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Kirk Maynord hits the gas and pulls away at Golfweek Senior Division National Championship

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Kirk Maynord hit reverse out of the gate Tuesday at the Golfweek Senior Division National Championship, but only briefly. Now, with one round left to play, Maynord is the guy to catch.

Maynord, from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, trailed by a shot after the first round at Desert Willow’s Mountain View Course in Palm Desert, California. A bogey on the par-4 opening hole Tuesday afternoon didn’t help matters. After that, however, Maynord found a different gear. He reeled off birdies at Nos. 6, 8 and 9, then made the turn and birdied Nos. 12 and 14 for a 4-under 68.

At 6 under for the tournament, Maynord leads Jon Lindstrom of Denver by three shots.

A year ago, Maynord tied for 35th in this event, then turned around and competed in the Golfweek Senior Amateur, also at Desert Willow, and finished runner-up in the senior division. He’s in the field for the follow-up event once again this year.

Scores: Golfweek Senior Division National Championship

The early frontrunner on Tuesday was Craig Hurlbert, a Hamilton, Montana, native who competes frequently on the senior amateur circuit while also juggling a career in business. Most notably, Hurlbert co-founded in 2017 an agricultural company called Local Bounti, which produces sustainable and non-GMO greens year-round and is headquartered in Hamilton. It went public at the New York Stock Exchange in 2021.

Hurlbert, who has twice captained a team at the Golfweek Senior Challenge Cup, went out in the first group at 7 a.m. His day had its highs and lows. There were the two birdies, at Nos. 8 and 15, but also a triple-bogey at the par-4 17th.

Remarkably, Hurlbert followed that up with an eagle at the par-5 closing hole to take back some ground. He has posted back-to-back rounds of 71 on the Mountain View Course, and at 2 under and four off the lead, will play in Wednesday’s final group.

Grady Brame, also at 2 under, will complete that foursome. Brame, of Hammond, Louisiana, was the solo leader after an opening 3-under 69. He was bogey-free in the first round and gave himself a stress-free day by leaving the ball in all the right places, which produced several birdie looks.

On Tuesday, Brame bogeyed three of the first five holes but recovered with three birdies over the next seven. A bogey at No. 17 left him with a 73.

John Brellenthin of Dallas and Kevin VandenBerg of Pulaski, New York, are tied for fifth at 1 under. VandenBerg was a favorite entering the tournament, having won Golfweek Senior Player of the Year honors in 2023. He has made 10 birdies in two days at Desert Willow, but also seven bogeys and a double.