SANDY — Andres Gonzales liked what he saw Thursday in the opening round of the Web.com Utah Championship at Willow Creek. He said the course set up a lot like his course back home, the Tacoma Country and Golf Club in Lakewood, Wash.
“It’s very similar. You kind of have to position yourself off the tee, whether it be with irons or with hybrids. I did that pretty well today and made some putts,” Gonzales said after shooting a tournament-leading 9-under 62. “You don’t ever feel it. I felt good on the range and I’ve felt good over the putter for the last couple of weeks. I knew I was due to put up something kind of low, and that happened today.”
Gonzales, who nearly had a hole-in-one on the par-3 No. 15, capped things off with a 12-putt for a birdie on No. 18.
“I’m playing good golf,” said Gonzales, one of 13 golfers to have a bogey-free round.
Utah native Tony Finau is also playing well. The West High School graduate is tied for second after one round of play. Finau, Paul Peterson, Steve Wheatcroft and Skip Kendall are three shots back of the lead at 6-under 65.
“I hit some good drives. That was the biggest thing. My second shots were, for the most part, in the fairway,” said Finau, who was pleased he only had one bogey. “If they weren’t, I had some decent lies in the rough, with 5- or 6-irons into the greens.”
Finau added that the weather and course conditions were perfect, noting that there wasn’t much wind and the greens were making speed.
“I hit it really well today and I was happy about that,” he said.
As expected, Finau had the support of a lot of family and friends. He acknowledged that it was fun to see a lot of familiar faces.
“It’s good that they have the chance to come watch me. It’s something that I like,” Finau said. “I wouldn’t be the person I am today, the player that I am today, without the support that I’ve had. I’ll look forward to them coming out and watching because they don’t get that opportunity all the time.”
TOURNAMENT NOTES: Play resumes Friday morning at 7. Finau tees off at 1 p.m. Defending champion Steven Alker is eight shots off the lead. 2011 winner J.J. Killeen opened with a 2-under 69. The tournament is being broadcast live on the Golf Channel.