UPDATE: Castleforte shares lead at USGA Mid-Amateur
Andrew Price hits a putt during the USGA Mid-Amateur on Saturday. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 8, 2012 8:18PM
LAKE FOREST — Michael Castleforte had to get up and down for par from 130 yards on his first hole of the United States Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship on Saturday.
After that, everything else was easy.
Castleforte seized the early lead on day one of the five-day, 264-player tournament with a 69 at Conway Farms Golf Club, then watched as one player after another failed to best his number. The Chicago native started on the 10th hole, finishing around noon with birdie putts on holes 8 and 9.
“One I got (No. 10) behind me, it was good,” Castleforte said. “I birdied my second hole (No. 11) and then played pretty solid all the way through.
“I finished strong, which is nice. In mid-am golf, too often, it goes the other way.”
His 2-under score — matched by San Diego’s John Rudolph (Conway Farms), Peoria’s John Ehrgott (Knollwood Club), and New York’s Matthew Mattare (Knollwood) — held up as players struggled to close out rounds on a blustery afternoon.
Of the seven players who broke par, five played the 7,078-yard, par-71 Conway Farms layout. The other rounds were played at Knollwood Club, which measures 7,148 yards and also plays to a par of 71.
Just five strokes separate the top 68 golfers in the field.
“It was as hard of conditions as I’ve played in,” said Glenview’s Kyle Nathan after carding a 9-over 80 at Knollwood. “Just because (the wind) was blowing so hard.”
Castleforte — who plays out of Butler National in Oak Brook — wore a wrap on his right wrist to provide stability for an injury he sustained while hitting range balls off a synthetic practice mat in Michigan. He said he hasn’t seen a doctor for the injury because he doesn’t want to take time off, but it has limited the number off golf balls he hits in practice.
“It bugs me a little bit,” Castleforte said. “In terms of problems, it’s not that big of a deal.”
Castleforte will start his second round on the opening hole at Knollwood Club at 12:15 p.m. on Sunday. The field will be cut down to 64 after the weekend for the match-play portion of the tournament, which concludes with a 36-hole championship match at Conway Farms on Thursday.
After one round, four area golfers are sitting well outside of that 64-player cut line.
Hinsdale’s Scott Rowe, 37, opened with a 77 at Conway Farms. He made a pair of birdies on the front nine, but gave them away when he bogeyed three of four holes to close the nine.
Rowe also bogeyed his last two holes of the day. He’ll be in a tie for 113th place when he starts his second round at 7:10 a.m. on the 10th hole at Knollwood on Sunday.
“I don’t feel like I played that badly. I hit good putts; I didn’t make anything,” Rowe said. “I’m 6-over now. If I go out (Sunday) and shoot 6-under to get to even par, that’d be fine.”
Lake Forest resident — and Conway Farms member — Andrew Price shot 78 at Knollwood with a pair of double bogeys. Price said he struck the ball well off the tee, but struggled with his irons and on the green as he fell to a tie for 141st place.
On the 13th, he ran a three-foot par putt eight feet past the hole and made double bogey.
“I don’t know why or how to be honest with you, because I’ve been hitting (the ball) really good,” Price said of his struggles. “I never play rounds without making birdies.”
Price will be on familiar ground on Sunday when he tees off on Conway Farms’ No. 10 at 11:45 a.m.
“I’m hoping to get off to a good start tomorrow,” Price said. “Just kind of calm myself down and get into the flow a little bit better.”
Nathan is in a tie for 192nd place. He birdied his first hole of the day — a 440-yard par 4 — but bogeyed five consecutive holes on the front nine and doubled No. 10 when he caught an awkward lie in a bunker.
Winnetka’s Scott Hasley is in 249th place after his 13-over 84 at Knollwood.