DALY CITY, Calif. (June 20, 2011) -– Low scores prevailed on a picture perfect day at The Olympic Club to kick off the 100th California State Amateur.
Philip Chian grabbed the first-round lead with a four-under par 67. The rising junior at Long Beach State had not played at Olympic Club before the past weekend or ever qualified for the state amateur championship. Ignorance was bliss as the Covina resident enjoyed four birdies in his bogey-free round on the Ocean course.
“I wanted to keep everything in play today,” remarked the business administration major. “I didn’t want to lose any golf balls. I was able to control my shots and hit 15 greens in regulation. Same plan for tomorrow on the Lake, keep the ball in play.”
Golfers took advantage of an atypical June day in San Francisco – sunny skies and not a breath of wind or glimpse of fog. Players estimated the hot temperature and lack of heavy air and fog resulted in a minimum of a one-club difference and an additional 20 yards off the tee.
Xander Schauffele and Ryan Thomas are one-stroke back at 68. Martin Trainer, Ben Geyer and Brent Brockermayer are tied for fourth after carding respective 69s. With stroke-play qualifying taking place on both the Lake and Ocean courses today and tomorrow, the leaders benefited from the more player-friendly Ocean course. Of the 17 scores under par, only two (Kevin Wentworth and Pace Johnson) were registered on the Lake course. The Ocean layout played to an average of 74 strokes while the average score on the Lake was two strokes higher at 76 and played more than five strokes over par.
Trainer is one to keep an eye on as he is coming off an impressive win just down the road at Stanford. The USC rising junior captured the Pac-10 individual championship surviving a seven-hole playoff in April. No stranger to success near his hometown of Palo Alto, the eClub member won the San Francisco City in 2008 and advanced to the final 16 in 2009 when the championship was contested at Lake Merced.
“My goal is to be the medalist,” Trainer said. “I drove it very well today which makes the game easier. I was always in a good spot. My conference championship win reinforced my confidence and proved to me that I can win big events.”
Nine former champions are in the field headlined by the most recent winner, Scott Travers. The 2010 West Coast Conference Player of the Year got off to a steady start with an even-par 71 on the Ocean.
“I am trying not to get ahead of myself,” explained the recent Santa Clara graduate. “If I play well I will be in the top 32 and advance to match play which is the goal. The scoring conditions were really good today; I had a lot of wedges into greens which I am not used to on this course.”
With less than a year until the 2012 U.S. Open, USGA officials were on site today surveying recent changes to the venue. State amateur contestants are getting a preview of the U.S. Open course as fairways have already been grown in to championship length (one is as narrow as 18 yards). Rough lengths and green speeds are not indicative of what the world’s best will face next June but the teeth of the layout remains on center stage.
The top 32 players will advance from stroke play to single-elimination match play on the Lake course with the scheduled 36-hole final set for Saturday, June 25. Tee times for the second and final round of stroke play start Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m. on both the Lake and Ocean courses. If necessary a playoff will take place Tuesday afternoon.
North/South Challenge Matches
The North/South Challenge is a two-day competition between the NCGA and the SCGA during stroke-play qualifying. Each team, six players, is selected by their respective association. The North got off to a strong start and nine-stroke first-day lead powered by Trainer’s 69 and Randy Haag’s 70.
Final results are based on the best five scores out of six for each of the teams for a two-day total score. The winning team will hold the rights to the Roger Lapham Trophy.