RENO, Nev. – If Chris DiMarco keeps playing like this, his 14-year-old son may have landed a permanent job as his caddie.
The three-time winner on the PGA Tour who hasn’t finished in the top-10 since 2008 shot a 5-under-par 67 with Cristian DiMarco on his bag for the first time at the Reno-Tahoe Open on Thursday, good enough to be a stroke behind first-round leader Matt Bettencourt.
Will MacKenzie, the 2006 Reno champ, and Craig Bowden were two shots off the pace with 68 at Montreux Golf & Country Club on the edge of the Sierra Nevada. A group of more than a dozen golfers at 69 included Steve Elkington, Woody Austin, Mark Hensby, J.J. Henry and former UNLV star Chad Campbell.
DiMarco’s son helped read the tricky mountain greens and even called him off of using his driver when the 2-iron proved to be the perfect choice on the 464-yard, tree-lined No. 8 that drops 138 feet from an elevated tee.
“It’s about the coolest thing I’ve ever done on a golf course having my son there sitting right next to me making birdies and playing well,” said DiMarco, 41, who has made 10 of 15 cuts this year but only has one top-25 finish and barely $200,000 in earnings.
DiMarco’s last PGA win was the 2002 Phoenix Open.
“Obviously, I think I can still win out here,” DiMarco said. “My confidence is slowly but surely coming back. I’m starting to get comfortable on the golf course again.”
Spokane’s Alex Prugh shot 77.