By JOHN McBRIDE
Fort Dodge, Iowa
Red numbers were in short supply after the first round of the 66th Fort Dodge Amateur at the sun-soaked Fort Dodge Country Club Friday.
Just two golfers in the morning round broke par and another pair broke par in the afternoon rounds. Only one senior division player broke par as well.
After 18 holes, Lakeside Am champion Ryan Kinseth from Fort Dodge leads the field with a three-under 68. He’s followed by a trio that shot two-under 69 – Levi Fink, Ryan Schrimper and Bret Taylor. Fink and Schrimper played in the morning. Kinseth and Taylor went off in the afternoon.
Defending champion Colin Pearson is among a group just three strokes off the pace at even par 71. Also shooting 71 were George Qien and Algona’s Bill Manske. Former Lakeside manager Kevin Ault was at 72 along with Dylan Newweg, Scot Glasford and Connor Peck.
Pat Ryan of Marshalltown led the senior division with a one-under 71. One shot back are Joe Palmer, Tom Kesterson and Scott Morgensen. Defending champ Joel Yunek is three back along with Jim Currell. Kinseth, starting on No. 10, put up a birdie on No. 14, but then took a bogey on No. 1 and 2 after making the turn. He came back strong with and eagle on the par-4 sixth hole and added birdies on Nos. 7 and 9 to finish his round.
“My ball striking was good and I made some putts, but I’d always like to make more,” said Kinseth, who also won the Hampton Open the day before winning at Lakeside. “My swing is feeling really good right now. The course was set up really well. There were some pins you could really go at and some you couldn’t.”
Taylor, a former golf pro from Council Bluffs who regained his amateur status, went off in the second afternoon group. He carded a birdie on No. 14 and Nos. 6 and 7, but made bogey on eight for his two-under.
Schrimper, from Marion, had an interesting card. He made birdies in No. 6, 7 and 9 on the front and No. 15 on the back. He was took a bogey on No. 5 and No. 14.
Fink, who hails from Wadena, also had a chance for a low number. He recorded birdie on six holes, including a string on seven, eight and nine. But he took bogey on No. 1 and No. 4 and a double bogey on No. 14.
Pearson, a 2012 graduate of Fort Dodge Senior High and soon-to-be University of San Diego team member, tied the overall tourney record a year ago with a 14-under par total of 199. He was two-over after making bogey on 15 and 16. He put together three straight birdies to start his second nine and get two one under, but a bogey on No. 7 left him at even par.
“I just wanted to post a good number and stay in contention. That was my goal,” said Pearson. “I had a bogey streak, but finished strong. It’s nice to have (last year’s title) on my resume, but I have to come out and do it all over again.”
Last year, Pearson fired a nine-under 62 on the second day of the tournament to take control.
Ryan had an interesting round as well to his one-under in the senior division. He had six birdies, including five on the back nine alone. But he put up a bogey on No. 4 and 17 and took a double bogey on No. 9.
Yunek, who has won the last two seniors’ titles here and four titles overall, made just one birdie in his round – on No. 16. He had three bogeys.
Kinseth will go off No. 1 at 8:44 this morning. Schrimper and Fink go off in the afternoon and Taylor tees off in the morning.
Ryan takes the senior lead to the No. 1 tee at 9:20. Palmer, from West Des Moines, is the only one among the top four in the senior division that tees off in the afternoon. He goes off No. 1 at 1:24.
The top 32 and ties will make the cut for Sunday’s rounds. The top 16 in the senior division move on to Sunday.