First Tee Open: Saturday at Poppy Hills
September 27, 2014
Saturday at Poppy Hills turned out to be somewhat of a moving day for players competing in this weekend’s Nature Valley First Tee Open.
Teeing off in the morning wave, 2008 U.S. Ryder Cup assistant Olin Browne and Duffy Waldorf came in with low rounds of 4-under 67 on the recently renovated Robert Trent Jones II layout. Browne made his charge up the leaderboard by stringing together four straight birdies from holes No.8 through No.11. The 2011 U.S. Senior Open champ later tacked on two more birdies on holes No.17 and No.18.
Waldorf, who won the 1984 California State Amateur at Pebble Beach, also had a birdie binge, carding five including back-to-back birdies on holes No.1 and No.2 and No.11 and No.12.
Browne’s round pushed him 26 spots up the leaderboard into a tie for 10th, while Waldorf moved to T-16.
Also making a move on the NCGA’s home course was Tom Byrum. Byrum, whose lone victory remains the 1989 Kemper Open and was one of the last players in, shot a 68 to move into a share of second place with Skip Kendall, who said Friday that the course changes at Poppy Hills “warranted maybe bringing back the AT&T Pro-Am.”
“I played pretty well, my game is starting to come around,” Byrum said. “I left a few out there, even finishing in the dark it seemed like I had some chances, but I misread a couple putts. Overall, I’m very happy with my position and how I’ve played the last two days.”
John Cook, who won the 1981 AT&T Pro-Am and the 1975 California State Amateur, had a 68 at Pebble Beach and is the overall leader at 8-under.
In other action at Poppy Hills, Marco Dawson moved into fourth place after a 68, while Fred Funk and Lee Janzen are tied for 5th after rounds of 69 and 70, respectively. Also at T-5 is last week’s winner Paul Goydos, who had a 69 at Poppy.
“I played good, didn’t putt well the last nine holes, but played good. My only bogey the last two days was a missed putt about three feet on No.11 and that shook me for a bit. But I’m playing pretty good,” Funk said.
In the Pro-Junior portion of the tournament, 2014 Junior Tour of Northern California Player of the Year Joshua McCarthy played like Poppy Hills was his home course, carding eight birdies on his own ball to help he and pro partner Peter Senior come in with a 9-under 62 that moved them into a tie for fourth.
Senior shot a 74 on his own ball, meaning that McCarthy helped his pro partner 12 shots.
Fellow JTNC member Katie Horsford took it a bit deeper. She and Steve Elkington combined on a 61 at Pebble Beach to take the lead at 15-under 128.
In another strong JTNC showing, Logan Lowe and pro partner Jeff Sluman are in a tie for second with Christopher Myers and Lee Janzen at 14-under 129 after a 66 at Pebble Beach.
Overall, the 23 low Pro-Junior teams made the cut. Other JTNC players who’ll have a shot at the title include Kylie Fong (132) and Anna Zhou (132).
Should a JTNC player win the Pro-Junior, it would be the second year in a row. Last year’s winner, Michelle Xie of Palo Alto, played on the JTNC.
Sunday’s finale will be held exclusively at Pebble Beach, with the leaders going off around 10 a.m.