Naughton grabs City Amateur lead

first_imgE-mail: [email protected] While several of the “big-name” golfers struggled in the first round of the Salt Lake City Amateur Saturday, others did just fine.Bill Naughton fired a 6-under-par 66 under tougher-than-normal conditions at Bonneville Golf Course, while Corey Matthews is a shot behind at 67.Kirk Siddens, the 2002 City Am champ, is next at 68, followed by last year’s runner-up Pete Stone, Mike Branca, Brady Stanger and M.W. McRae at 69. The final 18 holes will be played today at Bonneville.Naughton, a 39-year-old who is a regular in the Bonneville Men’s League, put seven birdies on the board with a lone bogey in firing his 66. He was hot early with birdies at 2, 4, 5 and 6 before making a bogey at No. 9. On the back nine he added birdies at 14 and 16 before capping off his round with a birdie at the par-3 18th hole.Siddens said he played well enough that his 68 was as high as he should have shot Saturday. He had eagles at 1 and 7 but was hurt by a triple bogey at the par-3 No. 8 hole.Stone has been gunning for this tournament ever since last year when he blew a final-round lead, forced a playoff with a miraculous chip-in at the final hole, only to lose on the first hole of a playoff to Ryan Job.”I’ve been looking forward to this ever since last year,” Stone said. He injured his back playing at the Spanish Oaks Open a month ago and told his doctor he needed to be better in time for the City Am.Stone hit his drive at No. 13 out of bounds onto the Little League diamonds across the street, or else he would have had a 67.Job, a two-time winner of the event, was five-under-par before struggling on his back nine and finishing with a 73. Two-time champ Doug Bybee also shot 73, while reigning State Amateur champ Tommy Sharp shot a 74.The course was set up tougher with two cuts of rough and narrower fairways, which sent a few scores soaring. But the guys who hit it straight were still able to keep their scores in the 60s.The field was cut to 200 golfers this year, and it filled up before noon on the first day of sign-ups. Each of the four flights are being contested with gross scores rather than net.Flight leaders include Lester Perry and Rick Groendyke with 72s in Championship Net, James Davis in A Flight with a 71 and Stacy McCune with a 78 in B Flight. If there are any ties, they will be settled by playoffs tonight at 7:30 p.m. last_img

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