Kelly leads Capitol City Amateur, shoots first round of 65

Contributing writerJune 8, 2014 

There are many paths to a golf hole, and many of those vastly varied itineraries, planned and unplanned, unwound Saturday in the first round of the Capitol City Amateur at Capitol City Golf Club in Olympia.

With a full field of 160 golfers, that’s 2,880 holes worth of bumps and grinds by players and hops, kicks and jumps by the golf ball on the firm, fast fairways and wicked-quick greens.

The greens were rolling at 13.5 on the Stimpmeter, Capitol City general manager and tournament director Steve McNelly said.

“I think that’s the fastest we’ve ever had them,” McNelly said of the greens. “The good players took advantage of that.”

The tournament concludes Sunday, with the final group headed by first-day leader Ryan Kelly, who shot 65. Nine players shot par-72 or better Saturday in ideal conditions.

No better example of the variety of approaches onto the green and off was displayed on hole No. 2 by the 11:15 a.m. foursome of Chuck Willis, Bob Lykles, Herbert L. Bailey and Denny Bolton.

Willis, 71, of Graham, playing with a course handicap of 10, hit his second shot on 2 well left of the greenside left bunker, hit his third shot into the bunker, his fourth over the green on the other side, chipped to 18 feet, and made his putt for a double-bogey 6.

Lykles, 67, a military retiree and Capitol City member playing to a 16 handicap, hit his third shot along the cart path short right of the green toward E. Sarazen Avenue. He hit a provisional that headed in the same direction, then another provisional before finding his first ball, in play, nestled just in-bounds. He took an 8 on the hole.

Bailey, 65, of Nisqually, a 21-year veteran bus driver for Intercity Transit in Olympia, started with a one-putt up-and-down for par on No. 1.

He hit a solid tee shot on 2, got a good roll on a worm-burner of a second shot, then bounced his next into and out of the right greenside trap. The 19-handicapper took a 6 with a chip and a two-putt.

Nobody had the travails on No. 2 endured by Bolton, 69, a retiree who taught 25 years at North Thurston High School. Bolton, a 25 handicap on this course, took four shots to get out of the leftside bunker.

“I’ve got 16 holes to make it up,” he said after taking a 9 on the second.

Elsewhere around the golf course, other guys with a realistic chance of competing for the low-gross championship were going low.

Kelly, 40, of Tacoma, had three birdies in a front-side 32, then began the back with birdies on 10, 11 and 13 and an eagle-3 on 14 sandwiched around his lone bogey of the day on 12.

Kelly will be joined in the final group with 2012 Capitol City Amateur champion Ryan Earl, who shot a 67; Dan Ashlock, who fired an early 69; and Tom Herrick, who posted 69 several hours later.

Earl, 36, of Tacoma, had five birdies in a 32 on the front nine. His back nine included an eagle on 14.

“It’s anybody’s tournament,” said Earl, who won in a playoff with Casey Adams two years ago.

Ashlock, 49, of Puyallup, had three birdies on the front side on the way to his 69.

“The greens were phenomenal,” he said. “You just get ’em started and they go.”

Three players posted 70s — Patrick Nugent, Jason Follen, and Jack Whealdon. Adams, who works in the pro shop at Capitol City, shot a 71, including a four-putt on No. 17.

“I had a lot of opportunities to make birdies,” the 24-year-old Adams said. “I just didn’t.”

Looming within striking distance after a 72 is defending champion Jon McCaslin, the Capitol City Amateur winner four of the past five years. His round included out-of-bounds tee shots on 7, 9 and 10.

On the net side of the tournament, Mark Alkire was at 68 after his 85, joined in the net lead at 68 by Gary Davick, who had an 86.

McNelly said he placed the pins Saturday in slightly less devilish positions than he might have because of the speed of the greens.

“But none of them are easy,” he said.

“None of them are level, either,” Willis said after his makeable putt slid past the hole on No. 4. “I thought that was a straight putt.”

Willis’ playing partner, Bolton, wasn’t much happier 16 holes after bunker mishaps on No. 2. He finished with a score he didn’t want to read in the newspaper.

“That kind of set the day,” he said.

Sunday’s final round begins with tee times at 7:21 a.m., with the final two groups set to tee off at around 1:20 and 1:30 p.m.

The Olympian is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service