SEASIDE, Calif. (June 10, 2013) — Russell Humphrey finds himself in a familiar spot after Monday’s first round at the NCGA Master Division Championship. Six weeks ago at the conclusion of the first round of the NCGA Public Links Championship, Humphrey captured the 18-hole lead with the only under-par score of the day; on Monday it was déjà vu all over again.
Humphrey was the only player to post an under-par score at Bayonet GC, posting a two-under par 70 taking a two-stroke lead into tomorrow’s final round. Starting off the No. 10 tee, the Lodi resident scored five birdies on the back nine on Nos. 10, 12, 16, 17 and 18 to go along with two bogeys on Nos. 11 and 15 to make the turn at three-under par. On the front-nine Humphrey double bogeyed No. 2, birdied No. 3 and then finished with six straight pars for a 37.
“It got tougher as the day went on and as the wind picked up,” explained Humphrey on the difference between the two nines.
Humphrey, who has had an affinity for Bayonet GC ever since he won the WCC championship in 1994 as a member of the USF golf team, credited the putter for his under-par round.
“I putted really well today and that was the difference,” he said.
With tomorrow’s final round moving over to Spyglass Hill GC, the 41-year-old hopes to finish better than he did at the NCGA Public Links Championship and come out with a win. In that event, Humphrey struggled with the flat-stick, relinquished his lead and lost by a single stroke with a final round of 74. His plan after Monday’s round was to go get some work in on the Spyglass Hill practice greens to get a feel for the differentiating speeds compared to Bayonet’s greens. He knows that making putts will be vital in order for a victory.
“The field is so strong it’s going to take another under-par score in order for me to have a chance to win,” he said.
Joining Humphrey in the final group is a trio of players at even-par 72, Jon Peterson, Randy Haag and Jamie Looper.
The early clubhouse leaders, finishing virtually at the same time were Peterson of Granite Bay and six-time NCGA Player of the Year Haag. Peterson, who started off No. 10, made a pair of birdies early on Nos. 10 and 13 before countering them with bogeys on Nos. 16 and 18. On his back-nine, the 40-year-old Master Division rookie would reel off nine pars to finish at level-par. Haag’s round started off with a birdie on No. 1, but bogeys on Nos. 4 and 8 had him turn at 37. On the back-nine, birdies on Nos. 10, 17 and 18, and bogeys on Nos. 11 and 16, gave the three-time Master Division Champion (’99, ’02 and ’09) a 35 to finish at 72.
Looper, who finished about an hour later to tie Peterson and Haag, had a tale of two nines as he started out guns blazing on the front nine before imploding on the back nine. The Oakdale resident was five-under through seven holes, but a bogey on the ninth—to finish with a 32—is when things went south. The 52-year-old would birdie No. 10, but then had four straight bogeys on Nos. 12-15. A birdie on the 16th got the former Master Division Champion (’08) to two-under par with two to play, but a double-bogey on the par-3 17th left him with a 40 on the back nine.
In a tie for fifth place at one-over par 73 are Dale Bouguennec and Mark Miller. Alone in seventh place at two-over par 74 is current NCGA Senior Champion Gary Vanier. Five players are tied for eighth place at three-over par 75 including 2007 champion Casey Boyns. Defending champion Jim Knoll is currently in a tie for 48th place after a nine-over par 81.
Tomorrow’s final round will take place at Spyglass Hill GC with play beginning at 7:30 a.m. and the leaders teeing off last at 9:50 a.m.