The chase for the No.1 seed and medalist honors is on at this week’s annual Northern California Amateur Match Play Championship.
On Monday at par-72 Spyglass Hill, a trio of players — Matt Hansen, Connor Lawrence and Trevor Clayton — took the first round lead in the stroke play qualifying portion of the championship with each carding 1-under 71.
Hansen, coming off a runner-up finish at the recent Pacific Coast Amateur, was the first player in at 71. The Los Osos resident and Olympic Club member’s round included an eagle on the par-5 7th, four birdies and five bogeys.
Clayton, who entered the championship at No.12 in the NCGA points standings for Player of the Year honors, also had an eagle (on the par-5 11th) to go with three birdies and four bogeys. Lawrence, meanwhile, penciled in four birdies, a bogey and a double-bogey.
Five players are just a stroke back after opening with rounds of even-par 72 including JT Harper, Brandon Wu and Blake Abercrombie.
Harper, a former star at nearby Pacific Grove High who played for Seton Hall this past season, posted four birdies and four bogeys.
Wu, runner-up at the recent NCGA Amateur Stroke Play Championship, had five birdies but also five bogeys.
Jason Anthony, who came into the event holding the No.1 spot in the race for Player of the Year honors, opened with a 76 and is tied for 30th. Corey Pereira, who ran away with the title at the Pacific Coast Amateur Championship, came in at 75 and is tied for 19th.
Following Tuesday’s second round of stroke play qualifying, a cut will be made with only the low 32 advancing to match play. Following Monday’s play, 18 players were tied for 30th at 76.
The hole that caused the most headaches in the first round was the uphill par-4 8th, which played to a stroke average of 4.822. Only three players made birdie on the hole, which played at 400 yards.