SEASIDE, CA (April 25, 2016)- On a day where a
number of other players saw their chances literally
blow away, Paso Robles Golf Club member Brian Helton
was a rock.
The 39-year-old Helton, a former standout at UC
Santa Barbara, made the difficult look easy, taking the
lead in the annual NCGA Public Links Championship
with a stellar 2-under 70 in Monday’s first round at
windy par-72 Bayonet Golf Course.
How good was Helton’s 70? The stroke average for
the rest of the field was 83.189.
Despite gusts up to 40 mph, Helton, a past winner
of the Santa Barbara City Championship, posted five
birdies to go against just three bogeys. The only player
to shoot at least par, he’d do his best work on the
back-nine where he posted a 32 with four birdies.
Three players–Matt Cohn of San Francisco,
Darkhorse GC member Taylor Daniels and E-Club East
Bay member Andy Nevin–are tied for second place
after coming with matching scores of 73.
Cohn, the runner-up to Maverick McNealy in last year’s
NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship, posted three
birdies and four bogeys. He’d start his round with
bogeys on the 10th and 12th holes but almost just as
quickly got things back in order.
“I started my season by bogeying the easiest hole
on the golf course,” Cohn said. “The wind was draining.
When we finished our front-nine, it was at an entirely
Daniels’ crazy day included five birdies, four
bogeys and a double-bogey. Nevin hung in there by
posting 13 pars, two birdies and three bogeys.
Justin Woo of Riverwalk GC is alone in fifth place after
a 74. Defending champion Nick Moore of Monterey
opened with a 77.
The hardest hole was the par-4 2nd, which played
to a stroke average of 5.075. Only two players
managed to birdie the hole.