California collegian cruises
Scoring conditions were ideal – and one California college standout took advantage, threatening the competitive course record on the first day of the 19th Sahalee Players Championship.
Tain Lee, an NCAA Division III star at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, shot a 5-under-par 67 at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish to grab a one-stroke advantage over defending champion Chris Williams, from the University of Washington.
At one point, Lee was 8 under – and within striking distance of the course record of 63, shot by Robert Allenby at the 2002 NEC World Championships.
But Lee bogeyed the 16th hole – his first bogey of the day – and plopped his tee shot on the downhill par-3 17th into the water, leading to a double bogey.
Williams had an inauspicious start – a first-hole double bogey – but ran off seven birdies the rest of the way.
Andrew Yun of Tacoma and Beau Hossler, a teenager who made a charge at the U.S. Open last month, both opened with 70. They are tied for fifth.
Olympia’s Dominick Francks, who shot a 75, is tied for 29th. Enumclaw’s Tyler Salsbury, who got in as the first alternate, shot an 80.
TSENG TAKES AIM
If Yani Tseng, a 23-year-old native of Taiwan, wins the U.S. Women’s Open at Blackwolf Run this week, she’ll become the youngest player ever to complete a career Grand Slam.
She’d even one-up Tiger Woods, who didn’t win all four majors on the men’s side until he was 24.
But after winning three times on the LPGA Tour earlier this year, Tseng is struggling going into today’s first round at the challenging 6,944-yard, par-72 course in Kohler, Wis., on the Lake Michigan shore.
Tseng acknowledges that completing the career slam is on her mind.
“Yes, of course,” Tseng said. “It’s hard to not think about because everybody is talking about it. But like I say, I’m not worried about what’s my result this week because (I’m) just going to have fun.”
Karrie Webb is the youngest women’s player to complete a career Grand Slam, winning the LPGA Championship in 2001 at age 26.
Woods was 24 when he won the 2000 British Open to become the youngest player to complete the career Grand Slam.
TRACKING LOCAL GOLFERS ON the PGA TOUR
THIS WEEK: The Greenbrier Classic, today through Sunday, The Old White TPC, White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.
IN THE FIELD: Tacoma’s Troy Kelly.
WORLD RANKING: 464th.
2012 EARNINGS: $81,644 (199th on the PGA Tour).
LAST TOURNAMENT: Kelly, from Central Kitsap High School and the University of Washington, missed the cut at the Travelers Championship (1-over-par 141) on June 24 – his eighth missed cut of the season. This event starts a crucial stretch of the pre-FedEx Cup playoff season for him. Included is next week’s John Deere Classic (in which he is entered), the True South Classic (opposite the British Open), the RBC Canadian Open, and concluding with the Reno-Tahoe Open (opposite the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational). He has not played five consecutive weeks since he opened the season at the Sony Open in January.
TEe TimE TODAY: 5:40 a.m. (PDT) with Scott Brown and Steven Bowditch.