Kelowna, British Columbia — Mark Anguiano, Grady Brame, Jr., and Zach Wright carded matching rounds of 9-under 62 and are tied for the lead after the opening round of the GolfBC Championship. They hold a two-shot lead heading into the second round.
Playing in the first group of the morning wave, Anguiano set the tone early with a bogey-free, 9-under 62. He carded nine birdies during his play at Gallagher’s Canyon Golf and Country Club, a round which included four consecutive birdies on Nos. 2-5. Anguiano came one shot shy of tying the tournament record, set last year by Canadian Jared du Toit in the third round.
Anguiano, who was fighting a left-knee injury last week at the Bayview Place DCBank Open presented by Times Colonist, almost withdrew before the final round in Victoria due to the pain. He went on to tie for 23rd in the event.
“I didn’t even warm up in the last round, and I was thinking of not even playing on the last day,” said Anguiano. “It was hurting that bad, but physically I feel better. It’s about 80 percent this week. I took good care of it.”
Joining Anguiano atop the leaderboard is Louisiana native Brame. He combined seven birdies with an eagle for a matching, bogey-free 9-under 62. His eagle on the par-5 ninth hole was the result of a stellar second shot from 205 yards. Using his 6-iron, the ball landed on the fringe and narrowly missed the hole, ending up 10 feet past the pin. He made the putt for eagle and closed the round with five additional birdies. Brame followed a tie-for-fourth finish at this year’s Q-School USA East No. 2 with two consecutive missed cuts in the first two events of this season.
Wright played his last four holes six-under par with an eagle-birdie-birdie-eagle finish. The 9-under 62 from the Louisiana State University alum consisted of two eagles, seven birdies, and two bogeys. The 24-year-old started the season with a runner-up finish at the Freedom 55 Financial Open and entered this week No. 3 in the Order of Merit
Did You Know Mark Anguiano
played a full season on the Web.com Tour in 2017 and finished No. 98 on the Regular Season money list?
Mark Anguiano entered the week No. 50 in the Order of Merit.
Among the 21 Canadians in the field, Jared du Toit from Kimberley, British Columbia, fired the lowest opening round, with a bogey-free, 6-under 65 and sits tied for sixth.
Coming off his win at the Bayview Place DCBank Open presented by Times Colonist, Sam Fidone shot an opening round 1-under 70, which included four birdies and three bogeys.
Order of Merit co-leader Jordan Niebrugge opened with a 4-under 67, his fifth consecutive round of even par or better this season.
Amateur Matt Hopley shot an opening round of 2-over 73 on his 16th birthday. He earned a sponsor’s exemption into the event through the local junior circuit. Hopley competed in last year’s event and missed the cut, with rounds of 75-75. His father, Peter Hopley, is the general manager of Gallagher’s Canyon Golf and Country Club.
“I didn’t hit it that great warming up. I didn’t have many expectations, but the putting felt good and it was just one of those days that I got good breaks. It really makes a difference on a day like this.” – Mark Anguiano
“I don’t mind looking at the leaderboard. I think it’s good to look. If you’re intimidated, it’s only going to hurt you. I didn’t know what the course record was, but I’ll take the 62, though.”
– Mark Anguiano
“If you want to make it in this game, you have to be exceptional in the mental aspects. It’s so difficult to not doubt yourself when so many things have gone wrong. I know when I’m playing well, I can play with anybody out here, it’s just a matter of turning my bad scores into relatively decent ones.” – Grady Brame, Jr.
“I was just thinking last night because I didn’t hit it well on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I just thought to myself that I’m going to try and hit every shot today and just completely forget about what happens to the ball and have no emotional attachment to it. It felt awesome. From the warmup today all the way to the 18th hole, it felt great.” – Grady Brame, Jr.
“It’s a good start. It was solid. I felt like when I was going into that first par-5, I was 3-under and I told my caddy that it was a couple strokes from being really low. I ended up finishing really well, so it was a bonus.” – Zach Wright
“It was the weirdest thing. I was playing a practice round and wasn’t playing great, and I was like, ‘Man, I don’t know how I shot 61 here, it’s kind of tough.’ But it is definitely good to have that 61 in the back of my mind. – Jared du Toit
“It’s not a bomber’s course. It’s all about position. You have to position yourself from the right spots, and if you do that, you’ll have a lot of opportunities. If you don’t do that, that’s when you’ll have some trouble.” – Blake D. Trimble
Tournament Fast Fact
The GolfBC Championship is the final event of the BC Golf Swing, which consists of three tournament locations in the province of British Columbia. In its inaugural year in 2016, Dan McCarthy won this tournament by seven shots, with a 25-under total. Robby Shelton won the following year in wire-to-wire fashion, at 19-under.
BC Golf Swing
Vancouver- Freedom 55 Financial Open (May 31-June 3)
Victoria- Bayview Place DCBank Open presented by Times Colonist (June 7-10)
Kelowna- GolfBC Championship (June 14-17)
First-Round Weather Report
Mostly cloudy with scattered light showers throughout the day. High of 20 Celsius, with the wind at 6km/h.