Golf, the four-letter word. Golf, the beautiful game.
Golf, in its glory and whimsy, had the better of much of the field of players Saturday in the Capitol City Amateur at Capitol City Golf Club.
Ask Sean Burleson, 31, of Gig Harbor, how his front nine went. Burleson, who has a 12-handicap for this tournament, used crisp chips to hit it close to the pin on Nos. 4 and 5. That’s the good.
“I’d rather not be doing that,” he said. “It’s not going to last all day. I’m going to have to hit greens eventually.”
On the par-3 No. 6, Burleson took four shots to get out of the greenside bunker, with two of the attempts spiraling out of bounds on the other side of the green. He took an 11 on the hole — that’s the bad.
Burleson admitted sand play is the part of his game he doesn’t have time to practice.
“When I get in there, it’s just a guess,” he said.
On No. 8, after a strong tee shot, he not only hit the green from 147 yards out, he snugged it in the hole for an eagle. That’s the sublime. But don’t trust it.
Burleson played in the 8:24 a.m. foursome with Don Backman, 68, a 12 index here and the former golf coach for Timberline High School; Robert Judge, 38, a land surveyor from Gig Harbor and a 4 handicap; and Steven Cable of Honolulu, a former Black Hills High and Saint Martin’s University player.
Backman knocked it around a little bit on the front nine en route to a 46, Judge wrote down a 42 and Cable, a scratch golfer, went out in 1-over 37. The back nine, for each of them, had its turns …
Meanwhile, for other players through the day, golf had its moments, but the golfers took the punches and made gouges into par.
Casey Adams, a former River Ridge High player, got in early with a 4-under 68, which held up as the leader in the clubhouse until midway through the field of 156, when five-time Cap City champion Jon McCaslin also posted a 68.
By then, only half the field had finished, so there was bound to be a score out there. Micah McBride had it, turning in a 67 for the day’s low round.
The final group in today’s second round, scheduled to tee off at 1:30, will include McBride, Adams, McCaslin and Jason Follen, who posted a late 69.
Adams said his goal had been to play in the final group.
“That will be a treat,” he said, “to really see where my game is at.”
The next-to-last group will be Seth Nickerson, who also shot 69, along with a group at 71 — Micah Tilley, Chris Bae and Mark Sexton, a cook for the Fire Creek Grill at Capitol City.
Defending Cap City Am champion Ryan Earl, who also won in 2012, bogeyed both par-3s on the front and picked up a couple birdies on the back to come in with even-par 72, where he was joined by Tres Kirkebo.
A group at 73 included Joe Earl, Ryan’s dad; Tom Herrick, who played in the final group last year; Steve Rude; and Patrick Nugent.
Adams, who works at Capitol City, boomed his drive downwind on the par-5 No. 10, leaving him with a 9-iron into the green.
“I wanted the albatross, I wanted the big bird (double eagle),” he said. He settled for a five-foot putt for an eagle-3.
McCaslin had two bogeys — on the fifth and 14th — to go with six birdies on the day.
Meanwhile, with our 8:24 group, results on the back nine were a mixed bag.
Burleson improved with a back-side 44 after his opening 48, but didn’t have much good to say about it.
Backman turned in a solid 39 on the back; Judge fell back with a 46.
“Never found it,” Judge said.
Cable was at even-par heading to 18, but a lost ball on his tee shot which led to a double bogey and second consecutive 37, good for a 2-over 74.
The golf course exerted its usual influence — the greens were rolling at a quick 13.25 on the Stimpmeter, and Capitol City general manager Steve McNelly had the pins in unpredictable places.
What wickedness is in store for Sunday? The course is so firm, McNelly said, that he can’t get too crazy with the pins.
“They’ll be tucked, for the most part,” he said. “There are no easy greens, but they’re fair.”
The golf, represented by the cluster at the top of the leaderboard, promises to be as good as any year, McNelly said in his memory.
“Anybody in the last three groups can win it,” he said.