Tim Feenstra picked up Friday just about where he left off at last year’s Rosauers Open Invitational.
The defending champion shot a 7-under 64 at Indian Canyon to share the first-round lead with Ben Nelson, assistant pro at Linden Golf and Country Club in Puyallup, Washington. Amateurs Derek Bayley, a Lakeland High graduate and sophomore at Washington State, and Eric Ansett, a sophomore at Lipscomb University who played for Ferris, are one stroke back.
Four amateurs, Western Washington University alum Sean Packer, University of Washington sophomore Greg Gildea, Northwestern junior (by way of Ephrata High) Andrew Whalen and Reid Hatley, who played at Ferris and the University of Arizona, opened with 66s in the 54-hole tournament.
Thirteen players carded 67s, including three-time champions Jeff Coston and Corey Prugh, an assistant pro at Manito, Puyallup’s Derek Barron, who shot a course-record 59 in Wednesday’s pro-am, and four amateurs.
Feenstra, assistant pro at Broadmoor in Seattle, rallied with a final-round 61 to win last year’s tournament at MeadowWood, which became the tournament site due to poor conditions at Indian Canyon.
“I’ve always liked this tournament and I’ve always liked this course,” Feenstra said. “Coming in as the defending champ is kind of weird when it’s not at the same course. I feel like I’m not the defending champ and I still have to prove myself because I haven’t won it here.
“So that’s the goal, just trying to give myself an opportunity going into the back nine on Sunday.”
The 32-year-old made five birdies in touring the front nine in 30. He had bogeys on Nos. 12 and 13 but rallied with birdies on Nos. 15 and 17 and saved par with a 10-footer on the 16th. He had a tap-in eagle after his approach on the par-5 18th nestled 1 foot from the hole.
“I hit into a gopher hole on 12. A guy saw it go in so it wasn’t a lost ball,” Feenstra said. “I pushed my next shot and had to pitch out sideways. I hit the green on 13 but it bounced to the back fringe and with a front pin you can’t be long.
“You’re going to make bogeys but I could have easily let those two turn into three or four. I had to reset the clock.”
Nelson, a 24-year-old who played at Olympic College and Western New Mexico University, chipped in for one birdie and made a mixture of short and mid-range birdie putts, along with a couple of two-putt birds on par 5s.
Ansett, starting on the back side, went birdie-par-eagle on Nos. 10, 11 and 12, and closed the nine with a birdie on the 18th. He was 6 under through his 11th hole. He made his lone bogey on No. 5 but rebounded with a birdie on No. 6.
“I just didn’t make anything coming in, but I played really solid,” said Ansett, who was 4 under on the three par 5s. “I feel like I could have been two or three shots lower but it’s a good start. I’m going to have to keep shooting like that to stay in it.”
Ansett isn’t surprised by the performance of the amateurs.
“There are a lot of good college players here,” he said.
Bayley, who played bogey-free, shot 30 on the front, his final nine, including birdies at 1 and 9 and an eagle on the par-5 second.
Bellevue GC pro Troy Rodvold had a double-eagle on No. 18.
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