Straight Down Fall Classic: Big names lead the way
Kevin Marsh
Kevin Marsh

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (Nov. 16, 2013) -- You no longer need to drive down Magnolia Lane at Augusta National in order to get up close to some of golf's greats.

This weekend, the Straight Down Fall Classic is being played at San Luis Obispo Country Club. Like the Masters, there are cheap burgers and beers, an incredible golf course, and a stellar field of pros. Many of the pros in this year's event have played The Masters many times including one with a win and another with an Open title.

After Round 1, 9-under is the leading score shot by the duo of Jason Gore and Kevin Marsh. They played a great round and really picked each other up on holes when it was needed.

Right behind them at 8-under is Paul Stankowski and Brad Payne.

At 6-under is Scott Heyn and Chris Heintz followed by Fred Couples and Brad Shaw.

Thanks to a strong finish, Couples and Shaw moved into contention. Couples rolled in a delicate 10-footer downhill for birdie on 16. After dealing with tree limbs on his approach shot on 18, Shaw managed to drain a big 25-foot putt right in front of the large gallery around 18 and the clubhouse.

Other notables at 4-under are the teams of Golf Channel's Brandel Chamblee and Jim Strickland, Scott and Dave Simpson, and Tom and Thomas Lehman. After the round, Thomas said he had a great time playing with his dad for his first year in this event.

When asked how the greens were, Tom Lehman said "They were immensely fast!".

As for the shape of the course, it was fabulous. The greens, as Tom and others said, were very slick. The pro shop could not confirm, but they may have been pushing 12.5-13+.

Final round tee times start at 7:30 on Sunday.

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ABOUT THE Straight Down Fall Classic

Annual invitational event sponsored by apparel manufacturer Straight Down and supported by sponsor companies from the California Central Coast.

Format is one pro, paired with one amateur -- pros are PGA Club pros and members of various professional tours with enough "big names" to bring out thousands of spectators. And the spectators are rewarded with up- close access normally not found at a PGA Tour event. The ALS Foundation was named as the designated beneficiary in 2009.

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