VERONA, N.Y. – Craig Bowden and Ryan Helminen each shot 5-under 67 on Sunday at Turning Stone to share the first-round lead in the PGA Professional Championship.
The final top 20 will earn spots next month in the PGA Championship at Baltusrol in New Jersey.
Bowden, a 51-year-old PGA Life Member who played on the PGA Tour from 1996 through 2012, is fighting pain in his left shoulder. He had six birdies and a bogey on the Atunyote course
"I guess I just used magic ice," said Bowden, from Bloomington, Indiana. "The shoulder has been troubling me for two months, and it really is tendinitis. Today was just one of those days. I got off to a good start, then, birdied 12 and 13, and also 15. It was pretty good ball-striking, good distance control with my irons and I made the putts I was supposed to make."
Helminen, a PGA Teaching Professional at Ridgeway Country Club in Neenah, Wisconsin, had six birdies and a bogey on the Kaluhyat layout.
"I think the course suits my game," Helminen said. "It's the type of course you need to plot your way around and I was very good off the tee. It is important for me to be patient, focused and committed to every shot. It's easy to get anxious out here."
Mark Brown of Oyster Bay, New York, had a hole-in-one and was a stroke back at 68 along with 2013 champion Rod Perry of Port Orange, Florida; 2015 runner-up Ben Polland of Manhasset, New York; Omar Uresti of Austin, Texas; Brad Lardon of College Station, Texas; and Rich Berberian Jr. of Derry, New Hampshire.