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Quigley has up-and-down first day on Inverness course

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Dana Quigley shot a 71 on the Inverness course Thursday, recording 3 birdies on the front nine, and three bogeys on the back nine.

The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
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Dana Quigley completed the opening round of the 2011 U.S. Senior Open trying to adequately and fairly summarize his day.

After shooting an even par round of 71 — recording three straight birdies on the front nine and three bogeys on the back nine — the 64-year-old Florida resident went into the clubhouse Thursday afternoon pondering his up-and-down day at Inverness Club.

“All in all, I should be very happy with the round,” said Quigley, whose name was present among the early leaders on the leaderboard after sinking three straight birdies during the first four holes.

Quigley made par on the No. 1 hole (Par 4, 395 yards) and then settled in and birdied Nos. 2, 3, and 4 to end up 3-under-par after four holes.

Not a bad start for one of the Champions Tour’s oldest players who hasn’t cracked the Top 25 in 10 Champions Tour events he’s participated in this year and only once in 20 outings over the past two seasons.

“The one and two holes are holes that you have to kind of attack,” Quigley said. “The course gets a lot harder after holes No. 2 and 11. I just made a really great shot on 3, the par 3. I hit it within a foot and almost couldn’t miss that one.

“The par 5, No. 4, I hit it on [the green] in two and two-putted. It was just a really solid way to start.”

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Quigley finished out the first half of the round by shooting par for holes 5 through 9 and ended up shooting 34 through the first nine holes. He understood there was still plenty more golf to play for the day.

“You try to keep it all in perspective because you’ve got 18 of them there and you can’t get too hyped on a good nine,” he said. “All a good nine does is guarantee you that you won’t be too bad from par for 18 holes.”

This isn’t Quigley’s first time at Inverness. He played in the 1979 U.S. Open, 1993 PGA Championship and the 2003 U.S. Senior Open, which were all held at Inverness.

But the course he remembers playing in the past isn’t what he is confronted with this week in Toledo.

“It’s way longer,” he said. “They built some back tees and it’s a monster. We’re a bunch of old men and they made a monster golf course.

“I told everyone back home [in Florida] that I was playing here and it’s the greatest little golf course that you’ve ever seen, but it ain’t little any more. It’s a killer.

“The whole back nine is like Star Wars out there.”

A turbulent-free and rather smooth ride on the front nine for Quigley led to a more challenging back nine to try and navigate. He bogeyed Nos. 13, 14, and 18 and failed to sink a birdie down the stretch.

It didn’t take long for him to realize how the back nine at Inverness doesn’t allow much wiggle room for mistakes.

“Par is a good score on all of them,” Quigley said, regarding holes 10 through 18. “If a birdie does happen to fall that’s awesome. If you can just keep from making bogey you haven’t lost anything to the field.”

Quigley ranks 89th on the Champions Tour money list for 2011 after earning just over $50,000 for 10 events. It’s a far cry from the $789,348 he earned in 2007 when he played in 26 Champions Tour events, recording five Top 10 finishes.

Quigley showed flashes of that past consistent play for a while Thursday morning, leading to a solid round.

“I’m in a position where I should be disappointed by 71,” Quigley said. “Before the round started a 71 would have made me happy.

“It’s always a few ways to look at it. It is what it is.”

Contact Donald Emmons at: demmons@theblade.com or 419-724-6302

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