manchester Open at Marriott Worsley Park into trees and paid the penalty.
"As you'd expect, it unsettled me but after that I kept out of trouble," he said as he handed in a card featuring nine threes in a five-under-par 66 to share the lead with Tees-side's Vincent Guest.
"I stuck to my tried and trusted swing and everything clicked into place. I only had 28 putts which was below my average," he said.
Corrigan penciled in three birdies to reach the turn in one-over and then the fireworks started as he reeled off six threes on the home stretch, the best accounting for an eagle on the 515-yards final hole.
"That putt from 25 feet was the longest of the day," he added.
Guest's round was less spectacular - in fact, he described it as "uneventful" from tee to green.
"I picked off the birdies chances and had six all told," said the 45-year-old who was so troubled with a back injury over two seasons that he had to have four injections to ease the pain.
"The last one was nearly 18 months ago so hopefully that's the end of the problem," said Guest, 26lbs lighter after the experience and much fitter through exercising regularly.
A shot behind were Mossock Hall's David Shacklady and fellow PGA Cup player Andrew Barnett, from North Wales Driving Range.
Meanwhile, Brookdale professional Tony Cuppello, one of 18 players on 69, had nine birdies despite suffering s rib injury early in his round.