September 25, 2015
The Pros Return to Poppy Hills
The two guys who had two of the best days at Poppy Hills Golf Course didn’t even see the course last year.
Fellow Scotsmen Colin Montgomerie and Sandy Lyle put themselves in the hunt at this weekend’s Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach on Friday at the NCGA’s par-71 home course, posting matching scores of 3-under 68.
“The alterations they’ve made to the course look good,” said Lyle, whose round included a “wedge in the can” hole-out for eagle on the par-5 4th. “It’s a better set up of holes. It’s very different.”
Montgomerie, who’s back in the field after skipping last year’s championship, also gave the new Poppy Hills a big thumb up.
“This is a hell of a track,” Montgomerie said. “We’d love a three-round event at Poppy Hills, if the NCGA is interested in sponsoring it. I think it’s a great track.”
Vijay Singh, who went on to win the 2004 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am after opening with a 5-under 67 at then-par 72 Poppy Hills, also approved of the changes. Like Lyle and Montgomerie, Singh too was competing on the new Poppy Hills for the first time. He’d open with a 1-under 71.
“It’s much more playable now,” Singh said. “It’s a good course.”
Feeling right at home on the course was Junior Tour of Northern California member Jack Avrit of Arroyo Grande. Avrit, a 16-year-old high school junior, and pro partner Mark O’ Meara took a commanding five shot lead in the Pro-Junior with a 10-under 61. O’Meara shot a 70, meaning that Avrit helped the team nine strokes.
“We’re excited. It was just fantastic,” said Avrit, who shot a 76 at Poppy Hills at last year’s Holiday Series III Championship. “I had a lot of fun watching Mark. It was amazing to watch how he held himself together no matter the situation. I feel like I learned a lot.”
For complete coverage, please visit www.thefirstteeopen.com