Dugger, Goin share first-round lead at Alameda Commuters
Co-leader Chris Goin (Conner Penfold photo)
Co-leader Chris Goin (Conner Penfold photo)

A cold breeze steadily increased throughout the day to provide gusty conditions for later tee times during the opening round of the 94th Alameda Commuters Tournament. With the earliest half dozen tee times comfortably in the clubhouse grabbing lunch before the wind picked up, it was no surprise that one of two co-leaders was in the lead pairing at 6:40 a.m.

Holy Names University freshman Luke Dugger circled the first three numbers on his scorecard en route to a 4-under par 68, and a one-shot lead to share with Chris Goin.

“The first time I really noticed the wind was on hole 16,” Dugger said. “I played a little bit of an adjusted yardage for the wind but really that was the only time that I factored it in.”

For Goin, who began his day just before 10:00 a.m., the wind was a factor for most of the round.

“It really started howling while we were waiting on 11 and once we were on 13, it hit its peak,” Goin said. “And when we got to 18, that was just rough. It was probably 420 playing 470 into that wind.”

The course’s four par-5s are all reachable in two, especially with the wind helping push drives down the 17th fairway. Goin failed to take advantage of the opening hole, making bogey at the 533-yard par-5 to start his day but rallied to lead the field with seven birdies.

“I had a really good group,” Goin said. “That really kept me calm.”

Course knowledge was the common denominator among the three men atop Saturday’s leaderboard as Beau Forest, winner of the 2021 AmateurGolf.com Winter Invitational just four months ago at Corica Park, was a shot away from joining Dugger and Goin at 4 under.

Holy Names freshman Luke Dugger (Conner Penfold photo)

Forest, a former University of the Pacific Tiger, shot 68-71 to edge Nate Jetter and Kristian Bressum in December of 2021, which brought his play count to roughly eight times on the redesigned South Course. Dugger’s familiarity with the course dates back to 2019 when he joined the Holy Names squad, who call Corica Park their home track. And Goin, an Alameda, Calif. resident, plays Corica Park on a regular basis.

“It’s knowing the greens,” Goin said. “And even knowing the greens, I still had two 3-putts. You really have to hit it to the right spot and then notice the subtle breaks. Then it’s those five-footers that can break a foot.”

Dugger agreed that it’s essentially short game that proves to be the best combatant to the course’s setup.

“In my opinion it all comes down to short game,” Dugger said. “It’s pretty wide open off the tee and then once you get it on or around the green, it’s all about putting. The greens are tricky.”

The crowded leaderboard features nine players sitting just two back while an additional 14 are par or better. Notable names in the hunt Sunday are two-time Northern California Stroke Play champion Daniel Connolly (-2), 2021 U.S. Mid-Amateur round-of-16 contestant Brett Viboch (-2), Georgia Tech commit Aiden Tran (-1), and 2021 Sacramento City champion Marc Engellenner (-1).

Engellenner, who also won the 2022 AmateurGolf.com San Diego Amateur (South), had possibly the wildest round of the day with an eagle and six birdies on his card. But he added two back-nine double-bogeys in what was likely the most difficult playing conditions of the day as the Rocklin, Calif. resident teed at 11:48 a.m. — the third-to-last time.

2022 Alameda Commuters

Results: Alameda Commuters
1CADomingo JojolaSan Francisco, CA10070-65=135
T2CAMarc EngellennerRocklin, CA6571-69=140
T2CAEric YunMenlo Park, CA6571-69=140
T4CAMatthew LinOrinda, CA3071-70=141
T4CAChris GoinAlameda, CA3068-73=141

View full results for Alameda Commuters

ABOUT THE Alameda Commuters

What's in a name? In the case of the Alameda Commuters Championship, the logo of the almost 100 year old tournament would be a dead giveaway. It's a steam ferry, which was the only way to "commute" to San Francisco from the East Bay before the Bay Bridge was built. Started as an informal event -- the original first prize was a bag of nails -- the tournament has grown into one of the top independent events in California.

A dedicated tournament committee prides itself on running the competition as if it were a PGA Tour event. Two of the best public courses at the city-owned Chuck Corica Golf Complex are prepared with care. Slick greens, Sunday pins, and even that rarity in amateur golf – spectators are all part of the fun. The roped-off scoreboard is a particular area of pride for the "green jackets" who were wearing dark green blazers before they were made popular by another tournament you might be aware of in Augusta Georgia. The 250 player championship division is cut to 50 and ties for the second weekend, at which time the 36-hole senior division tees off to join them.

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