Montgomerys, Barneses engage in duels in first round of Rocky Mountain Open
One son beat his dad, the other son lost to his dad.
The son who lost was pretty irritated about it.
“I’ve beat him two times in a row, but not today,” Taylor Montgomery said with a smile. “I’m not too happy about it, either.”
Montgomery shot a 69, and his dad, Monte Montgomery, carded a 66 to open the 76th Rocky Mountain Open golf tournament at Bookcliff Country Club on Friday. The scores put the two in solid contention to make a run at the RMO title.
Monte Montgomery, the defending champion and a three-time winner of the RMO, said it was a good opening round.
“No bogeys, it was pretty routine, hit a lot of greens and fairways, missed a lot of putts,” said Monte Montgomery, who grew up in Grand Junction and now is a golf pro based in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Chase Barnes of Houston, Texas, said he came to Grand Junction to get out of the heat and maybe win the tournament. He got off to a good start, shooting an opening-round 67.
“I was just looking for a place to play a tournament and get out of Texas and the heat,” he said.
Barnes, 29, played with his dad, John Barnes, a 56-year-old amateur, and it was the first time they’d ever teed it up at Bookcliff.
“I just hit it where I could see it. I didn’t take too many chances,” Chase Barnes said.
It’s always special to play with his dad, he said.
“I don’t get too many chances to play with him, so when we get the chance to play together it’s really nice,” he said.
Monte Montgomery, who won a golf state title for Grand Junction High School in 1987, said the same thing about playing with his son.
“I always love it. I root for him more than me,” he said. “As soon as he starts being more consistent off the tee, he’s going to be hard to beat.”
Taylor Montgomery, who plays for the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, said he always wants to beat his dad.
“If I play good, I’ll beat him. He looks like a slack out there, but he gets it around pretty good. I don’t know how,” he said with a chuckle.
Unseasonably cooler temperatures provided the 170 golfers a pleasant day on the course.
Ben Sauls shot a sizzling 64 to share the first-day lead with Dusty Fielding. Sauls, another Texan who was thrilled to escape the heat of the Lone Star State, said the heat index was 127 degrees at his previous tournament.
He said he was conservative in shooting his 7 under par round, which included one bogey and eight birdies.
“Sixty-four is a pretty good round for most people,” he said with a grin. “I’m happy, didn’t make many mistakes or have a lot of terrible shots. I tried not to do anything stupid. I just tried to play smart.”
The professionals will now move to Tiara Rado for the final two rounds.
Sauls and Chase Barnes said playing the pro-am Thursday at Tiara Rado will help their chances. Barnes, who plans to go to PGA qualifying school in September, said the course suits his game.
“I’m not really a bomber on the course, but I’m real good with my wedges, and I consider myself a pretty good putter, so that kind of course is good for me,” he said. “I found out when I played it there are spots you can’t miss it. If I put up 5 or 6 under tomorrow, I will be happy.”
Sauls, 53, said the key to playing well at Tiara Rado is to keep the ball in the fairway.
“With the rough the way it is, just keep it in the fairway, and I’ll be OK,” he said.
A total of 40 professionals and six amateurs shot under par. Most of the amateurs played the first round at Tiara Rado.
Kyle Daniell and Stephen Schneiter shot 65 on Friday, and Derek Fribds, Keenan Holt, Nathan Lashley, Keith Humerickhouse and Nick Travers joined Monte Montgomery at 66.