DULUTH — Taking advantage of a rare dry day and a favorable afternoon tee time, former Northview High School golfer Gus Wagoner built a slim lead in the first day at the Championship at Berkeley Hills.
The current golfer at Armstrong Atlantic State University, the amateur had just one bogey, shooting 4-under par on at Berkeley Hills Country Club in the two-day event. A horde of four golfers one back at 3-under. Professional Sung Back from Duluth and Josh Nichols from Suwanee are two strokes back at 2-under par. Berkeley Hills professional Matt Lawson shot 5-over.
The Championship, a part of the Georgia PGA, fields a mix of professionals and amateurs ranging from seasoned professionals to high school golfers. Norcross golfer Zach Healy, the Daily Post player of the year, shot 1-over par and his teammates on the state championship team Patrick and Evan Haas ended the first round 2-over and 15-over. Duluth's Kim Taehyung shot even-par.
For the Haas brothers, this is a rare non-junior event, with both playing mostly because it's their home course.
“It was really fun,” said Evan Haas, despite his disappointing score. “We weren't getting upset on every shot.”
Patrick Haas, a hopeful walk-on at Louisville next year, was much more pleased with his score, but said he has something to prove in Tuesday's final round. Patrick Haas bogeyed four of his last five holes, including his final three. He entered the final three holes 1-under for the tournament. Patrick Haas, new to golf, has never finished a tournament round under par.
“I played good. I just got exhausted at the end,” Patrick Haas said. “I'll get my revenge on the course tomorrow.”
Patrick Haas' 2-over ties him with fellow Gwinnett amateur Matt Luckett, also of Norcross.
Patrick Haas played with professional DeWitt Weaver, a former PGA tour player, and said playing with experienced golfers is another advantage of an event of this type.
“It's fun picking their brains,” Patrick Haas said. “They just have so much knowledge.”
Another Gwinnett amateur, North Gwinnett golfer Bailey Ulp shot 4-over in the first day, struggling on the greens during his early morning round.
Unlike the Haas brothers, who have mostly practiced this summer, Ulp has played in tournaments most weekends. He's attempted to qualify for the Georgia Amateur and the Dogwood Invitational and will play next weekend in Alabama. But this is his first time playing in a mixed amateur, professional event.
“I've never had to wear pants before in my life,” Ulp said.