By Devin Golden
Among five local golfers in the Georgia Junior Championship, Dalton’s Allen Behr and Rocky Face’s Ethan Hayes and Tucker Snipes had the best performances in Monday’s opening round.
A tough back nine at The Farm Golf Club prevented Behr and Hayes from being even better.
Behr, who recently finished his sophomore season at Dalton High School, shot a 6-over-par 78 at the Rocky Face course and is tied for 40th with five golfers, including Snipes — who plays for Chattanooga’s McCallie School — entering today’s second round. Hayes, who will be a junior at Northwest Whitfield High School next school year, finished with an 80.
Both Behr and Hayes were 2 over after their first nine but had more difficulty on the way back in.
“I think the length is a factor for everyone, really,” Behr said. “The closing holes at The Farm are very difficult. I managed to make some putts on the back to save my round, even though I had some trouble on holes 15 and 16.”
Behr double-bogeyed No. 15, a par 5, and bogeyed the par-4 16th. His other bogey on the back nine came on the par-4 10th, and he didn’t have any birdies on the way in to offset the bad holes.
“The conditions weren’t as difficult as I thought they’d be, and the scores were lower than I thought they’d be,” Behr said. “But it was a good round and I’m happy about it.”
Hayes also had trouble with Nos. 10 and 16, carding a double-bogey on each. He three-putted for a bogey on No. 18.
“I was looking good and playing good. My putts were falling,” said Hayes, who is tied for 52nd. “Then on the back nine, I just went cold. ... I won’t make the cut if I don’t play well tomorrow.”
The tournament field of 128 will be cut to 70 golfers plus ties after today’s round. The remaining golfers will finish the 54-hole event Wednesday.
Snipes was better on the back nine than the front. He had double bogeys on the first two holes and bogeys on the next two on his way to a 40 at the turn. He finished with a 38 on the back nine and carded three birdies, the most of any local golfer Monday.
Dalton High golfer Landon Hicks, who was a sophomore this past school year, shot a 90, with 45s on each half of the course. He’s tied for 116th. Tyler Clayton, who will be a senior at Northwest next school year, shot a 103 with a rough 55 on the back nine and is at the back of the field.
Alpharetta’s Ryan Stachler and Albany’s Tyler Hanson each shot a 68 and lead 11 golfers who finished the opening round under par. Suwanee’s Jake Fendt sits alone in third after shooting a 69. Dunwoody’s Marcus Byrd, Atlanta’s Will Duma and Johns Creek’s Hayden Poole are tied for fourth after each shot a 70.
Five players in the field finished in the top 15 at last year’s event. Woodstock’s Nickolaus Budd, who finished tied for 14th last year, shot a 71 and is tied with five players for seventh.
This is the fifth time The Farm has hosted a Georgia State Golf Association event, a list that includes the 1990 Georgia Amateur Championship. The course also played host to the United States Golf Association’s Senior Amateur in 2005 and annually hosts the Carpet Capital Collegiate Classic.
Tournament officials dealt with a 45-minute delay due to rain and lightning that started at about 2:30 p.m., but no one was prevented from finishing his opening round.
“Everything could not be better,” said Layne Williams, the GSGA’s senior director of rules and competitions. “When you come up to The Farm, you know everything will be perfect. The golf course, staff, everything is perfect. It couldn’t be better.”
The tournament was open to male golfers between the ages of 14 and 17. The top eight finishers, plus two alternates, will earn spots in the Georgia-South Carolina Junior Challenge Match later this summer. The winner of the tournament automatically qualifies for the 2013 Georgia Amateur Championship, which is July 11-14 at Pinetree Country Club in Kennesaw.
For complete results and today’s second-round pairings and tee times, visit gsga.org.
• The Georgia Girls Championship, another GSGA event scheduled to start Monday, could not complete the first round at the Atlanta Athletic Club due to inclement weather.
One group did not finish the 18th hole and must do so today at 8 a.m. The second round of the three-day, 54-hole tournament will follow.
Bailey Tardy, of Norcross, leads with a 4-under-par 68. Roswell’s Rinko Mitsunaga is four shots back and in second place. All others shot above par.
Entries were open to female golfers between the ages of 9 and 17 with a maximum USGA Handicap Index of 24.4. The top four finishers at least 14 years old earn spots on the Georgia squad for the Georgia-South Carolina Girls’ Junior Challenge Match later this summer.