Salsbury aiming to check elusive Tacoma City Am off his golf list

Tyler Salsbury has a checklist of area amateur golf tournaments he most wants to win at least once in his lifetime.

At the top of it — the Tacoma City Amateur championship.

The Enumclaw standout and recent University of Washington graduate got off to a sizzling start at the 86th Tacoma City Amateur on Friday, firing a 5-under-par 67 at Capitol City Golf Club to grab a two-stroke lead over Tacoma’s Michael Almonte (69).

Defending champion Casey Adams, of Lacey, shot an opening 71.

Salsbury rolled in seven birdies, including three two-putt birdies at par-5 holes to get off and running fast.

“It was nice,” Salsbury said. “I had not been doing well in first rounds of tournaments. I shot a 77 at the Seattle Amateur, and a 78 at the (Washington State Men’s Amateur). It is just good to see a low one got on the scoreboard.”

Salsbury, a two-time TGA Junior Amateur winner, said the hole that gave him some momentum was the eighth hole, a 371-yard, par 4.

He hit a wedge approach 12 feet past the hole, which was located just over a false front on the left side of the green.

“That was a tough pin. Dad (caddie David) and I were really talking about just getting it close, and I put a good stroke on it and rolled it in,” Salsbury said. “Those types of putts had not been dropping.”

After a three-putt bogey at No. 9, Salsbury rebounded immediately with a birdie at No. 10. He capped it all by hitting an 8-iron close at No. 16, and sinking a two-footer for a final birdie.

Coming off a tied-for-24th showing at the state amateur Thursday at Tacoma Country & Golf Club, the 22-year-old Salsbury said a tip from former Husky teammate Chris Babcock really got his ball-striking back on track.

“The TGA … has some good history,” said Salsbury, whose best Tacoma City Amateur finish is third place last year. “It is a good association. It would be sweet to stay in contention and say I have finally won this tournament.”

Almonte, a former Bellarmine Prep golfer, made five birdies on the front nine – then closed with two final ones at Nos. 17 and 18 to finish off a 69.