Gregory and Lloyd Only Players to Break Par During Round One of MGA Senior Amateur
September 13, 2022
By Nick Hunter
HUTCHINSON, Minn. – Playing his first senior event in Minnesota in 2020, Jay Gregory wasted little time collecting his first win when he defeated Jerry Rose to claim the Minnesota Golf Association Senior Players’ Championship at Cannon Golf Club.
In the two seasons since, Gregory is still searching for his second state victory as he enters this week’s MGA Senior Amateur Championship at Crow River Golf Club with back-to-back third-place finishes.
Gregory played himself into contention Tuesday, helped by an eagle and a pair of birdies to earn a share of the first-round lead with J.B. Lloyd after the two carded rounds of 2-under 69.
“It’s a tricky golf course—the greens are quick and if you get downhill, you’ve got to be really careful,” Gregory said following his round Tuesday. “I struggled off the tee—I didn’t hit my tee ball as well as I would’ve liked. I usually hit more fairways than I did today, so I need to clean that up a little bit.
“I hit the ball with my irons pretty well and putted pretty well.”
Gregory and Lloyd will take a two-stroke lead to the second round over John Spreiter and Bob Neuberger when the tournament resumes Wednesday.
Beginning his round on the 10th tee Tuesday, Gregory started the scoring by chipping in for eagle at the par-5 12th after going over the green with his second.
Gregory trickled in his birdie putt from above the hole at the 16th to reach 3-under for the round, but would turn in 2-under after missing a short par putt at the 18th.
Sinking a 10-footer for birdie put the 57-year-old Iowa native back at 3-under, but he’d take a step back with bogey at the par-3 eighth. Gregory would save par at the last from six feet to earn a share of the 18-hole lead with Lloyd at 2-under 69.
“I need to continue to play one hole at a time and make birdies when they’re possible,” Gregory said, looking forward to Wednesday’s second round. “Try not to have any train wrecks.”
Making a good first impression in his first year of eligibility at the 55-and-over championship this week, Lloyd, who played in the same group as Gregory Tuesday, started quickly with a birdie on his opening hole.
He would drop to even with a bogey at the 13th, but moved to 2-under following birdies at the 14th and 16th. Lloyd turned in 1-under with his second and final bogey of the round at the 17th.
A consistent Lloyd began his back nine with consecutive pars before rolling in one final birdie chance at the par-4 ninth to join Gregory at 69 to sit atop the leaderboard as the only two players to break par on the first day of competition.
Collecting a pair of wins at the 1999 MGA Players’ Championship and the MGA Amateur Four-Ball Championship, Lloyd has also won the Loren Krugel Invitational on six occasions.
Spreiter, a two-time MGA Mid-Amateur champion, also began his day on the back nine Tuesday, carding two birdies against one bogey to turn in 1-under, but would play his final nine in 1-over to finish the first 18 holes of play at even par, two shots off the lead.
Neuberger, owner of 12 top-10 finishes since 2014, is still looking for his first state win this week. The 59-year-old played his front nine in 1-under Tuesday, but would scatter a pair of birdies and three bogeys during his inward nine to finish in a tie for third at even par.
The 101st MGA Senior Amateur Championship continues Wednesday when the second round begins at 8 a.m. at Crow River Golf Club.