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Streck pioneering use of metal wood in PGA



Published: Fri, July 1, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Ron Streck proved his skill with a 9-under 62 on the Commerce Bank Tour.

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (AP) -- Ron Streck isn't a household name on the Champions Tour. He is, however, the answer to a golf trivia question.

Streck, the first player to use a metal wood in competition on the PGA Tour, had a 9-under 62 on Friday and held a two-stroke lead over Craig Stadler in the opening round of the Commerce Bank Championship.

The second-year senior didn't have a bogey in his lowest round since he shot 62 four times in his 22 years on the PGA Tour.

"I shot 62 in both tournaments I won," he said of the victories at San Antonio in 1978 and Houston in 1981. "I took almost 10 years off from competition before coming out here last year and I'm still getting used to the equipment and the new distances."

Pioneering the metal wood

He can be credited as a major player in the way golf clubs have changed.

"In 1979, I met Gary Adams of Taylor Made and he gave me a metal wood to try. I used it on the practice tee at LaCosta and almost hit the first one over the fence. I looked around to make sure no one saw me so they didn't think I was cheating," Streck said. "I used it in a tournament two years later and won and then everybody wanted to try it and off they went. Gary used to sell them on the practice tee for $39.95. Then he sold them out of a trailer and now that's what everyone plays."

Streck had five birdie putts of 3 feet or less, including 3-footers on 17 and 18 at the 6,989-yard Red Course at Eisenhower Park, a county public facility on Long Island.

"I hit every green except No. 1, so you aren't going to hear me complain about anything today," said Streck, who is 65th on the money list this year with $98,243. His best finish this season was a tie for 21st last week at the Bank of America Championship.

Dave Eichelberger, Wayne Levi, Darrell Kestner and Gary McCord had 65s as 51 players in the field of 78 broke par. The average score in the opening round was a tournament-record 69.65, a stroke off the tour-record 68.34 set earlier this year at the par-70 The Moors at the Blue Angels Classic.




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