He went four under par in the last eight holes of the first round, an impressive feat, no doubt, but for this high school senior, this was not just another round, or even just another tournament round.
Photo by Eduardo Contreras / Sign On San Diego
For AJGA member Anthony Paolucci, who went from two over par to two under in those final holes, it meant coming closer to the ever-elusive cut line in his first PGA TOUR event, the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
The four-stroke swing took the Rolex Junior Player of the Year from T97 to T35, only six shots back of the lead, and at the Farmer’s Insurance Open where the tournament utilizes two courses, odds are in Paolucci’s favor heading into the second round. On Thursday, he teed off of No. 10 on the South course, undeniably the tougher of the two tracks. Friday, he will take to the North course, where Golfweek’s Sean Martin says the greens are rolling a full foot slower than on the South.
With a log jam at the top of the leaderboard, there are 14 players in the top five. Of those 14 players, 11 played the North course in the first round. When the field levels out, all having played each course, there is sure to be movement throughout the field, and Paolucci is hoping to move upward.
Among those that played the South course on Thursday, Paolucci is T13, trailing by only one shot to the likes of Hunter Mahan and Dustin Johnson. Coincidentally, he is only one stroke shy of Tiger Woods as well, though Woods played the North course.
For any indication of Paolucci’s talent, notice that he is currently tied with Ben Crane, the defending champion of the event. To be fair, Crane shot a 65 in the first round of 2010 and overall, carded only one round over 70.
As the second round gets underway at Torrey Pines, keep an eye on Paolucci. My bet is you’ll see some tremendous golf, and maybe even learn a thing or two.
Paolucci Quick Hits
7 birdies in the opening round of the Farmer’s Insurance Open
6 pars in the first round
5 top-three finishes in AJGA competition in 2010
4-time Rolex Junior All-American
3 was his lowest finish at an AJGA event in 2010
2 AJGA Invitational victories in 2010
1 nod as Rolex Junior Player of the Year
-written by Ashley O'Dell, AJGA Communications