PGA Tour

RBC Heritage Notebook, April 13: Caddie takes on gators

info@islandpacket.comApril 12, 2012 

Kip Henley isn't afraid of much.

Take the Transitions Championship in Tampa, Fla., for instance, where the caddie for Brian Gay was offered $100 to touch a nearby gator.

"I said, 'I'll touch it for $20,' " Henley said, drawing laughs. "It was big. I mean a monster."

On Thursday afternoon, Henley ran into another pair of gators during the first round of the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing, as Gay buried his third shot on No. 15 in the water hazard, which was accompanied by a 6-foot long gator and a smaller one.

Henley grabbed a rake and tried to get them away, which took around 10 to 15 minutes before Gay was finally able to get off a shot.

"He wouldn't leave," Henley said. "We shooed him off 10 times."

Gay's caddie likely could have gotten the reptiles away earlier, had someone in the area offered him some financial backing.

"I didn't touch this one today," he said. "I would have on a bet if somebody wanted to. I would have done it. But the locals get mad at me."

GOOD, BAD, UGLY

Billy Mayfair aced the 202-yard par-3 seventh hole with a 5-iron but stumbled the rest of the way.

Mayfair, who finished his first round at 1-over 72, now has six aces in his PGA Tour career. Since 1971, only nine players have more, led by Hal Sutton with 10.

The hole-in-one marked the sixth consecutive year someone has made an ace at the Heritage, after an 11-year drought.

"I thought it was going to hit the tree, and it hit the left edge of the green and rolled down and went in," said Mayfair, the 2001 Heritage runner-up.

The shot vaulted Mayfair to 2 under. But he closed with a bogey at No. 8 and double bogey at No. 9 after his pitch shot struck a tree and then the grandstand to the right of the green.

"I didn't finish too good, but we'll get it get it going tomorrow," Mayfair said.

GOOD CHRISTIAN

Gary Christian, the third alternate who sneaked into the tournament when Ben Crane withdrew Wednesday, found his way on to the leaderboard in a hurry Thursday afternoon.

After a par on No. 1, Christian eagled the par-5 second to jump to within a shot of the lead.

"That was very nice," Christian said. "Great drive, great second shot and great putt. Pretty simple."

CHIP SHOTS

Sang-Moon Bae withdrew with a sore shoulder after shooting an 83. ... Defending champion Brandt Snedeker opened with an even-par 71. The defending champion has made the cut the past 18 years. ... World No. 1 Luke Donald needs a top-eight finish this week to retain his perch. He has finished in the top three at Harbour Town the past three years, but shot 4-over 75 Thursday.

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