Casey Boyns on the first tee of "PG Muni" (AmateurGolf.com photo)
Two very unsurprising things happened today in Pacific Grove, California during the first round of the Pacific Grove City Championship.
The first was the chilly winter wind that brought out the beanies and layers. The second was the only guy to break Par 70 on the 5700 yard layout -- local legend Casey Boyns who grew up in Pacific Grove and now resides in Monterey.
To be fair, everyone who enjoys links golf knows that wind and rain are part of the charm. But once players crossed the street to play the real links holes, the whitecaps on the Pacific made it clear that no shot was going to be easy. The wind tends to have its way with any ball that isn't struck "just right."
Boyns, who just turned 65 (look out super seniors) plodded his way around the course he's playing hundreds of times like he always does.
"He's never out of position," said playing partner Todd Barsotti, who shot a solid 71 on his own ball. "And today he made all the four footers."
Boyns had just one bogey on the day -- on No. 7 with a rare three putt -- and he played the windy back nine in even par. In fact the two-time California Amateur champion and California Golf Hall of Fame member recorded 15 pars on the day, and back-to-back birdies on Nos. 4 and 5.
And he showed off the local knowledge that once led to a 9-under 61 on the 9th hole, the toughest par-3 on the course which was playing right into the wind.
"It was 210 playing about 240, so I just went ahead and hit a cut driver," said Boyns, while noting that fellow competitor Barsotti hit the green with a laser-like 3-wood.
While he is leading the Senior Division by two shots over Barsotti of Fresno, Boyns is still eligible to be the Pacific Grove City Champion -- since all divisions are playing the same tees.
Barsotti, the winner of the AmateurGolf.com Christmas Classic senior division back in December, showed similar form today with three birdies (one of them a rare deuce on the tricky par-3 2nd) against four bogeys. Another four seniors of the almost 40-strong field posted 3-over 73's.
In the Championship Division, Jerry Ledzinski (Pacific Grove) and Brett Thawley (Pebble Beach) are tied for the lead at 71. Both are solid Mid-Am players who have kept their games sharp over the winter, teeing it up on the AG Winter Tour and even (in Ledzinski's case) a professional event at Bayonet Black Horse.
"It was fun" said Ledzinski. "But one guy I played with hit it about 50 yards by me."
That's saying a lot, because Ledzinski still carries it 280-plus when he wants to and knows no par-5 he won't try to hit in two.
But between the duo, it was Thawley's scorecard that was the most intriguing. He had a birdie-birdie-eagle-double run on the front nine on his way to a 35. Ledzinski, in the same group, made four birdies on all different holes (including the really tough 8th, where the wind was trying to push everyone's drives into the bordering houses).
The pair would have ham and egged so well that if they were in a four-ball event they would have posted 8-under 62. Maybe there is an outing in their future.
Trailing by a stroke are JJ West, Kush Arora, and high school sophomore Jackson Koivun, who has been inching down his scores as he looks for his first AG win. Behind that trio are a number of golfers who could strike with a low round on a calmer Sunday.
In the Net Division, John Borrelli of Turlock has a big head start tomorrow thanks to a net 69. Trailing by 5 is Bart Goldie, with Marc Sanders another shot back at 75.
ABOUT THE AGC Pacific Grove City
BRAND NEW event at the wonderful Pacific Grove
Links, known to many as "The Poor Man's Pebble
Beach." That's because the back nine plays right
the Pacific Ocean in an out-and-back links style
layout. If you haven't played this Monterey
Peninsula gem, entering this tournament with a
friend or relative is the perfect way to experience
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