Toth, Griffin struggle on Day 1 of VI Open

If Saturday's opening round of the Vancouver Island Open was the unofficial start to the B.C. Zone 5 golf season, then Bryan Toth and Ben Griffin would officially like to throw it away.

The two well respected amateurs combined for a less than stellar 1-over-par 73 at Gorge Vale Golf Club in the revamped two-man team event that concludes today at Victoria Golf Club.

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The two are well back of leading teams Scott Kral and Gordy Scutt, and Isaac Weintraub and Eric Wang as both teams recorded sizzling 7-under 65s in the open division of the tournament. Kral actually dunked his approach shot for an eagle two on the 409-yard par-4 seventh hole.

Toth, who plays out of Gorge Vale, and Griffin, of Uplands, were totally the opposite, struggling all afternoon.

"Unfortunately we didn't have a good day. Not happy at all. We just didn't start off strong, missed putts early and pretty much couldn't get anything going from there," said Toth, a former B.C. Amateur champion from 2006 who is attempting to turn his game around.

The soon to be 38-yearold is coming off a marital split, which obviously affected his personal life and play.

"I want to play lots," Toth said of the 2012 season. "I need to get back into it. I hadn't played much the last couple of years since splitting up with my wife. I haven't played much so I'm going to put a lot more into it, put a lot more focus into things.

"Unfortunately, today I didn't show anything good."

He'll have to be much better if he hopes to qualify for the B.C. Amateur, through zone qualifying at Royal Colwood a month from now. The B.C. MidAmateur and qualifying for the Times Colonist Open are also goals he has established, having already played in the latter Canadian Tour event six times.

Griffin, 31, is exempt for the B.C. Amateur and, along with Brent Wilson of Gorge Vale and Brian Scott and Kevin Carrigan of Royal Colwood, will represent the province at the Pacific Northwest Golf Association Cup, which begins Thursday at Gorge Vale. This will be Griffin's fifth time competing in that event, which features the B.C., Washington state, Oregon and Idaho golf associations in a Ryder Cup format.

"I'm hoping to have a good year. Today just wasn't a very good day," said Griffin, a member of Uplands, who would also like to be in the Times Colonist Open field when it returns to his home course in June.

"Golf is funny that way," said Griffin. "We had a slow start today and in this format you need to get some birdies early because you know you need to shoot under par. If you don't get them early, you press a bit."

The two never really recovered.

Meanwhile, Tim Howard and Dan Green lead the senior division of the VI Open after an opening 2-under 70 and Steve Fornelli and Dave Kuprowsky lead the amateur division with a net 65.

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