First round of San Juan Open presents crowded leaderboard

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Weather may not have been the most favorable early Thursday morning for the opening round of the 57th San Juan Open, but the light rains which evaporated quickly in the late morning provided for some solid scoring opportunities later in the afternoon.

As first round action wrapped up Thursday evening, a trio of golfers were at the top of the leaderboard, as Jesse Mueller, Jere Pelletier and Kevin Velo each recorded scores of 6-under par 65. That trio had a one-shot advantage over Christian Muscarello and Steven Kupcho.

Notables on the first round leaderboard included Sam Triplett (4-under par) and Jimmy Gunn (3-under par).

Earlier in the day, as light rain was tapering off at San Juan Country Club, Patrick Grimes was teeing off on what would be a productive round.

Grimes finished the round with a 2-under par 69 after beginning the day playing the back nine, opening with a double bogey before scoring birdies on 11, 14, 15 and 17. The second half of his round was much more consistent, opening with a birdie then shooting par the rest of the way.

Andrew Buckle gets his backswing going as he tees off on the first hole of the 2021 San Juan Open, Thursday, Sept. 2 at the San Juan Country Club.

"A little shaky to start, but it was a good recovery," Grimes said of his first round effort.

Jimmy Makloski, who's paired with Grimes for the first and the second round, which gets underway Friday morning, is one shot ahead of his partner after a 3-under par round of 68.

"The course is playing real well," Makloski said. "There's scoring opportunities out there."

Makloski opened his round with a birdie on the opening 10th hole, as well as 14 and 15 before getting into trouble with a bogey on the 18 and again early in the front nine, where he bogeyed the second and fourth holes.

Patrick Grimes gets a read on his putt on the ninth hole of the first round of the San Juan Open, Thursday, Sept. 2 at San Juan Country Club

Makloski countered with birdies on the first, third and sixth holes before playing even on the final three.

The light rainfall Thursday morning was intermittent when Grimes and Makloski were scheduled to tee off shortly before 9 a.m., but the heavier rains which had soaked much of San Juan County the day before definitely had an impact on the course, which saw some pretty favorable scoring conditions.

Velo shot a professional career-best round on Thursday, opening with an eagle on the first and also on the 14th hole. The only hiccups to the 23-year-old's round were bogeys on the 8th and again on the 13th.

Mueller fired a 6-under 30 on the back nine in Thursday's opening round, including an eagle on the par-5 fifteenth hole while Pelletier also eagled fifteen on his way to a 6-under par score.

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Steve Bortstein can be reached via email at, via Twitter @DTSBortstein or on the phone at (505) 635-2680