The rush of excitement over the return of golf's biggest names to the historic Congressional Country Club turned out to be a mere postscript to a landmark day. Matt Gogel, ranked No. 170 on the PGA Tour money list, teed off in the first group at 7 a.m. and set a Blue Course record with an 8-under-par 63 yesterday before lightning halted play in the Booz Allen Classic at Bethesda, Md.
Playing while the heat and humidity were oppressive but not yet stifling, Gogel birdied eight of his last 13 holes in a bogey-free round to take a three-shot lead over Lee Westwood, Brett Wetterich, Fredrik Jacobson, and Kevin Stadler. Stadler was the only one of the four yet to complete the round, having finished 14 holes when play was stopped at 5:45 p.m.
Still, with the greens soft and the conditions calm, Congressional was ripe for someone to better the 64 shot by Tommy Jacobs in the 1964 US Open and matched three times -- by George Burns, Bobby Clampett, and Fred Couples -- when the Booz Allen, then known as the Kemper Open, was played here annually in the 1980s.
European PGA -- Guido Van der Valk was one of five players to shoot 4-under 66 and share the first-round lead at the Dutch Open at Hilversum, Netherlands.
Van der Valk joined Paul Broadhurst, Adam Groom, Hendrik Nystrom, and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano atop the leaderboard.