Bermuda Dunes, Calif. (April 15, 2013) – The desert couldn’t have been a better host to the Coachella Music Festival this past weekend, as tens of thousands of attendees were greeted with temperatures in the 80s, clears skies and a light breeze.
The same unfortunately cannot be said for today’s first round of the 30th SCGA Mid-Amateur Championship, as 34mph gusting winds provided a challenge for competitors on and off all day at Bermuda Dunes CC. The 54-hole championship did manage to squeeze in its first two rounds of play, with 84 golfers playing 18 holes in the morning and 18 more in the afternoon.
It was 2006 Champion Robert Funk who was able to best combat the tough conditions, shooting two rounds of 1-under par 71 to finish as the Day 1 leader.
“To win this again, it would really be a feather in my cap,” said Funk, the Canyon Lake, Calif. resident.
Funk, who wasn’t too familiar with the course, was able to capitalize on the longer holes, going -3 on the par 4s and -2 on the par 5s during the first two rounds.
The shot of the day, however, belongs to 2008 Champion Jeff Wilson, who aced the par 3, 169-yard 17th hole during his afternoon round. After a tough stretch in which he bogeyed three of four holes, Wilson was able to drain a 20-foot putt for par on the 16th hole before collecting the hole-in-one minutes later. His tee shot hit the side of the greenside bunker before rolling down into the hole.
The ace helped Wilson remain in contention after rounds of 70 and 75, putting him at 145, three strokes off the lead.
Also finding himself towards the top of the leaderboard is this year’s SCGA Foursomes Champion Dick Engel, who shot impressive rounds of 71 and 73 to finish at even par, two strokes behind Funk.
“The weather definitely affected play, but I’m pretty used to the wind playing out in Antelope Valley,” said Engel, the Lancaster, Calif. resident. “Despite the wind, I was able to putt well today and the drive the ball well, so that obviously really helped.”