By Mark Smith
Editor in Chief
Son of a — well, stud!
And like father, like son as Carson Herron rekindled memories of his well-known pops on Friday in the opening round of the 80th Albuquerque Men’s City Amateur Golf Championship.
Herron, whose father, Tim Herron, was a three-time All-American golfer for New Mexico golfer who went on to win four PGA Tour events, is well on the way to making a name for himself.
The UNM freshman was 4 under on Ladera Golf Course’s final three holes on his way to a spectacular 8-under-par 64 and a two-shot lead in the 54-hole event.
“It was definitely exciting,” said the humble Herron, who shot a 6-under-30 on the back nine in his first-ever look at Ladera. “I was just trying to play the course, and play as well as I could.
“I didn’t feel any extra pressure,” he said of having his father’s famous name. “It just was really a lot of fun out there.”
Former St. Pius High and Western New Mexico star Marcus Molina, playing his first event since regaining his amateur status after playing professionally for 12 years, is in second place heading into Saturday’s second round at Arroyo del Oso.
The final round is Sunday at Los Altos.
UNM senior Ignacio Arcaya and 40-year-old Michael Armijo share third at 69 while Cibola junior Aiden Krafft shot 70 and UNM senior Brandon Shong is sixth at 71.
Shaun Payne and Alexandre Bauduin are tied for seventh at 72.
Molina, 36, hasn’t played in the City Amateur since 2009, the year he turned pro.
He finished second in the event twice, and like his chances to etch his name on the championship trophy this go-around.
“I definitely remember being one of the young guys and going against the older guys,” said Molina, who had eight birdies and two bogies. “I came in second behind (three-time champion) Tim Madigan and (Sam) Saunders some years back.
“This time, I’m going against all these young guys. But I think it’s time to win this thing.”
Arcaya, from Venezuela, and Shong, from Australia, played in the same group on Friday, but had very different rounds.
Shong hit 16 greens but only had two birdies and one bogey. Arcaya also hit the ball extremely well, but had eight birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey.
“I just misjudged one swing, and that really cost me,” he said of the double on a par 3. “But I just kept the pedal down and kept going after birdies.
“I really like the way I played today. I lost three or four shots on unforced errors, but I feel really good.”
Armijo was one of the day’s best stories. The Del Norte graduate was also making his tournament debut.
“I never played in it before because I wasn’t very good,” he said with a laugh. “I was only a 4-handicap, so I knew I couldn’t compete before this year. But I’ve been playing well and got my handicap down to 2. So I’m giving it a shot.”
Armijo, who works for PNC Bank, had four birdies and one bogey.