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Matthews Sets Early Pace

What do you do when there’s a 30-minute fog delay in the first round of the 29th Pacific Northwest Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship? You wait it out, roll a few extra putts on the practice green, and then, if you are Tyler Matthews, you go out early and post a number and then see if anyone can catch you.

Matthews, of Bellevue, Wash., was paired in the first grouping of the day, and immediately started taking no prisoners. He made the turn at 3-under 33, after birdies at No. 3, 5 and 8. After 17 holes he was 5-under and there hadn’t been a single five on his scorecard yet. However, he did bogey No. 18, the tough par-4, his lone bogey of the day, to be first in the clubhouse with a two stroke lead after the first round after firing a 4-under par 68.

The Home Course in DuPont, Wash. was in ideal condition, and the weather – after the fog burned off – was also ideal, with blue skies and mild temperatures, and, best of all, very little wind.

Darren Kuhn, who came all the way from Pocatello, Idaho, sits two strokes behind Matthews. Kuhn started his round slower than Matthews, making the turn at 1-over 37, but then warmed up with the weather on the back nine, with birdies on 10, 13 (yes, the long par-4) and 16, with nary a five on the card on the back nine. He finished with a 2-under par 70.

Defending champion Tom Brandes of Bellevue, Wash. is four strokes back after an even par 72. He is one of eight players tied for seventh.

Stay tuned for rounds two and three, both of which will be played in increasingly warm temperatures.