Thirty-three-year-old Windham native Shawn Warren, the third Maine pro to qualify for the PGA Championship, recorded a 7-over-par 77 in the first round at the Bellerive Golf Course in Missouri on Thursday.
The PGA Championship is golf’s fourth and final major tournament of the year.
Warren, the assistant pro at the Falmouth Country Club, was 2-over par 37 on the front nine but struggled on the back nine, registering a 5-over-par 40.
His round included a birdie on the 610-yard par-5 eighth hole, nine pars and eight bogies.
On the front nine, he bogeyed the par-4 first hole and also bogeyed the two par-3 holes, the third and sixth.
On the back nine, he bogeyed the par-4 10th, 12th and 14th holes along with the par-3 16th and par-five 17th hole.
He was 136th among 138 golfers with more than a dozen more teeing off later in the day.
He teed off at 10:02 a.m. with fellow American J.J. Spaun and Mikko Korhonen of Finland.
Korhonen fired a 2-under 68 and Spaun had a 1-under 69.
That trio will tee off at 3:27 p.m. Friday.
Warren earned the right to play in the PGA Championship at the PGA Professionals Championship in Seaside, California, in June. He went into a playoff where nine golfers were vying for five spots, and he sank a birdie putt on the first playoff hole.
He was one of 20 golfers to earn a spot in the PGA Championship from that tournament.
The two previous Maine pros who played in the PGA Championship were Tim Angis in 1993 and Hampden native John Hickson in 1997.
Neither made the cut, and it would take a miracle round by Warren on Friday to advance to Saturday’s third round.
Angis missed qualifying by eight strokes at the Inverness Club in Ohio and Hickson by 14 at the Winged Foot Golf Club in New York.
Warren, the three-time PGA New England Player of the Year, began playing golf at the Gorham Country Club when he was 9 years old, and wound up being the two-time Maine State Junior champion and the Maine High School state titlist in 2002.
He won the East Coast Amateur tourney in 2003 and became the first amateur to win the Maine Open in 2004.
Warren graduated from Windham High School in 2003 and went on to captain the Marshall University (West Virginia) golf team. He was just the second player in Marshall golf history to lead the team in scoring all four years.
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