Bare Comes out of Hibernation With 9-under 63 at eGolf Tour’s Palisades Classic

Andy Bare

By Stewart Moore

Brothers Carlos and Michael Sainz post hole-in-one and double-eagle, respectively, on day one

Charlotte, NC – After spending the past two years on the Tour, Andy Bare of West End, NC lost his status on the PGA TOUR’s developmental circuit, returning to the eGolf Tour for the 2013 season, where he had posted three wins in 2006 and 2008 combined. A winter spent away from golf led to a slow start to his year, but his absence from the leaderboard officially came to an end on Wednesday at the eGolf Tour’s inaugural Palisades Classic, where Bare erupted to the tune of 10 birdies and a 9-under 63 – good for the tournament’s 18-hole lead.

The Palisades Classic is the ninth of 24 scheduled events on the 2013 eGolf Tour schedule, and is being contested this week at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Palisades Country Club in Charlotte, NC.

Bare opened his week in less-than-ideal fashion, bogeying the short par-4 first thanks in part to a three putt on an otherwise docile hole. That blemish, however, would be the only one suffered on the round, as the former UNC Greensboro star quickly went to work, painting his scorecard a dark shade of red for the majority of the four hours thereafter.

Follow-up birdies on Nos. 2, 3 and 5 quickly erased the opening bogey and took Bare to 2-under par for the round, while stellar approach shots to both the par-3 eighth and the par-4 ninth allowed him to turn at 4-under 32.

Birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 gave Bare four in a row, moving him to 6-under par for the day and two shots off the lead with seven holes to play. After pars on Nos. 12 through 14 kept him at -6, Bare again hit a hot streak, posting birdies on 15, 16 and 17 to vault into the lead at 9-under par, where he would finish after a par at the last gave him a first-round 63.

“After I three-putted No. 1, I hit a lot of good iron shots and putted well,” said Bare, 32. “To be honest, I left a few shots out there, where I had mid-iron approaches to par-5s and walked away with pars. But, all in all, I played good.”

Bare’s 9-under day one effort came just five days after he won a local mini-tour event contested at The Palisades, where he posted 25 points over two rounds in the event’s Modified Stableford scoring format.

“I think it helped that I played here last week, and played well last week,” he said. “The wind we had today was the same we had last week, so it was good practice.”

Bare spent much of his early professional career on the eGolf Tour, earning wins at the 2006 Warrior Classic, the 2008 Sapona Open, and again at the 2008 Warrior Classic. He finished inside the top 20 on the money list from 2006 through 2009 – finishing at No. 5 in both 2007 and 2008.

The par-4 11th at PalisadesThe par-4 11th at Palisades

In 2010, he earned conditional status on the 2011 Tour, where he made three cuts in 12 starts. After going back to PGA TOUR Q-School that fall, Bare earned high-level status for the following year with a T93 finish, setting him up for a number of starts in 2012.

Last year, Bare was a fixture on the Tour, making 21 appearances and posting a season-best T17 effort at the Mexico Open in June. After finishing No. 131 on the season-ending money list, Bare was again relegated to Q-School, where he failed to advance through first stage.

“The winter was tough. I knew, after losing my card, that it was going to be tough,” said Bare, who did not touch a club during the months of November and December. “I tried not to be too negative about it, but when I came to the first (eGolf) event and didn’t play well, then didn’t play well again at the second event, I told myself I was going to have to have a good attitude after that, because if I didn’t, I was going to have zero chance of playing well.”

Missed cuts at both the Palmetto Hall Championship and Oldfield Open in February did little to brighten Bare’s outlook, but a move to a new instructor shortly thereafter put him back on track.

“I started working with Patrick Kelly at Old Chatham (Durham, NC), and felt I needed to make a change after losing my card last year,” he said. “I wasn’t playing well earlier this year, but now I’m playing a lot better after working with him, and gaining some confidence from it. He has a new way for me to look at my swing, and it has helped a lot so far.”

After spending the offseason self-admittedly sulking, Bare has seemed to right the ship this week in south Charlotte with his 63 on Wednesday – just his second round in the 60s this season.

