MARICOPA, Arizona (Jan. 4, 2016) -- The Greater Phoenix area is known as "The Valley of the Sun" but that wasn't the case for today's opening round of the Saguaro Amateur, as players battled wind, rain and temperatures that never got out of the mid-50s.
That didn't stop Ryan Roodzant of Bakersfield, California from making birdies. Roodzant bested the strong, mostly collegiate field by two shots, shooting 6-under 66 at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes.
Roodzant -- an AmateurGolf.com member who just finished T4 in the AGC Tour Championship -- is two strokes clear of Turner MacLean and Wes Artac, who each posted rounds of 4-under 68 to share second place. He tore his way through the back nine, where he started, with two birdies (13 and 14 - a long par-5 and short par-4) then eagled the 578-yard 16th to get to 4-under. After turning in 32, Roodzant framed bogeys on the 1st and 9th holes with an amazing four birdie run on holes 4-7, where he went 2-3-2-4. (One of the par threes he birdied, the 6th, is 246 yards long.)
MacLean and Artac also started on the 10th tee, and scored bogey free nines of 33 to get things started. MacLean made the turn and got red-hot, birdieing the first three holes on the front nine to get to 6-under on the day, before settling down with a couple of bogeys coming home. MacLean is a freshman at Texas Christian University who grew up right next door in Ft. Worth.
Artac posted two birdies and a single bogey on his inward nine for his 68. He is a sophomore at Texas Tech from Kingwood, Texas who won the 2012 Texas State Junior and last year earned All-Big 12 Championship honors after tying for 10th place in the conference championship.
Defending champion Sean Walsh, of Keller, Texas headlines a field that also includes 2014 winner Taylor Moore of Edmond, Oklahoma.
Decorated amateur Moore is in his senior season at the University of Arkansas while Walsh is in his senior year at Gonzaga University.
The highest ranked player in the field is Northbrook, Illinois' Nick Hardy, who is ranked 34 in the AmateurGolf.com rankings and is a sophomore on the University of Illinois golf team.
John Souza (Phoenix/Univ. of Colorado), Alec Bone (Phoenix/Colorado State), Blake Cannon (Mesa/Colorado State), and Colton Yates (Scottsdale/Colorado State), are among the 22 players from Arizona competing this year.
Many of the players in the Saguaro Amateur play college golf. Although they are not officially representing their institutions, players from the following schools are competing: Auburn, Arizona, Arizona Christian, Arkansas, Baylor, California, Colorado, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State, CSU-Fullerton, CSU-Northridge, George Washington, Gonzaga, Illinois, Memphis, Mesa CC, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Northern Colorado, Northern Illinois, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, San Diego State, San Jose State, Siena, Southern Cal, South Mountain CC, Texas-Arlington, TCU, Texas Tech, UC-Irvine, UNC-Wilmington, UNLV, Utah, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Washington State, Wichita State, Wittenberg, Wyoming, and Xavier, among others.
Scores will be posted as the first players return their cards at approx 1:00pm MST. Click on the link below to view results.