PEBBLE BEACH, CA (August 15, 2016) -- The Stanford men’s golf team is again making its presence felt at the NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship.
On Monday, Stanford junior Viraat Badhwar grabbed a share of the lead in the first round of stroke play qualifying at this year’s championship, posting a stellar 4-under 68 at Spyglass Hill. Also shooting a 68 was Bellarmine High senior Eddy Lai.
At last year’s championship, Stanford star Maverick McNealy was the stroke play medalist thanks in part to an NCGA record low 65 at Spyglass Hill. McNealy, who was dominant all week, went on to win the title.
McNealy’s teammate at 2015’s inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship at the Olympic Club, Badhwar showed that he’s some magic in the bag himself. He’d open his round by holing out for eagle on the par-4 10th, He’d add five birdies to go against three bogeys the rest of the way.
Lai, who’s committed to UCLA, has had his special moments at Spyglass Hill too. In 2015, he’d win the NCGA Junior Championship there. A Youth on Course South Bay member, Lai had an eagle of his own on the par-5 7th to go along with four birdies and just two bogeys.
Also making an early move was recent California Amateur Championship winner and UNLV junior Shintaro Ban. Ban, who fell to McNealy in last year’s semifinals and came into this year’s championship holding the No.1 spot in the NCGA Player of the Year standings, put up a solid 69 that featured an eagle on No.7, three birdies and two bogeys.
Five players, including defending NCGA Player of the Year Nick Moore, are T-4 after coming in with matching rounds of 70.
2016 NCGA Public Links champion Matt Cohn, who lost to McNealy in last year’s final and entered the championship just four points behind Ban in the Player of the Year standings, opened with a 74 and is T-26.
Following Tuesday’s second round, a cut will be made the low 32 advancing to Wednesday’s first round of match play. Wednesday’s play will also see the Round of 16 held. Thursday’s play will consist of the quarterfinals and semifinals, with the 36-hole finale to be held Friday.
With not much wind playing a factor, Spyglass Hill played to a stroke average of 77.166.