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Beyhan is ready from the get-go

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A year ago, Patrick Beyhan wasn’t exactly prepared for the Albuquerque Men’s City Amateur Golf Championship.4

The day it started at Los Altos Golf Course, Beyhan was there – but only because that’s where he works.

“That was something the way it worked out,” Beyhan said. “I’m just really grateful that Coby let me play.”

Coby Reddoch is the tournament director and head pro at Los Altos. When a player withdrew that morning, Reddoch went to the cart barn, where Beyhan works, and asked him if he wanted to play.

He did, and man, did he play.

He shot 16-under to win by six shots. He opens defense of the title today at Los Altos in the first round of the 69th annual event.

The 54-hole tournament continues on Saturday at Arroyo del Oso and moves back to Los Altos for Sunday’s final round. There will be a cut to the low half of the field after 36 holes.

There are a combined 60 players in the championship flight (handicaps 1.9 or less) and president’s flight (2.0 to 6.0). The competitors in both of those flights are eligible for the overall title.

“There will be a little more pressure this time,” said Beyhan, who still has a summer job at Los Altos, “but I still have to handle it like I did last year. I’ll just go out and have fun. I have a lot of good friends in the tournament, and I’m hoping we all play well.”

Beyhan had a brilliant prep career at La Cueva High School, winning the state Class 5A individual title as a senior year in 2010.

But he didn’t get any D-I scholarship offers and went to Western New Mexico. After two outstanding seasons with the Mustangs – he was named Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference freshman of the year in 2011 and was runner-up conference player of the year in 2012 – Beyhan transferred to New Mexico State. As a transfer, he had to redshirt and sit out this past school year. He will be a junior for the Aggies in the fall.

He’s champing at the bit.

“It was tough to just watch my teammates get to play,” Beyhan said. “But overall I got better, so it was good.

“I think our team is going to be really strong this year. I think we can make it to nationals and win a few tournaments.”

As for individual goals, Beyhan says “I’d love to become an All-American, and I’d really like to win a college tournament. I’ve never won one.”

Beyhan, a sociology major, is on pace to graduate in December 2014. He plans to attend graduate school at NMSU while he finishes his eligibility on the golf team.

This week, Beyhan is focused on besting a field that includes standouts Sam Saunders, Sean Carlon, Justin Knauber, Ethan Fine, James Lee, Jason Myers, Isaac Alderete and three-time champion Tim With.

Saunders was a teammate of Beyhan’s at La Cueva and a former University of New Mexico golfer. He came in second at this tournament in 2011, but missed it last year while playing in a national event. He came in second last week in the New Mexico-West Texas Amateur by two shots to El Paso’s Jere Pelletier.

“I’ve finished second a lot of times,” he says. “Honestly, I’m ready to finally win one. This is probably my favorite tournament to play in.”

Saunders’ older brother, Steve, is a former city champion.

Sam, a 2010 La Cueva graduate, quit playing at UNM last year after getting “burned out” from playing 12 months a year. He is still at UNM and is majoring in finance and works for his dad at Golf Mart.

“I just didn’t really want to play anymore, I didn’t want to practice every day year-round,” he says . “But I had signed up to a bunch of tournaments and felt I should keep playing since I committed. Then I started playing great, and it reminded me of why I like to play so much. I’m really excited to play.”

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