Ethan Farnam almost tied the course-record at Coyote Creek's Valley Course
A recipe of cool windy weather was just right for Ethan Farnam to take the first round lead at the AmateurGolf.com Silicon Valley Amateur.
Farnam -- a Chicago resident that attends St. Mary's University -- is just returning from a winter break back home where he played three times with high temperatures in the 40s.
"Between those rounds, and some brisk walks with my girlfriend, today seemed warm," joked Farnam.
Before his winter break, Farnam finished runner-up for the second-straight year at the AmateurGolf.com Christmas Classic. This year the second round was cancelled due to rain, so Farnam never got the chance to give the Sunday chase to win his first AmateurGolf.com event.
Today, he birdied half the holes and recorded just a single bogey on his way to a 64 that missed the competitive course record of 63 (set by Max Homa and Michael Weaver while playing this same event some years back) by one.
But this tournament is anything but over. Also finishing towards the end of the draw today was Farnam's St. Mary's teammate Blake Hathcoat. Hathcoat posted a bogey-free 65. And get this -- Hathcoat had three 2s on the back nine -- making birdie on each of the side's three par 3s.
Brendan Hy, a freshman at Cal, also flirted with a low number today -- at one point he was 7-under before recording a couple of bogeys coming home and posting 67. He will round out the final threesome.
All tolled, there were 21 players under par today. Any of them is capable of throwing up a low number at the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course tomorrow. It should make for an interesting round of golf. Spectators are welcome.
There are three past Silicon Valley Amateur players on the PGA Tour this year, and two on the Korn Ferry Tour. PGA Tour players Max Homa, Collin Morikawa (Cal Berkeley) and Maverick McNealy (Stanford) played this tournament while in college. The same goes for Korn-Ferry Tour players Brandon Hagy and Michael Kim. Homa won here in 2011; Morikawa did so in 2016.
Kyle Rector of San Diego shot a bogey-free 68 to lead the Mid-Am division by a single shot over former Stanford golfer Kyle Gentry of Menlo Park (69) Gentry, starting off on the back nine was going along ok though 7 holes at 1-over. Then he caught fire, with 5-straight birdies starting at the 17th hole and ending at No. 3. Both golfers look good to finish high in the overall standings, and either could win with a low round on Sunday.
Daniel O'Connor of San Francisco and Glen Andrade of Napa are tied at the top after solid rounds of 73 on the Valley Course. James Ponsford is three shots back at 76.
10-handicapper Stotz Thoda posted a very solid round of 79 today; his net 69 leads the net flight going into Sunday's final round.
ABOUT THE AGC Silicon Valley Amateur
The Silicon Valley Amateur is the first
tournament to have, on its past winner's list, a
champion. That would be Collin Morikawa, who won
2016 title. Just over 4 years later, he won the PGA
Championship just up the road at TPC Harding Park
2021 marked the announcement of Baylands Golf
Links as the tournament's new host venue. And wow,
did players enjoy it. It's
location in Palo Alto is fitting -- as the original garage
where Hewlett Packard was founded is located there,
and today's biggest tech companies dot the area
like the Canadian Geese on the fairways and
near Baylands in the winter. Like
Corica Park in Alameda, Baylands was recently
completely redesigned as a new course from the dirt
up, under the hand of architect Forrest Richardson,
the results are stunning.
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