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McClure Leads Trans-Miss Senior after Round 1

CAREFREE, Ariz. – A calm and confident John McClure was in complete control of his golf ball Tuesday during the first round of the 2018 Trans-Miss Senior & Mid-Master Championship at Desert Forest Golf Club. As a result, he holds a one-shot lead over a stacked Senior Division field with a 3-under-par-69 that could’ve been even better.
 
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McClure, a Trans-Miss Director who finished sixth at last year’s championship and T2 in 2016, hit all 18 fairways and 14 greens to make it around the challenging Desert Forest layout with just one bogey.
 
“The key was driving it in the fairway,” said McClure, who leads Brady Exber of Las Vegas by one and Jeff New of Scottsdale, Ariz., by two shots. “I didn’t hit it far, but I hit it straight.”
 
McClure got his round going with a 20-foot birdie at the 408-yard, par-4 second hole. He made two more on the sixth and seventh holes before missing two short birdie chances on the eighth and ninth holes.
 
“I had good speed all day with my putter,” said McClure, the 2017 Crump Cup champion who in April played for the victorious U.S. team in the 2018 Concession Cup. “Missing those two short ones on eight and nine screwed me up. There’s always ‘ifs and buts,’ but I could’ve shot 5-under on the front pretty easy.”
 
The rest of the 76-player field in the Senior Division is glad he didn’t, including Exber, a veteran senior competitor who won the 2014 Senior British Amateur. The Las Vegas resident put together a round of 2-under 70 that included five birdies in a nine-hole stretch.
 
“I just stayed really patient,” said Exber, who is playing in his first Trans-Miss Championship. “This is a tough golf course with difficult greens. You’re probably going to get three or four good looks [at birdie] a round. I just stayed patient more than anything, and they just started coming.”