Putting woes sunk Greg Berthelot at last year’s Baton Rouge Open. This time his putter was red hot as he carded a 6-under par 66 in Saturday’s opening round at Beaver Creek Golf Course.
Berthelot, 27, took his only bogey of the day after hitting out of bounds at the short par-4 fifth hole. But he more than made up for the miscue after rolling in seven birdies..
“I only had 26 putts. I got the putter going today,” said Bertholot, who has finished in the top 15 in two tournaments on the Adams Pro Tour this year.
“The greens are great out here. I haven’t seen them like this in forever. The fairways are great and the rough is thick so you can get penalized. It’s good course conditions.”
Chasing Berthelot is Dante Caldera, who shot 70, and former Louisiana Tech golfer Andre Prejean who finished at even par. Four golfers were tied for fourth place after shooting 74.
Berthelot wasted no time on the course, making birdies on the first three holes. After dropping a stroke at the fifth, he birdied eight to make the turn at 3-under. On the back nine, he added birdies at 12, 13 and 15.
Caldera began his round on the back nine and was 3-under through 12 holes. At the par-3 third he misjudged the wind at hit long over the green. His chip barely reached the green and he three-putted for double bogey.
Caldera birdied the par-5 sixth, and made par on his final three holes to finish at 2-under.
“I hit the ball well, but I got out of position on a couple of holes, a couple of birdie holes like no.11 when I hit in the rough,” Caldera said. “I really didn’t make any mistakes except for (the tee shot) at No. 3.”
Like Berthelot, Caldera had praise for the course.
“You really need to hit the fairway, but the greens are great,” he said. “They’re rolling good, not terribly fast but you have to pay attention to things like down-grain putts.”
Prejean’s round featured three birdies and three bogeys as he had a chance to finish under par. He was 2-under after making birdie at No. 11 but he closed at even par after making bogey at 12 and 15.
Still, it was an enjoyable round for Prejean, who said it is hard to find time for competitive golf.
“I’m the father of two now, so I don’t get to play as much, but I enjoy these tournaments,” Prejean said.
Former LSU football player Rob Sale, an offensive lineman who graduated in 2002, didn’t challenge the leaders but was happy to have a free weekend while visiting in-laws.
“I’m a hacker, and I just like to play,” said Sale, who shot 89.
Sale is the offensive line coach at UL-Monroe, a position he took this season after holding the same spot last year under Mark Richt at Georgia.
“We just got our freshmen in this past Tuesday and we’ve got some guys that I think are going to be able to help us,” Sale said. “We’re just finishing July the way it needs to be done, and then hopefully we’ll have a good camp and try to win some ballgames.”
The tournament concludes Sunday, with golfers teeing off at 7 a.m.