STOCKTON, Calif. (Sept. 17, 2014) — Trevor Clayton got off to a record start, while Jason Anthony took another step closer to earning NCGA Player of the Year honors.
Clayton, who reached the Round of 16 at this year’s California State Amateur Championship, jumped to to the top of the leaderboard in Wednesday’s first round of the NCGA Valley Amateur Championship at par-72 Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton, posting a course record tying 10-under 62. Josh Ramey previously held the course record.Starting on the 10th tee, the sophomore at nearby CSU Stanislaus opened with a 6-under 30 that included an eagle on the 519-yard par-5 11th and birdies on holes No.10, No.13, No.16 and No.17. On his back-nine, Clayton continued to sizzle, adding another birdie on the 1st and running off five straight birdies from holes No.3 through No.7. The lone bump in the road for Clayton, who was the last player in the Championship flight to turn in his scorecard, was a double-bogey on the par-3 8th.
Before Clayton came in, the leader had been been Ancil Hoffman GC member Zachary Solomon.
Solomon, who resides in Sacramento and qualified for the recent U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, was solid, carding five birdies to go with zero bogeys. Starting on the back-nine, Solomon opened with a birdie on No.10 and followed that up with two birdies on the 12th and 15th holes. On his back-nine (the front), he’d tack on two more birdies on holes No.2 and No.7, good enough for second place.
Anthony, who entered the championship just 11 points behind Matthew Seramin (who’s not playing) in the race for NCGA Player of the Year honors, is tied with Jeff Hoffman at 69, seven behind Clayton. Even if Clayton wins, Anthony basically just needs to not collapse in Thursday’s final round and he’ll be in great position to win the 2014 points race, which finishes September 30. Coming into the event, Anthony had 1,071 points. Clayton was fifth at 817 points.
In making his own move, Anthony, who plays out of Green Valley CC, also went bogey-free, posting birdies on holes No.2, No.11 and No.12.
Hoffman, playing out of Cameron Park CC, had a much more adventurous day. The winner of the 2012 NCGA Master Division Four-Ball title penciled in six birdies but also three bogeys. On each of his nines he’d card three birdies. Slowing his pace down on the front-nine were a pair of bogeys on holes No.3 and No.4.
Coming in with 70′s, and in a tie for fifth place, were three players–Michael Tolladay, Zach Smith and Sonny Freitas. Tolladay, who entered the championship holding the No.13 spot in the points race (644), couldn’t get going on his front-nine, carding a 1-over 37. On his back-nine, the former University of Pacific standout carded five birdies, including three straight on holes No.10 through No.12, to go with two bogeys.
Smith had seven birdies, including three straight on holes No.16 through No.18 to finish his round, while Freitas posted four birdies and two bogeys.Defending champion Nick Moore of Seaside is tied with two players for eight place after a first round 71.
Stockton resident Tim Grunsky obviously felt right at home.
Grunsky, who plays out of nearby Stockton Golf and Country Club, took the lead in the NCGA Senior Valley Amateur Championship, posting a 5-under 67 Wednesday at par-72 Reserve at Spanos Park.Grunsky got going early, posting a front-nine 4-under 32 that featured five birdies and a bogey. On his back-nine, he’d run off three straight birdies on holes No.10 through No.12 to get to 7-under. He’d sandwich in another birdie on the 16th between a bogey on the 13th and consecutive bogeys on the 17th and 18th to finish his round.
In at 69, in a tie for second, are Herb Jensen and Ron Johnson. Jensen, who won the Vintage Super Senior Championship in August and the Senior Valley Am in 2009, had four birdies, including back-to-back birdies on holes No.5 and No.6, with just one bogey. Johnson, who won last year’s NCGA Super Senior Championship, penciled in five birdies and two bogeys. Starting on the back-nine, Johnson got off to a great start, making birdies on both the 11th and 12th to quickly get to 2-under.
Finishing with 70′s was four players, including NCGA Senior Amateur Match Play Championship winner Dan Bieber and the guy he beat for the title, runner-up Terry Foreman. Bieber had four birdies but also slipped back with bogeys on the 14th and 15th. Foreman had three birdies and a bogey.
Four-time NCGA Player of the Year Casey Boyns, who’s in search of his first NCGA Valley Amateur title, is tied for eighth with two other players after coming in with a 71.