BOULDER, CA (August 5, 2016) — The last time Boulder Country Club hosted the CGA Amateur — six years ago — one competitor proved the course can yield low scores.
Jim Knous shot a course-record 10-under-par 60 in the final round to force a playoff, which eventually was won by 16-year-old Wyndham Clark.
Seven-under-par was the winning total that year, and seven players overall finished in red figures for the week.
So far, the 2016 version of the CGA Amateur presented by Webster Investment Advisors is proving a much different animal. In short, BCC has been a bear.
At the halfway point of the 72-hole event, a grand total of one player — Colin Prater of The Broadmoor Golf Club — stands at or below par. If things keep up like this, the winning total for the CGA Amateur could end up over par for the first time since 2012 when Fort Collins Country Club hosted.
“It’s just a tough golf course,” Prater said. “There’s tricky pins and it’s hard to get the ball in really close.
“It’s a par-70; there’s only two par-5s. You’ve got to birdie par-4s. My coach always likes to say, ‘you’ve got to play the par-3s even and play the par-5s under par.’ Since there’s only two, you’ve really got to make birdies on some par-4s.
“I can see they can make the pins really tricky and if the greens get firm, par might be a really good score.”
Prater, who recently qualified for the U.S. Amateur and won the Pikes Peak Amateur, shot an even-par 70 Friday, leaving him at 1-under 139 through two rounds.
The University of Colorado-Colorado Springs golfer carded two birdies and two bogeys in round 2.
“I feel pretty good, especially because I don’t think I’ve played my best golf,” said Prater, who struggled with his putter on Friday. “I’ve got a lot of stuff to work on, but it’s definitely exciting to be right up there and to give yourself a chance going into the weekend.”
Spencer Painton of Green Valley Ranch Golf Club, a former 5A state high school champion who recently transferred to CU-Boulder, shares second place at 1-over 141 with 2014 CGA Mid-Amateur champion Chris Thayer of Bear Creek Golf Club. Thayer shot a 71 Friday, while Painton had a 72.
Defending champion Chris Korte of Lone Tree Golf Club is tied for fourth, three out of the lead, with 2015 CGA Junior Amateur champ Isaac Petersilie of Colorado Springs Country Club and Taylor Kennedy of Columbine Country Club. Korte and Kennedy — along with Michael Tait of Raccoon Creek — had the lowest rounds on Friday with 69s.
Painton, a 2015 U.S. Amateur qualifier, will be spending plenty of time at Boulder Country Club in years to come as it’s one of CU’s home courses, but prior to Thursday’s first round, he had played exactly half a round at the club.
“It’s kind of hard to get some things going; the course isn’t exactly playing easy,” he said. “It has its opportunities, but it’s not yielding anything. It’s a good test.
“It’s my first time playing this course, and I’m told birdies are hard to come by. Even is a pretty good score. Anything under has a chance.”
All in all, the best score shot through two days at Boulder Country Club has been a 69.
“I would have expected someone today to shoot 67 or 66,” said Thayer (left). “I was surprised there wasn’t one. It seemed to be playing a little easier. The scores being high is kind of surprising.”
The field was cut to the low 43 players after 36 holes, with all players at 11-over 151 or better advancing to the weekend. One competitor who played much better on Friday to squeak under the cut line was Grant Olinger of The Ranch Country Club, who carded a 71 a day after posting an 80. Perhaps some of that had to do with his caddie, Jennifer Kupcho (left), who a day earlier won her second consecutive CWGA Stroke Play title. Kupcho, who competed in the U.S. Women’s Open last month, works at The Ranch during the summer.
The leaders will tee off for Saturday’s third round at 10:34 a.m. The tournament will conclude on Sunday.