Berren shares lead in AZ Publinks
He’s not exactly a weekend warrior, but even Scott Berren knows he’s never led a major championship of the Arizona Golf Association – until Friday. Berren, an Ahwatukee resident who has a “real job’’ working for Arizona State, was the big surprise after the opening round of the Arizona Publinks Championship at venerable Randolph North Golf Course. A former player at Pima Community College who graduated from the University of Arizona, Berren posted a 3-under-par 67 to share the lead with Kenji Hernandez, currently a junior on the UofA golf team. “I had a decent season last year – played on the Goldwater Cup and advanced through a couple of matches at the (Arizona) Amateur – but, no, I’ve never led an AGA event let alone a major,’’ said the good-natured Berren, 32. “Then again why not? “I really hope I can hold onto (the lead), and I truly believe I can win one of these things.’’ Berren, who plays “most of his golf after work at Club West,’’ certainly had the hot hand Friday with three consecutive birdies to kick-start his round followed by a tap-in birdie at the sixth hole that got him to 4 under. Three-putt bogeys at the eighth and ninth holes bumped him back before a “35-foot bender’’ at the last hole got Berren a share of the lead with Hernandez, who was a second-team Pac-10 selection his sophomore year for the Wildcats. Only nine players in the field of 99 managed to break par of 70, as Randolph North played tough due to some windy conditions. Austin Quick, a senior at Chaparral High School, shot 68 along with Patrick Geare, a Tucson lawyer who was the 2010 co-player of the year in the AGA’s Masters Division. Bryan Hoops, a Chandler resident who was the AGA’s 2005 player of the year, was in a group of five players at 69. The Arizona Publinks is the first of four major championships sponsored by the AGA. A new winner of this tournament is guaranteed as last year’s champ, David McDaniel of Tucson, has since turned pro. The field will be cut to the low 60 players and ties after Saturday’s second round with the final 18 holes set for Sunday.