It was wild start to the 2018 Cache Valley Amateur Friday.
On first day of the two-day tournament, there was a hole-in-one, 10 players carding under-par rounds, five more scorecards at even-par 71 and six had 1-over-par scores. All of those fireworks took place at the Logan River Golf Course. Action moves north to Birch Creek Golf Course on Saturday.
“These courses are very different,” Devin Daniels said. “I would say total opposites. It’s fun to get different courses in with two different styles.”
Of the 10 under-par scores Friday, five came from groups teeing off in the morning and the other half in the afternoon. Tyler Herzog led the way with a 6-under-par 65. The Ogden golfer has been on a tear this summer in Cache Valley, have tied for first at the Birch Creek Amateur and tied for fourth at the Northern Utah Amateur at the Logan Golf & Country Club earlier this month.
“Tyler is the best player in Utah that doesn’t play a lot of tournament golf,” said David Jennings, who knows and played with Herzog in high school. “He’s not long off the tee, but hits it perfectly straight. It didn’t surprise me to see him get that score.”
Herzog began his day with a birdie on the par-5 first hole. His only bogey came on No. 3, but he was at 2-under by the time he made the turn. An eagle on the par-4 10th helped him begin his second nine with some momentum. Two more birdies had him in front by a shot.
BYU golfer Austin Banz, who teed it up in the morning, was one stroke behind at 66. The Salt Lake City native, who had seven birdies and two bogeys, had only played at the River one other time and this is his first time playing the CV Amateur.
“I’m just trying to play in as many tournaments as I can,” Banz said. “... My dad is kind of familiar with the course and he came up and caddied for me. We just used the range finder and shot at different targets. We didn’t try and cut any corners, just hit it to where we could see it. We played it safe and tried to make birdies the old-fashioned way.”
Banz credited his father, Russell Banz, who will be helping him Saturday as well at Birch Creek, where he has only played one other time in 10 years. Banz did tie for eighth at the Birch Creek Amateur earlier this summer.
“I will just be trying to play smart tomorrow,” Banz said. “I don’t do hero shots a lot. I like Birch Creek.”
A familiar face from the past was playing the Cache Valley Amateur after missing it for 10 years. Daniels, who turned pro for a while and regained his amateur status a year ago, is in third with a 67.
In 2008, Daniels finished second. On Friday, he was trying to have a solid round so he could have a chance on his home course Saturday. The opening round started off bogey, bogey with a ball finding the drink.
“I’m happy with a 67,” Daniels said. “... I stayed patient and luckily towards the end I got the putter rolling. I didn’t hit the ball well, but fortunately hit it in the right places. ... Tomorrow is a whole new day. Just forget about today and go play tomorrow, have fun and stay relaxed. That’s all you can do.”
There are a trio of golfers tied for fourth at 68. Utah State’s Andy Hess, Sky View junior Ryan Seamons and Jennings from Layton.
“It was a good round of golf, fairly consistent,” Hess said. “I was making good swings and hitting the ball where I wanted to. I just wasn’t making any putts, then I made a nice birdie on 14. ... I played the next hole really well. I finished my round with a nice birdie on 18 to finish my round 3-under on the last five holes. I didn’t have a bogey today. I just wish I would have made a few more putts.”
Hess was sparked by a playing partner and teammate with the Aggies. Chase Lansford aced the par-3 14th hole from 165 yards out. He shot landed about four feet from the pin and spun back into the cup.
“That honestly propelled my round,” Hess said. “He made that, then I made two birdies in a row. It was cool to see that. He has made three hole-in-ones, and I’ve witnessed all three of them. It was a great shot and always cool to see one of those.”
Seamons hit some shots close to the pin and called his day “up and down.” The teenager, who finished second at the 4A State Tournament last fall, started his day off with a birdie, but later had a triple bogey.
“I was just tying to put it on the green and keep it in the fairways,” Seamons said. “After that triple, I just knew I couldn’t blow up and leave myself out of it. I tried to keep a good mental game. It worked as I birdied the next hole.”
Birch Creek is the home course for Seamons, so he is glad to have played Logan River first.
“Hopefully, I can play good tomorrow and keep things going well,” Seamons said. “I need to play like I did today, keep it in the fairway and on the green.”
Jennings has traveled north and had success in Cache Valley before. He hopes to continue that this weekend.
“I usually do pretty well up here,” Jennings said. “I try to make it up here.”
His day did not start especially well Friday as he took a bogey after hitting it in two on the first hole, but four-putted. However, the 33-year-old was able to recover and get back in the hunt. He did three-putt on his final hole.
“I just didn’t start well or finish well, but everything in the middle was good,” Jennings said. “... It’s target golf here. Birch Creek suits my game better and I usually play well there. Hopefully, I can make a move tomorrow and sneak by some guys.”
Former Aggie Brendan Coburn is seventh at 2-under-par 69. Former Weber High and soon-to-be Georgia Tech golfer Tanner Howe is tied with Logan High golfer Seth Tremayne at 70.
“I putted really well today after switching to a new putter last week,” said Howe, who took the early lead. “I started with a quick triple and double bogey, so that hurt me, but I battled back. I’m happy with how I played.”
Tanner Alder, Morgan Evans and Jack Sargent shot even-par 71s to tie for 10th.
“This is a course where accuracy is the most important thing off the tee,” Hess said. “If you are not hitting it well off the tee, you are going to struggle. ... I only missed one fairway today, which is awesome. I only missed one green. It was a good round of golf and I will just try and keep the same mindset for tomorrow.”
Hess, who tied with Herzog last month to win the Birch Creek Amateur, is looking forward to being more aggressive at the Smithfield course.
“I love Birch Creek,” Hess said. “It fits my game really well. I gave myself a chance. I’m happy with how I finished to give myself a chance tomorrow. It’s going to take a good round of golf to win, but anything can happen. Tyler (Herzog) is a great player.”
The 10th and final red score from the first day came from the A Flight. Jared Woodard carded a 2-under-par 69. Devin Slorah leads the B Flight with a 72, while Layne Wilde is tops in the C Flight with a 75.