Sunday: Albuquerque Men’s City Amateur Championship
Los Altos Golf Course
Leaders tee off approximately 10:30 a.m.
By Mark Smith
Editor in Chief
You can almost hear “Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling” whistling through the evergreens.
OK, if you’re older than 60, that is.
Or a movie buff.
But given the weekend’s hoopla thus far, today’s final round of the 80th-annual Albuquerque Men’s City Amateur Golf Championship at Los Altos certainly has the makings of a shootout.
A shootout, most likely, to heat up right around High Noon.
“I’m definitely ready for this,” says Ignacio Arcaya, whose 5-under-par 67 on Saturday has him tied for second place and just four shots off the lead. “I’m just going to keep firing away, put some pressure on him and see what happens.”
The “him,” is Carson Herron — who strolled through Arroyo del Oso with the confidence of a leading man on Saturday to a bogey-free 68 that has him in front of the posse at 12-under-par 132 after two rounds of the 54-hole event.
He opened with a blazing 64 on Friday at Ladera Golf Course, strolling around the course like a young Gary Cooper with a set of Pings.
“I’m hitting it well, and I’m feeling pretty calm,” said Herron, the son of former University of New Mexico golfing legend and current PGA Senior Tour standout Tim Herron, who won four times on the PGA Tour.
“I hit it close a lot (Saturday) but didn’t make many putts. I had a lot of good chances.
“If the putts fall (Sunday), I feel good about my chance to win.”
Former professional Marcus Molina struggled to a 1-over-par 73 on Saturday and is seven shots back in fourth place at 139 while Alexandre Bauduin (72-70) is fifth at 142 and Albuquerque Academy junior Neil Parasher (73-70) and 40-year-old Michael Armijo (69-74) share sixth at 143.
Shaun Payne (72-72) and Aiden Krafft (70-74) are at 144 and Matt Van Dyke (74-71) is 10th at 145.
Of the 13 players who made the cut, none has won the event before.
The 6-foot-2 Herron had two birdies and an eagle — that on the par 4 sixth hole — on Saturday during his bogey-free round.
Herron, who turned 19 on July 24, will be paired with Arcaya and Brandon Shong in an all-Lobo final group.
“It’s very nice to see some of our guys being able to play in the City Championship,” said Lobo coach Glen Millican, who won the event twice. “Having the dates right before school starts is a good time for our team.
“It should be fun (Sunday) with Lobos in contention.”
Both Arcaya, who hails from Venezuela, and Shong, who is from Australia, are seniors at UNM.
“I like being in the last group, and chasing from behind on the final day,” said Shong, who had the day’s low round with a 7-under-65 on Saturday after opening with a 71 on Friday.
“I feel comfortable in that position. The last tournament I played in Louisiana, I was three or four back in the final round and tied for first.”
Herron, who got to campus last week, is just starting to get familiar with his teammates – and they are certain to know much more about each other after Sunday.
In the meantime, Herron’s family has gotten to know much more about their son’s new sidekicks and the Duke City itself this past week around one of its most famous steakhouse and watering holes.
“All his roommates and their parents got together on (Friday) night and had the greatest meal and a great time,” said mother Ann Herron, who helped move Carson to Albuquerque this week, along with 15-year-old twins P.J. and Mick.
“We went to a steakhouse called High Noon (Restaurant & Saloon in Old Town), and just had a great meal.”
Ann said she and the family hadn’t planned to stay this long, but “We figured we might as well watch him play in the tournament, and we’re not about to leave now. We need to see the final round, and we’re having such a good time out here.”
Macy Freeze, whose father Brent Freeze was Tim Herron’s college roommate, has also been part of Herron’s Hole in the Wall Gang, but the head honcho is in Snoqualmie,
Wash., for the Boeing Classic, where he is tied for 12th heading into Sunday’s final round.
But while the ex-Lobo father is doing his thing, the new-Lobo son will be doing his in the Duke City Wolfpack Showdown.
Nope, it’s not Hadleyville, a small fictitious town in New Mexico Territory.
But it, indeed, is New Mexico — and a big city, in fact, that will be the site of this gunfight.
And when the smoke clears, there will be a new marshal in town.