Gray Barnes of Carmel, a senior at the University of Tampa, shot a 5-under-par 66 Tuesday in the first round to take a two-stroke lead in the New York State Golf Association's Men's Amateur Championship on the difficult Black Course at Bethpage State Park on Long Island.
Barnes, who plays out of the Centennial Golf Club in Carmel, got off to a blistering start at the course which has hosted the U.S. Open and is a difficult test. He had five birdies and one bogey for a 4-under 32 on his front nine. He came in at 1-under 34, with a pair of birdies and a bogey. In his round, he had birds on two of the three par-5 holes.
James Scorse of Churchville, who plays out of the Stafford CC and is the oldest of the four former state .champions in the field, was closest to Barnes at 3-under 68. Scorse won the 2016 New York Mid-Amateur at Stafford last year.
Hamburg resident Sean Lindstrom (Wanakah) had the best score among the 22 entrants from Western New York. Lindstrom, who won the Buffalo area qualifier last month at Springville where he is a former member, was tied for 10th with 1-over 72, a respectable score at Bethpage except for Barnes' torrid round. Lindstrom had a rough stretch with three bogeys in a row on his first nine (Nos. 14, 15 and 16) then settled down with a birdie on No. 17. He played even par golf coming in.
East Aurora Junior Masters champion Daniel Gianniny of the Country Club of Rochester was tied for 26th at 74, the same score at another Rochester star, Gavin Hall (Oak Hill). Buffalo District champion Kevin Borowicz of River Oaks was tied for 40th at 75.
The entire field will play another 18-hole round today before the cut to the low 40 plus ties for the final two rounds, Thursday and Friday.