LACEY – The golf gods are real, and fickle, and Saturday they lived and laughed in the swirling winds at Capitol City Golf Club.
Low scores weren’t completely gone with the wind – steady at 15 mph with gusts near 20 – but dozens of players finished shaking their heads over wind-warped numbers on their cards in the first round of the Capitol City men’s amateur tournament.
In the end, if players putted well on the quick, true greens and maneuvered well toward the typically testy pin placements of Capitol City general manager Steve McNelly, there were scores to be had Saturday.
The day’s low round belonged to James Feutz, 18, a graduating senior from Bellarmine Prep bound for UNLV. Feutz birdied three of his last four holes to finish with a 3-under 69, good for a three-stroke lead over Ryan Earl heading into today’s final round.
“It was tough out there,” said Feutz, Class 4A state champion as a Bellarmine sophomore in 2010.
Feutz hit only three fairways, he said, but was happy with the way he kept his ball in play.
“I’m trying to put together some good rounds,” said Feutz, who shot 69 at Chambers Bay last week in the final round of the Puget Sound Amateur.
His jammed schedule in the near future includes the Washington Amateur at the Eagles Pride golf course at Fort Lewis from Tuesday through Friday and the Tacoma City Am the next two weekends.
“I hit it great for the first 15 holes,” Earl said. “I struggled coming in. With the weather conditions, I’m not too disappointed.”
Earl, 34, an Olympia High alum who played at the University of Portland, three-putted No. 16 for bogey, caught the lip of a bunker on 17 for another bogey, and a bad drive on 18 led to a third consecutive bogey.
Kevin Cannon and Robert Bonomo came in with 73s to tie for third. Brandon Moore (Saint Martin’s University), Casey Adams, Robert Talbot and Nathan Strand shot 74.
Among the rest of the field, there were misadventures and tales to tell in wind strong enough to mess with your head and your game.
“The golf gods know the shots that I hate,” said Marc Herr, an 18 handicap, after his approach sailed into a greenside bunker on No. 2, just as it had on the hole before.
On No. 1, he blasted out of the sand to eight feet and made the putt for par.
On No. 2, he got out, but he missed a longer putt and took a bogey.
On the par-3 third, Herr’s tee ball headed as if on a string for the bunker to the right of the tight-front pin, but nestled safely 10 feet left of the sand.
“A little love,” said his brother, Fritz Herr, giving the golf gods due credit.
Marc Herr chipped on past the pin and made the comeback putt for par.
The Herr brothers and the other members of their first-day foursome – Barney Newton and Brandon Weedon – were close to being in the first-day low-net mix. Newton and Marc Herr had net 75s, Fritz Herr netted a 76, and Weedon – a former Black Hills High golfer – had a net 77.
The low-net field will today chase Raymond Peters (gross 87, net 66) and Mark Hoiseck (81 and 66). John Ostlund had a net 67, Doug Boe 68, Chris Addleman 69 and Martin Mueller, Brandon Faust, Rick Ellis and Bonomo 70.
The forecast calls for tamer weather for today’s final round, but the wicked-quick greens (rolling at 12.5 Saturday on the Stimpmeter, McNelly said) and devilish Sunday pin positions invite the influence of outside forces.
“I don’t need the golf gods mad at me,” Newton said. “I do enough (stuff) wrong myself.”