Jeronimo Esteve during the Orlando International Am (Photo by John Klein)
A coast away from his Orlando, Fla., home, Jeronimo Esteve has a share of the early lead at the George C. Thomas Invitational. Esteve along with Taylor Haden opened with 1-under 69 at Los Angeles Country Club and have a one-shot edge on Michael Muehr.
Esteve recently returned for the Amateur Championship at Portmarnock (Ireland) Golf Club, where he fell short of the match-play bracket. He started the year with a top-5 finish at the Orlando International Amateur.
Behind Muehr, Stephen Summers had a 1-over 71 for solo fourth. A four-man group at 2-over 72 includes Scott Harvey, the 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion who so far this year has won the George C. Coleman Invitational at Seminole Golf Club as well as the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball (alongside Todd Mitchell) at Bandon Dunes.
Mitchell fired an opening 4-over 74 on Thursday and is tied for 12th with two other men, including Brett Boner, last fall’s U.S. Mid-Amateur runner-up.
Other notable men in the mid-amateur division include four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Nathan Smith, who opened with 76. SMU head coach Jason Enloe had a 79 to open.
In the Senior division, Gene Elliott was the only player to post a red number, firing a 1 under 69. The West Des Moines, IA native enjoyed a stress free day despite typical afternoon breezes and fast, firm greens. He holds a two shot lead over Claud Cooper from Birmingham, AL who shot a 1 over 71.
Elliott, who recently won his fourth Iowa Senior Match Play title, will look to fend off charges from Southern California natives Mike Rowley and John Pate, who both posted rounds of 2-over 74.
- Patrick Burda contributed to this recap
ABOUT THE George C. Thomas Invitational
54-hole stroke play invitational with Mid-Am and
Senior divisions is named for George C. Thomas, Jr.,
the legendary golf course architect who designed the
courses for Bel-Air Country Club, The Los Angeles
Country Club, Riviera Country Club and others in the
1920s. Thomas was a prominent rose breeder on
East Coast before gaining fame as a golf course
designer. Los Angeles Country Club was the host of
the 2017 Walker Cup.
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