CHEYENNE – Matt McCarty’s first competitive round at the Airport Golf Club was a memorable one.
The 23-year-old carded an 11-under-par 59 and leads the 65th Tyrrell Wyoming State Open by three strokes after the first round.
“I made a couple decent-length putts over the first two or three holes,” said McCarty, who calls Scottsdale, Arizona, home. “I hit the ball really well, hit every green and putted really well.”
McCarty scorched the course through his first 11 holes. He carded birdies on four of his first five and added another on the par-4 Hole No. 8 to make the turn at 29. He stayed hot to start the back nine, recording an eagle on the par-5 Hole No. 10 and birdies on Hole Nos. 11 and 13.
McCarty closed the round with birdies on his final two holes.
“I made a 20-footer on the last hole that I thought I left short,” McCarty said. “It just barely went over the front edge.
“My speed on the greens was really good all day. I felt super confident putting out there.”
The opening round was delayed because of lightning twice early Friday afternoon. Players in the final groups nearly had their rounds suspended due to darkness and would have had to complete their final few holes at 6 a.m. today. Instead, they wrapped up around 9 p.m. Friday.
McCarty’s group had completed just one hole before the second delay. He was eager to finish his first round.
“We were on a pretty good pace, so I was confident we could finish our round if we were able to keep it up,” McCarty said. “I’m glad we could get them all in.”
Li Wang of Seattle held the lead for much of the day after firing an 8-under 62. Wang was inadvertently grouped with three amateurs and teed off from Hole No. 10 in the morning. He birdied three of his first four holes, and caught fire on the front nine.
Wang eagled the par-4 Hole No. 2 and followed that with birdies on Hole Nos. 3, 5 and 8.
John Murdock IV – who won the Wyoming Open as an amateur in 2018 – sits in a four-way tie for third at 5-under 65. Murdock’s group was getting ready to start its round from Hole No. 10 when the first lightning delay struck. It was preparing to tee off on its second hole when the second delay came.
Murdock posted seven birdies, but also netted bogeys on one par-4 on each side of the course.
“I stayed patient, and that’s so important here,” the Laramie native said. “A lot of guys think they can birdie every hole and should birdie every hole. I fall under that category sometimes and get frustrated when things aren’t happening.
“I grinded out a few pars and had some birdies, as well. The round came together and felt nice.”
Alistair Docherty, Dino Giacomazzi and Russell Grove also shot 65 Friday. Ten players are tied for seventh place at 4-under 66.
The second round of the 54-hole tournament is today.