MORGAN HILL, Calif. (Jan. 15, 2011) -- Cal sophomore Max Homa lost to his new freshman teammate Ben An in match play at the 2010 US Amateur at Chambers Bay. But not today.
Not only did he start off a full 7-shots ahead of An (and An posted a solid 2-under 70), Homa's first round of 63 gives him a 5-shot lead over 2009 and 2010 NCGA Player-of-the-Year Randy Haag, who was as shocked as everyone else that watched as the score was posted.
"I didn't see a 63 out there," said Haag, "Not with a two club wind blowing."
Homa, believe it or not, made two bogeys on the day. One of them came on the 7th hole, which moved him from 3-under back to 2-under. And how did he react? He birdied the par-3 8th and eagled the par-5 9th to post 30 on the front nine.
Indeed, it was the mental game that kept Homa "at peace" all day, and after getting to that 9-under mark, his favorite moment of the day was on No 17, where he misjudged a lob wedge shot and put it in the front bunker.
"I've been working on my mental game and it really paid off there," explained Homa, who was able to save par.
Homa, who is from Valencia, credited his solid ball striking and "making a bunch of 10-footers" with his solid play. A full-bag Titleist player, his new 910D3 driver is a 9.5 degree model set at the D1 setting.
But make no mistake, hard work is paying off for the mild-mannered Homa. Not only is this the second 63 of his life, it's the second one he has posted in the last year. At the MacKenzie Invitational at Meadow Club his 63 was 8-under.
It's the first course record for Homa. And at the 36-hole complex that formerly hosted a Champions Tour event, his name will be listed in the books alongside a guy with a few victories under his belt - Hale Irwin. Irwin shot 65 on the Tournament Course, which will be played in tomorrow's final round.
WOMEN'S DIVISION IS SMALL BUT SOLID
In the Women's Division, Tiffany Nichols of Castro Valley (one of three San Jose State women's team players in the field) posted 71 to hold a narrow 1-stroke lead over amateurgolf.com's own Lynne Cowan. Another stroke back is Jennifer Brumbaugh, who won the Christmas Classic. Brumbaugh made three birdies in a row on No's. 15, 16, 17 but had to take an unplayable lie on No. 18 before recovering with an 18-foot bogey putt.
Bryan Beaver and Kyungmin Kang are tied at 1-under 71 Net to lead the Net Division by three.
NEW "KID" ON THE BLOCK IN THE SENIOR DIVISION
Casey Boyns of Pacific Grove, who turned 55 in December, made his "NCGA Senior Points Event" debut in style, posting a 4-under 68 to stand tied at the top with Jim Knoll of Sunnyvale. Both players have US Senior Open experience; Boyns competed last year at Sahalee in Washington (narrowly missing the cut) while Knoll played all 72 holes two years ago.
Sunday's final round will be played on the Tournament Course.