Alameda Commuters: Briones leads Commuters after opening rounds

Alameda Commuters: Briones leads Commuters after opening rounds

Mike Maurice
Carlos Briones

Carlos Briones leads the race for the Bob Blomberg Champions Medal. Photo courtesy of the Alameda Commuters.

The 88th annual Alameda Commuters golf tournament teed off last weekend at the Chuck Corica Golf Complex with a field of 208 of the best amateur golfers from the west coast of California.

From the field of 208, the cut line for the low 50 and ties came in at 145, three over par. Medalist honors for the first 36 holes went to Carlos Briones of San Lorenzo, who fired rounds of 68-66 for an eight-under total of 134 at the halfway point in this 72-hole event. Briones, who's playing his third year at Santa Clara University, was a member of the Alameda Junior Golf Club and was a standout junior, winning the San Francisco and Oakland city championships as a junior golfer.

With the Bob Blomberg Champions Medal in sight, a solid group of young challengers are close behind Briones after firing par or better after 36 holes. Redwood City's Jeremy Sanchez is just one stroke behind Briones after setting the pace by firing a seven-under-par 64 to take Saturday’s first round lead. He's tied with Steven Chung of Sacramento, who shot 68 on Saturday and 67 on Sunday.

Jonathan De Los Reyes, the 2014 champion, fired a first round 75 and bounced back with a 69 for a combined 144. Alameda’s Matt Baiardi fired rounds of 66 and 75 for a combined 141 while David Na fired a pair of 72s to keep their title hopes alive for next weekend.

In Saturday’s action, the typical Bay Farm weather greeted the players in both waves: early morning fog and brisk late afternoon winds. This created a challenge to the players, all of whom were faced with treacherous pin placements on very firm and fast greens.

Some 26 players came through the qualifying rounds this year with scores of 142, or better, though the tricky winds played their part throughout the weekend in elevating the scores. Fifty-two players survived the 36-hole cut, and only 11 strokes separate the field set for this weekend's play.

The Commuters continues to draw one of the largest fields of amateurs of any tournament, and each year, the field gets younger: More than 80 percent of this year's players are 25 or younger. The youngest player in the field was 13-year-old Andrew Bagasba of San Ramon, who fired a 166.

Four top female amateurs also teed it up this weekend. Alameda’s Sam Equerra fired rounds of 82-80 for 162; alongside her were Mabel Wong of Oakdale, who shot a pair of 79s; Dublin's Kimberly Liu, who fired a pair of 85s for a combined 170; and San Francisco city champion Sarah Banke, who shot a combined 153.

Past Commuter championships saw the players playing the first 36 holes on two courses at the golf complex. But due to the reconstruction of the Jack Clark South Course, for 2015 the Alameda Commuters Golf Committee, which I lead, conducted play in a “wave format” over the Earl Fry North Course. Some 104 players played in the early wave on Saturday morning, followed by another 104 players who teed it up for the afternoon wave. Contestants who played early on Saturday played late on Sunday.

Getting everyone through the course was an arduous task for the 36-member Commuters Committee, who began calling players to the tee at 6:45 a.m. and had the last group coming off the course at 7 p.m.

“We followed the USGA format for the tee assignments this year,” committee member Paul Merrigan said. “The way the weather cooperated, it was fair to every player regardless of what time they started.”

Next weekend’s golf action will include the 28th Alameda Commuters Senior Golf Championship. Fifty-two of the Northern California Golf Association's best seniors 55 and over will tee it up to see who win the Jack Cummings Champions medal for 2015. The field includes this year's San Francisco city champion, Gary Vanier; 2014 Northern California Golf Association player of the year Jim Knoll; and past Commuters champions Jay Guerin, Jeff Burda and Mark Miller. Alameda players in the field include Alameda High School standout and Northern California Golf Association stalwarts Mark Merrigan and Dave Naumann.

The golf action continues this Saturday and Sunday at the Chuck Corica Golf Complex, 1 Clubhouse Memorial Road. Spectators are welcome, and admission to the tournament is free. For real-time updates as scores come in, log onto www.alamedacommuters.org.

Additional scores and tee times are attached at the bottom of this post.

TOP FINISHERS, OPENING WEEKEND

Carlos Briones, San Lorenzo 68-66--134
Jeremy Sanchez, Redwood City 64-71--135
Steven Chung, Sacramento 68-67--135
Finigan Tilly, Redwood City 65-71--136
Andrew Morgan, Long Beach 67-70--137
Christian Banke, Danville 66-72--138
Jonathan Keane, San Mateo 68-70--138
Miguel Delgado, Novato 68-70--138
Conner Blick, Danville 70-69--139
John Burke, Sacramento 70-69--139
Matt Anderson, Bay Point 68-71--139
Blake Abercrombie, Rocklin 68-72--140
Maclayne Marr, Moraga 70-70--140
Roman Aragon, Mission Viejo 69-71--140
Ryan Knop, Pleasanton 69-71--140
Amol Mahal, San Mateo 71-70--141
Austin Roberts, Carmichael 69-72--141
Matt Baiardi, Alameda 66-75--141
Michael Tolladay, Fresno 71-70--141
Perry Cohen, La Jolla 73-68--141
Rick Reinsberg, Lafayette 71-70--141
Aldwin Kendarwan, Rohnert Park 70-72--142
Brandon McNally, San Francisco 70-72--142
Pavan Sagoo, Moraga 72-70--142
Philip Simpson, Tracy 73-69--142
Trevor Clayton, Clovis 67-75--142

Top 10 scores, Saturday

Finigan Tilly, Redwood City - 65
Christian Banke, Danville - 66
Matt Baiardi, Alameda - 66
Andrew Morgan, Long Beach - 67
Pat Burda, Modesto - 67
Trevor Clayton, Clovis - 67
Blake Abercrombie, Rocklin - 68
Carlos Briones, San Lorenzo - 68
Hunter Rappleye, Elk Grove - 68
Jonathan Keane, San Mateo - 68
Matt Anderson, Bay Point - 68
Miguel Delgado, Novato - 68
Steven Chung, Sacramento - 68