MONTEREY, California (Dec. 5, 2015) -- One of Northern California's holiday golf traditions -- The AmateurGolf.com Christmas Classic -- got underway today at Del Monte.
And while the field always looks like a collegiate tournament, the tradition founded by Casey Boyns over twenty years ago continues. A strong contingency from Turlock has been coming for years, and one player (Juan Lopez) drives with his family almost five hours from Lakeport to enjoy the weekend in Monterey.
The host course, Del Monte, provided a stern test around the greens, and only four players managed to break par in the championship division. USC standout Sean Crocker of Westlake Village posted 4-under 68 to lead Cal Bear Ben Doyle (69) by a shot. High school Junior Thomas Hutchison of San Jose fired 2-under 70, while Finigan Tilly of San Mateo, fueled by a birdie-eagle run on Nos. 8-9, posted 71.
Six players at 72 included at least three Cal Bears, that we know of. It's going to be a shootout on Sunday for the final round.
Neil Duffy fired a very solid 73 to lead the seniors. Going out in the first group and posting 36 on the back nine, his group made the turn and had to wait for two groups to play off the first tee. Duffy, from Santa Cruz, didn't let it slow him down, and he will enter the final round with a two stroke lead over Charles Richesin of Lodi, a super senior that still gets it out there 285 yards.
Perennial contenders Bart Goldie and Chris Ladd are tied at even par 72 net, proving once again that if you can shoot your handicap in AmateurGolf.com events, you can do well. One stroke back is Charles Balisha.
Steven Madey and Tom Lyons both holed shots of around 95 yards today for eagle. Madey's was on the par four 2nd, playing to the treacherous back-right flag. And Lyons wasn't bad either -- playing one group back he was on the right side of the par-5 first hole and one-bounced a gap wedge into the cup.
Lyons couldn't see it go it, but explained that "there was a kid up there who said - 'you dunked it!'"
Nice going guys.
Pairings are now posted - good luck to all players on Sunday.