Bare, who finished T20 at the 2007 Wyndham Championship and competed in the 2006 U.S. Open, realizes the game is a process, but also feels as though he’s headed in the right direction.

“It felt a bit like rock bottom, but when I made the instructor change, I felt like we were going to rebuild and get back there as soon as possible,” said a reinvigorated Bare after his round, citing a goal of returning to the Tour or higher. “Hopefully this is the first step.”

Trailing Bare by a single shot is Henry Zaytoun of Raleigh, NC, who held the lead for the majority of the day after posting a career-best 64 in the morning wave.

The 23-year-old Zaytoun began his day on the front nine at Palisades, converting a clutch par putt at No. 1 to build some early momentum with the flat stick.

“The real putt that got me going was on the first,” said Zaytoun. “I ran my birdie putt 6 or 7 feet past the hole, and was able to make the par putt coming back. That got me in the mode of seeing the ball go in the hole, which was big.”

Ryan ArmourRyan Armour

Birdies on Nos. 2 and 3 moved the laidback Zaytoun to 2-under par early in the day, thanks to a clutch wedge shot for his third on an otherwise reachable par-5.

From there, Zaytoun’s pace took off, as birdies at Nos. 5, 6 and 9 gave him an outward nine of 5-under 31.

A par at the downhill par-3 10th gave way to a birdie at the par-4 11th and an eagle at the par-5 12th, courtesy of a 4-iron second shot hit to 8 feet.

Suddenly, Zaytoun – who entered the week with just one made cut in 2013 – was 8-under par through 12 holes, threatening golf’s magic number.

“For an instant, walking off the green, I started to do the math in my head as far as what it would take to shoot 59, but I then thought, ‘Yeah, whatever, just give yourself a chance from here on out,’” Zaytoun said after his round. “I just wanted to keep hitting good shots.”

Zaytoun’s brief flirtation with the game’s version of immortality was short-lived, as pars on his next five holes kept him at 8-under par for the day, leading into the par-4 finishing hole, where an 8-foot par putt kept him bogey-free for the day.

The 64 marked Zaytoun’s second under-par round of the 2013 season. The former University of North Carolina golfer posted a T56 at the Palmetto Hall Championship, then missed five cuts heading into the week in Charlotte.

Ryan Armour of Jupiter, FL, Ryan Nelson of Charleston, SC, Sam Beach of Glen Allen, VA, Dustin Bray of Asheboro, NC and Josh Brock of Wilmington, NC are tied for third after posting matching rounds of 6-under 66 on Wednesday.

Carlos Sainz Jr.Carlos Sainz Jr.

Armour, making his first career eGolf Tour start, actually double-bogeyed his opening hole, then rallied with eight birdies against nine pars for his 6-under effort.

The 37-year-old former Ohio State star spent 2007 and 2008 on the PGA TOUR, and has been a six-year Tour member dating back to the 2004 season. The Akron, OH native has four career runner-up finishes on the Tour, with a T2 at the 2012 Panama Claro Championship serving as his most recent.

Armour might best be known for the 1993 U.S. Junior Amateur, where he had Tiger Woods two down with two to play at host Eugene Country Club in Portland, Oregon, prior to losing 1-down on the 19th hole as the eventual 14-time major championship winner rallied to win the final three holes. The win marked the third consecutive U.S. Junior title for Woods, which preceded three straight U.S. Amateur titles for the longtime world No. 1.

The shots of the day came from brothers Carlos and Michael Sainz of Elgin, IL, who partnered up to achieve two of the game’s rarest feats.

First up was Carlos, who recorded his second career hole-in-one in the day’s morning wave when he aced the 170-yard par-3 13th with a 7-iron.

Not to be outdone, younger brother Michael, playing in the afternoon wave, posted a double-eagle on the 502-yard par-5 12th, holing a pitching wedge from 117 yards for his second shot.

Both players wound up posting rounds of 2-under 70, sitting tied for 28th through 18 holes.

Second-round play in The Palisades Classic will begin at 7:30 AM on Thursday morning. Following the completion of 36 holes, the field will be cut to the low 35 percent and ties for the final round of play. The tournament is open to the public and free of charge.