PROVO Tom Costello is known as one of the friendlier and more gregarious of Utah's professional golfers. So it was surprising when he made a quick getaway late Friday afternoon after posting an 8-under-par 64 without speaking to the press.
Despite the presence of at least three reporters covering the tournament, Costello slipped by and was driving out of the parking lot by the time anyone noticed his low score being posted.
Later in the evening, when Costello was reached by cell phone, his excuse for leaving was, "I'm not used to being in the lead." When informed he was three shots ahead of the field, he said, "Three shots? That's a beautiful thing."
Provo's Chris Moody, Salt Lake's Dave DeSantis and another senior, 54-year-old Kim Thompson, are all three strokes back at 67, along with amateur Stephen Archibald. Four amateurs, Jared Brader, Tadd Cox, Nick Killpack and Andrew Smith, shot 68s. Three more golfers, Brett Wayment, amateurs Ashton Casper and Brady Stanger all shot 69.
Costello is a former BYU golfer who is the head pro at the Jeremy Country Club. He just became a senior golfer last year when he turned 50, but this week, he's trying for the $2,200 first prize, rather than the $1,200 that goes to the senior champion.
He has contended for several tournaments in recent years, including the 2006 Utah Open, and earlier this year tied for low pro honors at the Fox Hollow Open.
In Friday's round, Costello posted 32s on each side and didn't have a bogey. He started with a pair of birdies on the first two holes and added birds at Nos. 5 and 8. On the back side, he eagled 12 and added birdies at 13 and 16.
Costello said his putting was great with 25-footers at 2 and 8 and a 10-foot par save at 17. He uses a long putter and said he nearly switched to a short one before his round but stayed with the long putter he has used for 20 years.
The golfers will be repaired with the final group going out at 2 p.m. Costello will play with DeSantis, his old college teammate at BYU in 1979-80.
Boyd Summerhays, who has played on the PGA and Nationwide Tours, withdrew in the morning for unknown reasons. Steve Schneiter, a two-time Provo Open champion, played but didn't post a score and is out of the tournament.
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