Steve Pate put on the kind of late burst possible only under the peculiar scoring system in use this week and took the first-round lead Thursday in the International tournament at Castle Rock, Colo.
"It's a little misleading," Pate said of a late rush that gave him the lead. "It's not as dramatic as it looks."
It served the purpose, however. Beginning on the 13th hole at the Castle Pines Golf Club, Pate went birdie-par-birdie-birdie-eagle.
That took him from three to a leading 14 points under a modified Stableford scoring system in which a player receives five points for an eagle, two for birdie, zero for par and loses one point for bogey and three for double bogey and higher.
It is a system that has worked well for Pate in the past. He is a two-time runner-up in this event and the leading point scorer in tournament history.
Pate, who had a medal score of 66, held a one-point lead over Mark O'Meara and defending champion Brad Faxon, who took different erratic routes in scoring 13 points.
The United States, with five golfers going unbeaten, won the Walker Cup, 19-5, at Edina, Minn. It was the biggest victory over the British/Irish team in 32 years.
The United States leads the amateur series, 30-3-1.
Justin Leonard of Dallas, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, was one of five U.S. players to finish 3-0 in the two-day tournament. Todd Demsey of Rancho Santa Fe and David Berganio Jr. of Sylmar also contributed victories Thursday.