Willy Walsh takes first round lead at AmateurGolf.com's Silicon Valley Amateur
Baylands Golf Links in Palo Alto yields its fair share of birdies under normal conditions and recent rains in the Bay Area left the friendly course virtually defenseless on Saturday in the first round of AmateurGolf.com's Silicon Valley Amateur presented by Callaway Golf.
Three Bay Area high school standouts along with a 36-year-old mid-amateur hold down the top four spots on the leaderboard after taking advantage of the driver-friendly, soft golf course in the shadows of Stanford University on Saturday.
After carding a first-round 66, Willy Walsh, a senior at Serra High School in San Mateo, holds a one-stroke lead over Tamalpais High School senior Niall Shield Donegan and Bay Area mid-am veteran Chris Goin, who matched 5-under rounds of 65. Donegan's Tam teammate, Ben Friedman, is just two back after opening with a 4-under 68.
Walsh, the son of longtime Serra football coach Patrick Walsh, had seven birdies and just one bogey on his Saturday card for an easy 66.
The road to PGA stardom for Homa and Morikawa went through the Silicon Valley Amateur
"The greens were amazing and if you hit a good putt, chances are it was going to go in," said Walsh. "The course was a little soft due to the weather but in really good shape."
Donegan birdied two of his first three holes but was stalled at 1-under through 12. However, the Northwestern commit finished like a ball of fire with birdies on four of his last six holes for an inward nine of 31 and a round of 67.
Goin, of Alameda, reached the semifinals of last year's San Francisco City Championship. Today he used six birdies to offset his only bogey of the day on the 17th hole en route to a 67. Goin has had success at Baylands, where he won last year's Palo Alto City Championship.
Defending champ Dan O'Connor leads seniors with a 4-under 68. Sean Crowley of Littleton, Colorado is two shots back after posting 70.
The field may have to deal with Mother Nature in tomorrow's final round, as rain is expected in the Palo Alto area in the late morning. The tournament committee changed the start from tee times to an 8:30 am shotgun to give everyone the best chance of getting in before the rain.
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
in San Francisco.
Rising PGA Tour star Max Homa also won the Silicon
Related: The road to PGA stardom for Homa
and Morikawa went through the Silicon Valley
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,
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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