Sean-Karl Dobson (photo by Conner Penfold)
eagled the first hole at Baylands Golf Links to set the tone for Saturday’s opening round of the Amateurgolf.com Silicon Valley Amateur.
The competitive course record, posted 364 days ago by eventual champion Weston Payne
at the tournament’s inaugural event, was in dire jeopardy.
“I had a pretty tough season last year,” said Dobson, a senior at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas. “I took from Thanksgiving to now off just to reset and refresh. I got the competitive drive to come back out here and it’s rewarding to know that I did the right thing.”
Dobson punished the par-5s, birdieing the remaining four on the course following the introductory eagle. And just like Payne’s round almost exactly one year ago, Dobson’s near-perfect day featured no bogeys. But the Stanford commit admits he left a few extra red numbers out there.
“The longest putt I made all day was four feet, so I was just sticking it,” Dobson said. “I had three putts from eight feet lip out.”
So it was fitting, then, that his record-sealing putt on 18, after navigating a tricky greenside bunker, lipped in on the left edge to confirm the 10-under 62.
Dobson’s playing partner and fellow high school class of 2022 graduate Cameron Keith
chipped in for eagle at 18 to jump into solo second place at 5-under. Keith, a commit to Dartmouth University who plays for De La Salle High School in Concord, birdied his first three holes of the day but fell quickly back to even through seven.
The closing eagle means he’ll play again with Dobson in Sunday’s final round, leapfrogging over a half dozen players tied for third at 4-under.
One of those six is mid-amateur leader Nate Jetter
who birdied six of his last seven to post 68. He leads Rob McLaren
and Matthew Lehman
In the Senior Division, Michael Staskus
also went bogey-free but didn’t circle nearly as many numbers on his scorecard. The 2021 Christmas Classic Senior winner birdied one and 18 to bookend his opening round nicely. Tony Ralph
is alone in second at 2-under 70 followed by a trio of 71s – Richard Maxwell
, Greg Langford
, and Daniel O’Connor
leads the Super Seniors by one at 75 over Tom Pera
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.
This is a gross competition with Championship, Senior and Women's divisions. There will be no Net division.
For players age
49. Compete alongside the younger players in the
Championship Division, (same tees, same prize
opportunities) and if there are at least 10 Mid-Ams, a
separate prize and trophy will be awarded.
For players age
65+. Compete alongside the younger players in the
Senior Division, (same tees, same prize
opportunities) and a
separate prize and trophy will be awarded for low
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