Golf

Finally pain-free, Moore atop Open

Sean Moore has learned not to sweat the small stuff, so he wasn't bothered by Tuesday's searing sun at the 91st PowerBilt Kentucky Open golf championship at Lexington Country Club.

Moore had seven birdies on his way to a 3-under-par 69, which put him in a five-way tie for the lead after the first round of the 54-hole tournament.

Former University of Kentucky golfer Jordan Blann, who won the State Amateur title in June but has since turned pro, also shot a 69, along with Micheal Carter, Patrick Vadden and Karsten Clements.

Matt Savage, who won the Open in 2006 and last year, carded an even-par 72.

Moore, 25, a pro out of Gibson Bay in Richmond, is finally enjoying pain-free golf.

In late June, he and his wife, Mandy, celebrated their first wedding anniversary at the Cleveland Clinic, where Sean underwent surgery to have two kidney stones removed.

"I'm feeling better now than I have since I can remember," he said. "It's the first time I've been kidney-stone free."

Moore started having them when he was 14. He's had them almost non-stop since.

"I've passed 32 kidney stones, and they took two out," he said.

Ouch.

No wonder Tuesday's 95-degree heat and a late double bogey didn't bother him.

Besides a medical history, Moore has a golf history.

The North Carolina native won the Atlantic Coast Conference title as a freshman at Wake Forest in 2004. He won the prestigious North and South Amateur in 2005.

Moore met his future wife in college. Mandy Goins, a standout golfer at Western Hills in Frankfort, also played at Wake Forest.

Mandy caddied for her husband Tuesday. She's a champion golfer, too, having won the Women's State Amateur (2002) and the Kentucky Open (2004).

"She wants to get into coaching (golf) and knows a lot about it," Sean said. "She's a tremendous help. I like having her out there with me."

Moore got it to 5-under late in his round, but a double-bogey on his next-to-last hole (No. 8) cost him.

But he wasn't complaining.

"I've been playing well, just practicing at Gibson Bay and not much tournament golf," he said. "Getting all that kidney-stone stuff behind me, I'm feeling like a different person."

Blann would like to get the same feeling as he did when he won the State Am at Gibson Bay. He said "it'd be awesome" to sweep Kentucky's two top tournaments, and he knows what it will take.

"Gotta keep the same frame of mind ... do the little things that win tournaments," he said. "I'm trying to do the small things that'll add up in the long run."

Carter, 36, a Fort Knox teaching pro, had the back nine of the day, firing a 31. He birdied the 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th and 17th.

Vadden, 36, is a Louisville native and former college player at Alabama. He had a top-five finish in the Kentucky Open a few years ago.

Clements, from Elizabethtown, is a fifth-year senior at Louisville.

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