It seemed like the natural foursome to watch and they didn’t disappoint.
Kevin Carrigan and Criag Doell, and Riley Wheeldon and young Keaton Gudz came together in the fifth foursome out in the first round of the Vancouver Island Open at Royal Colwood Golf Club on Saturday.
Both teams finished at 6-under 64 for a share of the lead in the two-man, best-ball tournament that concludes this afternoon at the prestigious club.
Carrigan and Doell, both well respected and successful amateurs, have teamed up on numerous occasions, and Wheeldon, of the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada, answered soon to be 17-year-old Gudz’s call to enter.
“I played down here quite a bit over the winter with some buddies and linked up with him [Gudz]. He played some pretty good golf. He asked me if I wanted to play and I said, ‘Sure,’ ” said Wheeldon.
“I played really well and Keaton struggled on the front, but he turned it around and had a couple of key holes on the back nine — a big par on 12, while I was making bogey, and a huge eagle on 14, which was fun to see.”
The back nine included a birdie, eagle, birdie run on holes 13, 14 and 15 for the pair.
Doell and Carrigan, meanwhile, got off to a solid start as Carrigan hit his approach on No. 1 within two feet, only to watch his partner roll in a 15-foot birdie. Doell also birdied Nos. 2 and 4 and Carrigan birdied Nos. 8, 14 and 16 and didn’t have to rely on his tap-in on No. 1.
“We play together any time we can,” said Carrigan. “We get along real well. We played consistent today — there weren’t a ton of birdies.”
Greens were firm, too, which made it tougher to hold approach shots. Both Doell and Wheeldon appeared to fire darts at No. 18, but neither held and they were left with long birdie attempts that ended in routine pars.
Meanwhile, Eric Wang and Matthew Broughton finished at 5-under 65, tied with Lindsay Bernakevitch and Saare Adams. The teams of Dustin Pewarchuk and Dustin Yeager, and Scott Kral and Gordy Scutt were another shot back at 66.