Litchfield Park, Ariz. (Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015) – Federico Zucchetti fired an opening round 68 to lead at The Patriot All-America Invitational on the Gold Course at The Wigwam in Litchfield Park, Ariz. Last year’s runner-up George Cunningham and Adam Wood sit one stroke back at 2-under 69.
A native of Gozzano, Italy, and junior at Texas Tech, Zucchetti started on No. 10 with his father on his bag. He started with three-straight pars before a bogey on No. 11. It would be the only bogey of his round. Birdies at Nos. 14, 16, 4 and 8 moved him to 3-under 68.
“I played well tee to green which I think was important,” said Zucchetti. “My pace was consistent and even my short putts were pretty good. I had a slow start; I was one over after four or five holes. I suffered in the cold a lot. I don’t like playing in the cold but I got warm pretty easily.”
Cunningham’s round included three birdies, three bogeys and an eagle. After bogey on the fifth the sophomore from the University of Arizona responded with birdie on the following hole. An eagle at the par 4, 433-yard eighth moved Cunningham to 2-under. Another bogey at No. 11 dropped him to 1-under. He would record back-to-back birdies at Nos. 14 and 15 but bogeyed No. 16 to finish at 2-under 69.
“So honestly it was kind of a casual round,” said Cunningham. “It wasn’t anything exciting. I just kept my ball in play and kept hitting a lot of greens. I think I only missed like 3 or 4 greens today and my putting was really good. I didn’t have a lot of opportunities to make birdies, but when I did, most of the time I capitalized.”
Wood, a sophomore at Duke, carded an eagle and four birdies but also posted to bogeys and a double bogey. He moved to 1-under with birdie on No. 6 but dropped to 1-over par with the double bogey on the eighth. A birdie at No. 11 was countered by a bogey at No. 12 to stay at 1-over. Wood briefly moved into the lead with a birdie-eagle-birdie stretch beginning at No. 13 but fell to 2-under and the tie for second with a bogey at No. 18.
Second round action will begin at 10 am off both the 1st and 10th tees.
Top 10 Individual Results
- Federico Zucchetti33-35=68 (-3)
T2. George Cunningham 36-33=69 (-2)
T2. Adam Wood 33-36=69 (-2)
T4. Shotaro Ban 37-33=7- (-1)
T4. Chris O’Neill 35-35=70 (-1)
T6. Sean Crocker 36-35=71 (E)
T6. Carson Jacobs 37-34=71 (E)
T6. Carson Schaake 31-40=71 (E)
T9. David Kocher 37-35=72 (+1)
T9. Joey Mayo 34-38=72 (+1)
T9. Kyle Mueller 36-36=72 (+1)
T9. Trevor Smith 37-35=72 (+1)
T9. Christopher Petefish 37-35=72 (+1)
T9. Carter Jenkins 35-37=72 (+1)
T9. Stuart Grehan 35-37=72 (+1)
Patriot All-America Invitational
Opening Round Quotes
Opening Round Leader Federico Zucchetti
On his round:
I played well tee to green which I think was important. My pace was consistent and even my short putts were pretty good. I had a slow start, I was one over after four or five holes. I suffered in the cold a lot. I don’t like playing in the cold but I got warm pretty easily.
On his dad as his last-minute caddie:
I have back spasms, so I need to either push my golf bag or have someone caddie for me. I can’t carry it. I asked my dad this morning. At first he wasn’t supposed to come because I don’t want anyone to caddie for me at tournaments, but he did this time and it seemed like it worked out pretty well
Any changes for tomorrow?
No, not really. I’m going to go on the range and hit a few shots that didn’t feel pretty confident today. Overall my short game is sharp and I’m hitting the ball well off the tee. That’s important to hit the fairways on this golf course and to be able to attack the pin locations.
On his round:
You know it was, honestly started out a little slow. It was kinda hitting it on the greens. Hitting it like 40 feet and 2 putting. I had a bad 3 putt on the 4th hole which kinda set me back but I bounced back and had a birdie on the next, but after that it as still kinda slow…just kept hitting on the greens and then two-putting. Then on the 8th hole, I think had 122. I hit it right at the pin and it looked good. It ended up flying in the hole, stayed in the hole, luckily. That kinda kick-started my round. After that I was a little more energetic, had a little more confidence obviously after making an eagle. Almost birdied the next, almost birdied the next. I hit a bad iron shot and made a bogey on the par 3, 12th. It was kind of a tough pin, where I hit it, it was a given bogey. I ended up having 2 birdies in a row on 14 and 15 on the par 5 and on the drivable one I hit it over the green and got it up and down so that was kinda big. I almost birdied 17 and 18. So honestly it was kind of a casual round. It wasn’t anything exciting. I just kept my ball in play and kept hitting a lot of greens. I think I only missed like 3 or 4 greens today and my putting was really good. I didn’t have a lot of opportunities to make birdies, but when I did, most of the time I capitalized
On his eagle at the par 4, 433 yard eighth hole:
The pin was front left, it was actually a really difficult pin. It was on a hill and the greens were so fast. The other two players in my group had 10 feet above the hole and one of them lipped out and went 10 feet below the hole. I was taking it right of the pin and I hit just a little draw in there. I thought it was a little long and it just happen to tick part of the pin and it just dropped in. It was kinda lucky that it stayed in the hole.
Do you have a game plan going into tomorrow:
Try to do the same thing I did today, honestly. Out here, on this golf course, if you just keep your ball on the green, there’s enough holes you can make birdie on. The par 5s and hopefully they keep that one hole drivable on number 15. I mean the greens are so smooth, if you’re 20-30 feet you can roll in a few of those. Honestly, just keep my ball in play, hit a bunch of greens and shoot around par. The course is playing so difficult, around par is actually pretty good
You’ve played this golf course a few times throughout the years, how have the course changes this year affected things?:
I think it’s playing a little more difficult. With the shaved fairways around the greens. Now your ball instead of staying up near the greens in the rough, now rolls 10-15 yards off the green on a tight lie trying to chip to really firm greens. I thinks it’s playing a little more difficult. Pretty much every hole I like the bunkers they took out and a few bunkers they added in I thought were good additions. I think the course is in really good shape. It looks really good and I think with the bunkers, it’s a really good redesign.