Spectators and players alike gathered in sunny Santa Cruz, California to watch an amazing event take place - not only was it the first round of the 2017 Masters Cup, but it was the day that Paul McBeth absolutely dominated the course with a new record of -15. Friday presented ideal conditions with clear skies and moderate temperatures, and fans got to see many of the top pros put on a great show.
Familiar Faces Graced The Top Card
The last men’s card to tee off on day one was quite the mixture of players, as fan favorite Ricky Wysocki joined Thomas Tomaselli, winner of the Masters Cup Amateur event two weeks ago. Tomaselli had taken down the first place position with an 8 stroke lead, securing his spot on the top men’s card on Friday.
Spectators were in for a treat from Manabu Kajiyama, who started his 2017 season by taking 4th place at the Aussie Open. Rounding out the card was Josh Anthon, playing in his first NT event since his last appearance in Santa Cruz in 2013. The group teed off at 2:20 pm local time in 75-degree weather and an excitement to get the round started.
Sneaking Up From Behind
Beginning his round just ten minutes prior to the top card, Paul McBeth sported a fresh haircut and looked ready to attack the challenging DeLaveaga course. Having secured four consecutive wins here from 2012 through 2015, it seemed that McBeth had one goal in mind - come out on top.
His round started off with some uncharacteristic play, as he parred the first two holes and carded a bogey on hole four. After that, something seemed to click, as he birdied eight of the next nine holes. Hole 14 gave him some trouble and his second bogey of the round, and he finished strong carding a birdie on eight of the remaining ten holes.
One of his more impressive moves was to secure the course record on the last hole of the day. Those familiar with this course know it as “The Top of the World,” which gives an amazing view of Santa Cruz while at the same time providing a challenge to even the most high-level players.
Paul’s drive was right on line but ended up about 55 feet short of the pin. With a decently sized gallery watching, he sunk his putt to bring his total score to 15 down and an unofficially rated 1104 round.
Can Anyone Catch Up?
It seems that Paul has secured his top spot early on, as the second place score on Friday was trailing behind him by seven strokes. Surprisingly, Wysocki ended his round at -6 and is in a six-way tie for 5th place. Even after one round, he’s usually within striking distance of first place, so Saturday’s round might show him really stepping on the gas.
Saturday’s top card features McBeth at -15, California local Christopher Watson at -8, and both Kajiyama and Santa Cruz native Nate Doss tied for third at -7 each. Get ready to see some real score separations as players once again prepare to battle through 24 holes of amazing golf.
Written by Courtney Elder