NCGA PubLinks: Brian Helton Impressive in windy first round
Windy conditions in first round of NCGA Public Links lead to high scores <br>(NCGA Photo)</br>
Windy conditions in first round of NCGA Public Links lead to high scores
(NCGA Photo)

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 different level.”

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.

Results For Northern California Public Links Championship
1CAMatt CohnSan Francisco, CA15073-74=147
2CABrian HeltonLos Osos, CA10070-77=147
3CANick MooreSeaside, CA5077-71=148
T4CAZachary SolomonCarmichael, CA5077-72=149
T4CABen PetersRedwood City, CA5075-74=149

View full results for Northern California Public Links Championship


The NCGA Public Links Championship began in 1966 at Spyglass Hill and is the premier event for the public-course player. The tournament has always included a championship flight for players with handicap indexes of 5.4 or less and two handicap divisions for players with an index of 5.5 to 36.4. Contestants must be bona fide public course players who do not hold playing privileges in any course from which the general public is excluded.

View Complete Tournament Information

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