Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Riordan Puts Back Problems Behind Him to Take Metropolitan Lead

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Riordan Puts Back Problems Behind Him to Take Metropolitan Lead

Article excerpt

In 1904, novelist Harry Leon Wilson said "Golf has too much walking to be a good game and just enough game to spoil a good walk."

Pat Riordan can relate. Over the past year, golf has been just like that for Riordan. But the saboteur hasn't been his scorecard, it's been his sciatic nerve.

Among the area's best amateurs, Riordan has had a difficult time staying fit enough to walk or play. He underwent procedures to fix the problem last winter, follow-up treatments since. Progress is slow and sometimes unreliable.

But on Thursday at Westwood Country Club, Riordan had himself a good walk. He opened the 54-hole Metropolitan Amateur Championship with a 5-under-par 66. No pain, just game.

"I started walking about three weeks ago, and today I felt strong all the way through the round," Riordan said. "It was nice."

Riordan's early card held up, two shots clear of Skip Berkmeyer's 3-under 68. While others flirted with red numbers during the day, only three took root. Brendan Bargetzi, Joe Migdal and Bryan Bohme held hands at 1-under 70, four shots from Riordan's lead.

Kyle Wellwood, trying to become the first to win the title three consecutive years, settled for an opening-round 72.

The discomfort shooting down Riordan's legs was missing; his golf swing was not. The former CBC soccer player collected seven birdies with a stroll that could have been even better. For instance, after birdies on two of his first four holes, Riordan put a 5-wood 4 feet from the flag at the par-5 No. 5. The eagle had landed, but his putt did not. He settled for birdie.

He nearly holed an approach shot at No. 6 but again settled for birdie. Next he nearly dunked a hole-in-one at No. 7, but wound up with a par 3. "I missed probably three putts that were dead-center, middle of the cup during the round," Riordan said.

Then came double bogey at No. …

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