Constellation Senior Players Championship notebook: Mediate makes himself at home in Round 1

It might not have been the perfect start, but it wasn't far from it.

Rocco Mediate finished at 3-under 67 and very much in contention after the first round of his homecoming tournament, the Constellation Senior Players Championship at Fox Chapel Golf Club.

"I'm trying to go back to my old way of doing things," Mediate said after the round. "I tell you what, I was very pleased; tons and tons of good hits.

"Right on the numbers and nice draws where I wanted them; a couple good holes where I wanted them. Like I said, I missed that one fairway by a yard, so that was good."

That one missed fairway came at No. 16, a 421-yard par 4, which just so happened to be the only hole the Greensburg native bogeyed. Mediate three-putted from 40 feet, running his first putt 8 feet past the hole.

"I just murdered it," he said. "I just misjudged it. I thought [my approach] would come out a little left. It came out dead perfect, unfortunately; otherwise it goes down that slope and by the hole. It's all right."

On a day that started overcast, Mediate came out of the gate quickly with four birdies in his first 11 holes, highlighted by his two-putt birdie at No. 2, a 483-yard par 5.

While his score might only have been good enough to leave him tied for 18th, the position isn't indicative of his proximity to the top. He is three shots behind the first-round co-leaders -- Joe Durant, David Frost and Doug Garwood, all at 6-under 64.

Mediate said the soggy conditions have made the rough deeper, making it imperative to keep the ball in the fairway. He did a good job of that, hitting 13 of 14 fairways in regulation.

The only thing that held him back was putting. While hitting all 18 greens in regulation, he had 34 putts, which included the three-putt on 16.

If Mediate remains in contention, it would put him in position for not only his first victory since the Shaw Charity Classic in September, but also his first top-five finish since he finished fifth at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in November.

Even though he still sits a few strokes back of the leaders, Mediate said he has no plans to tweak anything going into the second round today.

"I just want to go out in the fairway and do the same thing," said Mediate, who wore a Pirates hat for the round. "I mean, there's nothing more you can really do. You know, you always want to make more putts, but what can you do? I missed a few putts, but I also made a few."

R.J. Schaffer: and Twitter @rjschaffer.

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