Sports

Paniccia blisters Riverside for record-tying 63, then builds on lead in Fresno City Am golf

Four-time Fresno City Amateur champion Danny Paniccia in action in 2013. On Saturday, May 25, 2019, Paniccia tied the Riverside Golf Course record with a 9-under-par 63 to take the first-round lead in the 92nd annual event.
Four-time Fresno City Amateur champion Danny Paniccia in action in 2013. On Saturday, May 25, 2019, Paniccia tied the Riverside Golf Course record with a 9-under-par 63 to take the first-round lead in the 92nd annual event. Fresno Bee file

Danny Paniccia tied the Riverside Golf Course record with a 9-under-par 63 Saturday to start the 92nd annual Fresno City Amateur Championship, then kept up the pace in round two Sunday.

The Sunnyside Country Club member shot a second-round 68 to set the tournament two-round record of 13-under heading into Monday’s final round. He has a nine-shot lead over Lane Pulliam of Kings River Golf & Country Club (69-73) and Tyler Zaentz of Sunnyside (68-74).

In Saturday’s course-record round he had an eagle on the par-5 ninth, eight birdies and just one bogey (at the par-3 15th). He tied the record set by Matt Bettencourt in the 4-ball City Championships back in December 2000.

Paniccia likely benefited from a little extra competitive time on the course: He won the City Am Masters handicap flight last weekend.

The Clovis West High graduate (1995) played at Fresno State and then on the Canadian Tour as a pro, leaving it in 2006. He’s a four-time City Am champion (1996 and three straight from 2010-12).

Paniccia was one of only three golfers to go under par Sunday in often rainy and difficult conditions. Garrett Boe and Jordan O’Leary each shot 71 but were well back.

Teddy Schrier of Turlock (70-73) and Kyle Kuest of Fort Washington (71-72) were tied for fourth.

Former Fresno State golfer Josh Watney, who shot 67 Saturday, fell back to a tie for sixth with a 78. Also at 145 and tied for sixth: Phil Henderson of Sunnyside (70-75), Ryan Higton of San Joaquin (71-74) and Casey Leebrick of Monarch Dunes (72-73).

The cut at 153 left 42 golfers to tee off in Monday’s final round. Defending champion Jason Higton (76-79) was among the casualties.

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