Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal
A field of 156 players finished the first round Tuesday of the Paradise Hills New Mexico Open, the state’s major golf championship.
Of those, 41 shot par or better – and three share the lead – setting up the second round Wednesday at Paradise Hills Golf Course. (See the leaderboard here.)
At a distinctly New Mexican venue, however, it’s three out-of-state players who shared the lead after firing 5-under first-round 65s.
Of those, Edward Olson of Aptos, California, eagled the par-5 17th hole and finished the back nine with a sizzling 31 – and that’s after giving up a stroke with a bogey at No. 18.
His co-leaders are Brandon Bauman of Las Vegas, Nevada, who went 4-under 30 on the front nine, and Andrew Presley of Fort Worth.
But the co-leaders have no separation. Six more golfers are tied at 4-under 66, including Juan Benetiz, who sank seven birdies. And there are 10 golfers at 3-under – including Wil Collins of Albuquerque, tops among the local notables.
Among other past champions in the field, defending champion Sam Saunders went 2-under on Tuesday. He is coming off recent wins at the Colorado Open and Utah Open.
Saunders shares a spot on the board at 2-under with Rio Rancho’s Tim Madigan and former Lobo star recently turned pro, Sean Carlon.
Other local golfers of note include Albuquerque’s David Muttitt at 1-under 69 and D.J. Brigman at 3-over 74.
Past winners of the event include Lee Trevino, Paul Stankowski and Charlie Beljan.
The field is competing for a purse of $85,000 that includes a first-place check of $14,000.
Play resumes today with tee times from 7:30 a.m. to 2:10 p.m. at holes No. 1 and No. 10.
Begay tees off in that late slot with playing partners Pablo Rincon Gallardo and Timothy Paiz. Brigman and Saunders are in a threesome teeing off at 8:40 a.m. on No. 10.
The final round is Thursday.
Body starts here.