SLEEPING with the lead is kind of like sleeping with the enemy, you can wake up in serious trouble if you’re not up to the task.
Rossmere Country Club’s Ryan Pitzel says he’ll nod off with ease and not worry about his pole position at the Manitoba Amateur Golf Championship.
The 19-year-old Pitzel zipped around Breezy Bend in 68 shots to take a two-shot lead after the opening round of the 72-hole event.
Southwood’s Burke Wiebe and Peter More of Breezy Bend are tied for second at two-under.
Riley Unger and Scott Markham are one under while defending champ Garth Collings is an even par 72 with Taylor Reilly and Derrik Goodwin.
“There’s a lot of good players and a lot of golf still to play,” said Pitzel, a second-year student at the University of Manitoba. “I was putting very well. I hit lots of good approaches with my irons and made putts and chips when I needed to.”
Pitzel made four birdies and 14 pars and found particular success on the front nine, going three under on the front side.
“I got off to a quick start and then the wind picked up on the back nine making things a little tougher,” said Pitzel.
Three finishes in the top three at the Manitoba junior has Pitzel prepared for what’s next.
“I’ve played in lots of big tournaments so I know what to expect,” said Pitzel. “You just have to worry about your game and control what you can control. It should be a fun week.”
Collings, who has won this event three times including last year, made bogey on 18 to puncuate a frustrating round.
“I’m fairly disappointed,” said Collings. “I left a lot out there. I hit as well as I have in a while but I just didn’t make any putts. You can’t do that and expect to score.”
Collings says the field is strong and doesn’t allow for many off days.
“There’s still 54 holes to go and we’ll go home and come back and try again but there are so many good players, you have to score to stay in this event. It’s out there and someone is going to go low sooner or later.”
Action continues today at Breezy Bend and the field will be cut to the top 60 and ties for the final two rounds.