Three Share Lead After Day One at St. Louis Country Club
Ladue, MO – Three share the lead after the first 18 holes at the 31st Metropolitan Amateur Championship at St. Louis Country Club. Drew Pranger, Ryan Haxel and Miguel Maisterra all shot 4-under 67s on Thursday on the tough C.B. Macdonald track.
Pranger was in the clubhouse first as Haxel and Maisterra went off in the afternoon wave. Starting on No. 10, the Glen Echo member was out in 39, struggling on the back with three bogeys the first four holes. A birdie on the par 4 14th got him in the right direction until a bogey on No. 17 set him back at 4-over before the turn.
“I had a couple chances on the front, but just didn’t make them,” Pranger said. “I missed a couple short putts for par and wasn’t necessarily playing bad, you can just hit it in the wrong spot out here and it can be a bogey very quickly.”
The front nine, Pranger’s second nine of the day, was a different story. The two-time champion was home in 28, and every score on holes 2-9 were 3s. Pranger carded two eagles, three birdies and four pars, including going birdie-eagle-birdie on No.’s 4-6 and a birdie-eagle finish.
“Starting from 18 in, I hit some really good shots that turned into chances and they were just going in,” Pranger said. “It was kind of like a fruit basket out there coming home.”
Pranger will get his second round started at 1:03 p.m. off No. 1.
“We had our second child on Friday morning, didn’t sleep much last night and I’ll be going home to people who don’t know if I shot 67 or 77, change some diapers and be back out tomorrow,” Pranger said. “ It’s a privilege to be out here, didn’t play in it ten years ago when it was here, to be able to come out here for 3-4 days in a week is wonderful.”
Ryan Haxel turned in the second 67 of the day. Starting on No. 10, Haxel made the turn bogey-free 3-under, including back-to-back birdies on the tough 17th and 18th finishing holes.
Haxel, who plays out of The Quarry at Crystal Springs, kept the birdie train going on the front carding back-to-back birdies on No.’s 4 and 5 to get to 5-under and the solo lead. Two bogeys in the next three holes set him back to 3-under, but a birdie on the par 5 9th got him in a share of the lead.
“Played great, only missed two greens and putted really well,” Haxel said. “I had a few good breaks happen which you need, but I hit it great and I’m very happy with my start.”
Miguel Maisterra, in one of the last groups of the day off No. 1, turned in the third 67 of the day. The UMSL grad has worked in the pro shop at St. Louis Country Club since graduation this past May. Maisterra opened up at 6:30 a.m. this morning and shot 67 in the afternoon for a hard day’s work.
Maisterra was even through his first four holes and finished bogey-free 4-under the rest of the way. He was one of just four players in the field of 156 to card just one bogey the first 18 holes.
“I had no expectations today,” Maisterra said. “I just played it hole-by-hole and had a lot of fun. I think that was the key today, I had fun and enjoyed every shot. The putter was hot today too which was nice”
Three players sit in a tie for fourth just two shots back. Ryan Sullivan, Kyle Szxesniak and Ryan Schuenke all shot 2-under 69s Thursday.
17 players shot even or better on day one and are within four shots of the lead.
The par 3 2nd hole was the hardest hole on day one scoring-wise, averaging 3.62 strokes with 77 bogeys and 10 doubles.
The first-round scoring average was more than two strokes better than it was when the amateur championship was held at St. Louis Country Club ten years ago. Thursday’s scoring average was 76.99 strokes, compared to 79.05 in 2011.
The first day of MAGA’s amateur championship kicked off with ceremonial tee shots from Stan Gross and Mick Wellington, both founding members of the association.
Second round gets underway tomorrow morning with split tee times beginning at 7:15 a.m. Second wave goes off at 12:30 p.m.
For updates throughout the championship, follow MAGA on Twitter @MetAmateurGA.
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