Phillip Dunham of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and Henry Guan of Irving, Texas, each recorded a 4-under par 66 to share the first round lead of the 11-12 age division of the Press Thornton Future Masters on Sunday.
Just a stroke behind are Mateo Desmond of Pompano Beach, Fla., and Tyler Mawhinney of Fleming Island, Fla., at 67 each, followed by Daniel McBrien of Holly Springs, N.C. at 68.
Dunham, who finished fifth in the age division last year, has confidence he can score lower during second round play on Monday.
“Tomorrow I feel like I can double that — an 8-under or maybe even more,” Dunham said with confidence following the round. “I was hitting the driver great, but just kind of lost my energy on the back nine. I was just getting tired hitting too many swings and not playing my best.”
Bogeys on 14, 16 and 18 on the back nine had Dunham a bit frustrated after the round. He had birdies on 1, 4, 7, 8, 10, 13 and 17.
“My driver, I kind of sprayed it a little bit on the back,” Dunham said. “That’s when the mistakes started to come in. I had three bogeys in the last five holes. Like on 18, I had a 5-footer for par and missed it.”
Dunham, who has good size for a 12-year-old, believes his strength can be an advantage.
“I’ve just got to work on accuracy, but it’s a real big advantage if you can hit it straight,” Dunham said. “But if you spray it, the trees come into play and if you spray it over into the rough it can get a little frustrating.”
Guan started his round strong with birdies on holes 2, 5 and 6. On the back nine, he had birdies on 13, 14 and 18. The bogeys came on 7 and 17.
One of his best birdies came on No. 6, a 398-yard par 4.
“I hit a drive right down the middle,” Guan said. “I was thinking par on that hole because it’s a really long hole, but since it was downwind I had a pitching wedge in on the second shot.
“I tugged it a bit but it was on the green and made that putt for birdie.”
He hopes for a consistent round on Monday.
“I’m not going to say conservative, but not aggressive-aggressive, because I always want to have my approach shot below the hole so I’ll have a good looking birdie opportunity,” Guan said of his game plan.
Desmond, who started on the back nine, scrambled much of his round in recording the 3-under. He was 2-under through nine holes.
“I parred the 11th hole and had a nice birdie on the next hole when I made about a 20-footer,” Desmond said. “On hole No. 4, the par 5, I actually hit my drive and it had an unlucky bounce into the water. I dropped, hit my wood down the fairway, then hit my pitching wedge to within 20 feet and made the par.
“On No. 5, the par 3, I hit it about pin high at 15 feet and two putted for birdie, which I was pretty happy because that’s a tough pin. Then on No. 6, I had a long 2-putt from about 40 feet and made an 8-foot comebacker. On 7, I actually hit the pin and it bounced out, so that was an unlucky break.
“On 9 I hit my drive into the trees, then I hit a punch shot out and had 70 yards in and I hit to about 12 feet and made the par putt. I had some nice saves. I putted really well today. I think that was the key.”
See www.futuremastersgolf.com for Sunday’s complete first-round scores and for Monday’s tee times.