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Local golf: Ryan Kramer, Tom Newton tied atop Porter Amateur Masters division

Updated: October 16, 2013 6:56AM



VALPARAISO — Ryan Kramer isn’t quite sure where his even-par score of 70 at Forest Park came from in the opening round of the Porter Amateur Saturday.

He just hopes whatever he had doesn’t dessert him on Sunday when he tees it up at Sand Creek Country Club. Kramer of Portage and Tom Newton of Valparaiso were both tied while Kevin Pastrick was one shot behind. Ricardo Hall trailed by two shots after shooting a 72.

It was a tricky day to play. The course was hard as a rock from a recent spat of dry weather. The quirky, short layout made it gauging distances even more challenging. Pin hunting was not recommended. Playing in front of the greens and conservatively was the strategy.

“The ball bounces around here a lot,” Kramer said. “It’s like playing at the circus. You don’t know what you are going to shoot.”

Kramer was solid, though, only making one major mistake.

He bounced his approach shot on No. 14 from 79 yards, an elevated par 4, into the side of the green and it rolled back under a tree. He ended up with a six.

Otherwise, his ball striking was superb. He three-putted No. 15, a par 5, for a par and he three putted No. 10, a par three, for a bogey.

He had birdies on Nos. 5, 6 and 7 and he finished the day by feathering one in for birdie on No. 18 after he dropped his approach two feet from the cup.

Kramer never knows what to think of his game. He was playing so bad earlier in the season that he decided to bail out of the Gary Amateur at the last minute.

Last week, though, he shot a 68 at Scherwood Golf Club in Schereville in the Pepsi Illiana tour. He also finished 15th in the Michigan City Municipal Tournament last month.

He admits to being completely unfamiliar with Sand Creek — he has only played there once — and it didn’t go well.

“I shot like 86,” he said.

But he is looking forward to trying to see if he can hang with Newton and whoever stays in the pack. There are 12 player at 75 or better, which means its way early to see who could take this one. The Masters plays at the Brassie and Valparaiso Country Club after Sand Creek. Newton, the club champion for three straight years at Valparaiso Country Club, won the Porter Amateur in 2010. That was the same year that Kramer finished third in it.

Newton, a 1996 Valparaiso High School graduate, was solid all day, making two birdies and two bogeys. He got himself out of a jam on No. 12 when he hit his ball into the hazard, took a penalty stroke and chipped to within 10 feet and then made the putt for bogey. Newton was happy to be at par — and he’ll gladly take a similar round at Sand Creek.

In the ladies division, Julie Leonard shot 1-under 34 on the back nine after opening with a 49. She finished with an 83 and a one stroke lead over Natalie Achten.

Brian Boedeker and Jake Goldsmith each shot 80 to tie for the lead in the Open Division.



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