Andrew Lawson fired 69 to capture the first round lead in the Mid-Am division of the Harvey Penick Invitational Golf Tournament while Larry Nunez shot 71 to lead the Senior Divison. The Austin Country Club hosted players from 17 states and a field of players with impressive resumes who all enjoyed the Pete Dye design with greens running 10-11 on the stimp meter and southeast breezes that varied from 10-15 mph. The course proved to be a challenge for most of the field but there were scoring opportunities for those players who could control their golf ball and putt proficiently.
Lawson, pictured above, played college golf at South Alambama, quit golf after college and has played recently in social games with friends. He began playing competitive golf over the last coubple of years and commented that competitive golf and the mindset required is significantly different from playing a casual round. He is just now rounding into the competitive mindset.
Joe Sanders, pictured below on the left with Jerry Ledzinski, lives in Lake Tahoe, Nevada and began playing at one and half years of age. He played his first nine hole round at age three and said that his best golf was at age 7 when he won everthing he played in. After high school golf, he took care of an ailing father for several years until his father after a lingering illness. The experience was traumatic and his doctor recommended that he take some significant time off to recharge his batteries. During that time he began to play golf again and now at age 38 he has compiled an impressive golf resume including winning the Nevada State Amateur and Mid-Amateur titles, the Stocker Cup in Californin in 2008 and the Kelly Cup in Los Angeles. He recently finished second in the George C. Thomas Invitational behind Brad Shaw.
The Austin contingent is led by Kody King, who fired a 71 including an eagle on #15 when he laces a 250 three iron to ten feet and made the putt. King is the current leader in the Austin Amateur Golf point standings. Current Men's City Champion, Brian Noonan shot 75. King is pictured here on the right with Manny Bhakta during the evening dinner after the first round of play.
Larry Nunez led a field of distinguished seniors that includes Mike Rice, a former winner of the U.S. Senior Amateur championship, Mike Allen, the current Austin Men's Senior Champion, Dennis Smith and Jeff New who are always competitive in the Texas Golf Association Senior Events. Ken Redfern of Austin shot 73 and is in position to challenge over the weekend.
All the players enjoyed the pace of play and the well organized event. Rules officials were on hand to help the players and forecaddies were used at places where tee shots might slow down play. The four hour and fifteen minute pace was appreciated by all players.
Looking over all the action were Rod Harris and Chris Brauner, the tournament director and assistant tournament director. Both commented that things went well the first day and that with the approaching cold front the players would find a different test with the north wind and cooler temperatures that will greet the players on Saturday.
Round One results appear below. Click on the image to enlarge it. Pairings are available at the Harvey Penick Invitational website under "Latest News".