Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Men's amateur championship: Co-leaders keep it simple, consistent

East and Boyechko up by 3 after Round 1

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ST. CHARLES' Derek East and Southwood's Charlie Boyechko share the lead after the first round of the Nott Autocorp Men's Amateur Championship.

Both golfers shot four-under 68 at the Neepawa Golf and Country Club to take a three-stroke lead over a group of players sitting at one-under.

East had three birdies and a bogey in both the front and back nine. In the back, he went on a birdie streak, going one-under on the 14th through 16th holes.

"I was pretty consistent. I feel like I didn't do anything really stressful. I kept the ball in play, I hit a lot of greens and made the putts," East said. "It was really just consistency throughout the whole round. I didn't have a stressful round by any means."

The 23-year-old, who recently graduated from Eastern Michigan University, still needs to adjust to the greens to keep his edge on the competition.

"The greens were a little softer than what I'm used to, so I just had to make sure that I was hitting the right shot onto the green so the ball doesn't spin back off of the green, because there's a couple of hills that will send your ball rolling the wrong way if you're not careful. Just being conscious of where the pins were was pretty crucial," East said.

Even though he's tied for the lead, East is wary of his competition, specifically in his pairing. East is with the 2012 and 2011 champions Josh Wytinck and Jesse Skelton, respectively. The three of them were in a pairing together on the last day of the 2011 championship.

"It's just Round 1, so there's still lots of golf to play. Everyone here is capable of shooting a low score, so I just need to be aware of what I'm doing and be aware of what everyone else is doing as well," East said.

Boyechko sandwiched six birdies in between bogeys on the par-four first hole and the par-three 18th. While his score was good enough to become a co-leader, Boyechko feels there's some room for improvement heading into Round 2.

"I hit the ball very well, but putted horribly. I've been playing really well lately and was at The Players Cup, which was fun and a good experience," Boyechko said. "But I left a lot out there today. It was a good start nonetheless and I'm pretty happy about the start here."

Like East, Boyechko kept his round simple. The simplicity helped the 20-year-old University of Manitoba Bisons player enjoy his round even more.

"It was a very tidy round. A lot of it was just hitting the fairway, hitting the green and then getting either a putt or two-putt. I had a lot of looks for birdie and it made for a very stress-free round."

Wytinck, Skelton, Spencer Harris, Garth Collings and Aaron Cockerill are tied for third place behind the leaders. All of them shot a one-under round of 71.

kyle.jahns@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 23, 2013 D4

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