STEVINSON, Calif. (March 28, 2009) -- Randy Haag of Burlingame posted 7-under 65 today in the first round of the of the California Mid-Amateur today to take a 3-stroke lead into the final round.
Haag, 50, started his day on the more difficult back nine at Stevinson Ranch today with a par, then birdied the next four holes and rolled in a five foot putt for birdie at the par-5 eighteenth to shoot a 5-under 31. He added a birdie at the first after making the turn, took a bogey at the railroad-tie water carry par three fourth, then came back with a birdie at five, and a closing birdie on the course's number one handicap hole, the dogleg right ninth. He finished at 7-under, a tidy 65 that left many jaws dropping as it looked for a while like he might have a very large lead.
There were no regrets from Haag, who was recently medalist at the Scratch Players Mid Am at Mayacama before being surprised in the first round of match play by eventual champion Brad Kropp.
"It was a good one," he said, when asked how low he went on the day after starting with that 31.
It's hard to complain about a 65.
Haag is trailed by Cass Traub of Long Beach, who also opened strong, playing the front nine in 4-under 32 and finishing with a 68. Chris Marin of Monterey and Matt Fondiller are tied at 70.
The Championship flight of the tournament is divided into two divisions, Mid-Am (age 25-39) and Masters (age 40-54). All of these players are eligible for the overall title. Haag is the only Masters Division player of the top four.
In the Senior Division, Gary Vanier of Pleasant Hill shot 68 and took the lead in the Senior Division; he is trailed by Herb Jensen of Carmichael who shot 70. This is Vanier's first amateurgolf.com event, but his golf resume includes at least six San Francisco City Championship titles and many more, and we're expecting to see more of him now that he has turned 55 and playing more senior golf.
The steady James Grensted (who recently recorded his first ace after 41 years of golf) shot a net 69 to lead the Net Division by one stroke over Noel Rush, who used skills learned in his homeland of Northwest Ireland to craft his way around Stevinson Ranch. (It might just have been that he felt comfortable seeing the sod-walled bunker on the thirteenth...)
To view first-round results at the California Mid-Am, Master and Senior Championship, played at Stevinson Ranch Golf Club, please click on the link below