Kurt Watkins Leads After First Round of the AGA Championship
Watkins’ -7 (65) leads 144-player field by a shot Aguila Golf Course
by Alex Gelman
USGA PJ Boatwright Jr. Communications Intern
The weather and conditions were superb as 144 players this morning and afternoon teed it up at Aguila Golf Course for the start of the AGA Championship – the association’s first major championship of the season. Kurt Watkins fired a 7-under (65) to lead the field through 18 holes. Watkins was 9-under through 16 holes with five birdies and two eagles, until making his first blemish on 17, a double bogey.
Just one shot back of the lead, tied for second, is 2021 AGA Player of the Year Sean O’Donnell, 6-under. O’Donnell birdied three of the last five holes to finish his round. 2018 and 2019 AGA Player of the Year, Adam Walicki, also shot 6-under in the opening round.
Shankar Natarajan, winner of the AZ Short Course at Augusta Ranch last month, is currently alone in fifth place, 3-under (69).
“The energy was really high – the players have been looking forward to the first major championship for a few months now,” said Logan Rasmussen, AGA Director of Rules and Competition. “The golf course is in incredible shape and there are a lot of different options for course set up (tees, hole locations) which keeps it fresh and interesting.
“This is the first time the event has been played over four days. Having that variety of hole locations and an ability to challenge the players is what makes this event so great.”
The field will be cut to the top 60 players and ties after Friday’s second round. Those left will battle it out over the weekend for the coveted Kachina trophy.