Kamin leads PGA qualifier
DAYTON – Chris Kamin could have stayed closer to home for the first qualifying tournament, but he likes the Reno area, and that’s what keeps him coming back to Dayton Valley Golf Club.
Braving the rain and gusty winds which got up to 40 miles per hour at times, Kamin recorded four birdies and an eagle en route to a 5-under-par 67 and the first-round lead at the first stage of the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament Tuesday afternoon.
Kamin has a one-stroke lead over Brian Hughes and James Blair. He leads by two strokes over Tom Kalinowski, Mike Pearson, Kyle Kovacs, Parker McLachlin and Joseph Summerhays, the son of Senior PGA Tour star Bruce Summerhays.
Ian Hagen led a trio of Reno entries with a 1-under 71. Carlos Concha finished with a 1-over 73 and T.J. Duncan, son of former Nevada golf coach Tom Duncan and a Carson High graduate, shot a 4-over 76.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” said Kamin, who lives in Phoenix and is back at Dayton for the fourth straight year. “It was one of those days where the bark was worse than the bite. A couple of times it was raining pretty good. The wind had to be blowing 40
miles an hour on one hole. I played well. I like the course. I know where to hit it. The greens are so good here. The course is in such fantastic shape.
“I like coming to Reno. My parents come out and my wife. We usually try to go to Tahoe and have dinner. It’s like a little vacation.”
Kamin’s round, believe it or not, could have been even better. He estimates that he missed three or four birdie putts inside 10 feet.
Kamin registered his first birdie on the 505-yard par-5 third hole. He pounded a 3-iron to 10 feet and two-putted for a birdie. He got it to 2-under when he hit a 7-iron to within three feet on the 179-yard sixth hole.
On No. 12, a 420-yard par-4, he hit an 8-iron to within three feet and drained the putt. He gave a stroke back on the par-3 234-yard 16th when he three-putted for a bogey. He birdied the 478-yard par-4 and eagled the par-5 537-yard 18th hole when he landed a 6-iron to 15 feet and sank the putt.
Blair had six birdies, two bogeys and 10 pars.
“Pretty good for this weather,” Blair said, before heading out to the store. “I do all right here. There is still a long ways to go.”
Blair had four birdies on the front – Nos. 1, 3, 8 and 9. He also birdied No. 11 and No. 15, giving him birdies on the first three par-5s. He bogeyed the last par-5, No. 18, when he hit his second shot into the water. He also bogeyed the par-3 sixth hole.
Duncan, who came within one shot of qualifying last year, was understandably disappointed with his 4-over-par effort.
“Not a whole lot went right,” Duncan said. “My iron play was good, but I struggled off the tee. I hit three balls in the water .”
Duncan said that his chances of making the top 23, which would move him on to the next stage, are decent.
He did say that it would take three sub-par rounds (68s or 69s)to have a good shot.
Much could depend on the weather, too. Wind and rain are in many forecasts for the next three days. Scores were decent in the first round, but that could change.
Duncan birdied No. 3 and No. 18, but he bogeyed six holes. He bogeyed four straight holes – 12, 13, 14 and 15 – and had five total bogeys on the back side.
“In one stretch of four holes (on the back side) it really started raining and I bogeyed all four holes,” Duncan said. “If you keep the ball out of the water here, you can really score here.”
Will Collins said the conditions last year were perfect and the course was too easy. He obviously had a different opinion after Tuesday’s opening round.
“The main problem is keeping things dry,” Collins said. “It was hard to get into a good rhythm.
“Everything was too fast; the pace. You can’t quite get relaxed. Sometimes the waits get a little long. If you get backed up, it has quite a bit of impact on your game.”
Brian Flugstad said the conditions were as tough as he’s ever played.
“The biggest problem is the temperature is 48 degrees and we had wind gusts of up to 50 miles an hour,” he said after shooting a 3-over-par 75. “On No. 16 (234-yard par-3), I was hitting my shot to the right edge of the green and it ended up on the left side (because the wind was so strong).”
Putting was a problem, according to Duncan. The ex-Wolf Pack star said that one player in his group had the ball move twice on him on the same hole, costing him a penalty stroke each time. By rule, once you have re-marked your ball and you are getting ready to address it, if the ball moves the player is penalized.
WAY, WAY BACK
Seven players – Tom O’Stasik, Conner Robbins, Wes Martin, Jason Boyd, Chad Wensel, David Katz and Bryson Groat shot 80 or higher. San Francisco’s Evan Johnstone was high man in the 82-man field with a 92.
Contact Darrell Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1281.