Spectators of the 62nd annual Salt Lake City Amateur had to check their calendars Saturday at Bonneville Golf Course.

The 2005 tournament looked awful similar to 2004's after the first day.

Sitting solo atop the leaderboard, last year's champion Bill Naughton is hoping his consistent play will lead him to a successful title defense.

"I'm playing about the same as I was last year," Naughton said. "This is a fun tournament. I look forward to this one all year. Who knows, maybe lightning will strike twice. We'll see."

Naughton's 5-under 67 is only one shot off from his opening score last year, a 66.

"I played well today, you have to be happy with a 67. But it's just one round so far," Naughton said.

Naughton looked at times like he may eclipse his score from last year with several birdie opportunities that skirted with the edges of the hole.

"The (putts) on 17 and 18 I hit really well and I thought they were going to be in," he said. "I had a good round that I could have made a great round, but I'll take a 67 every time out."

The back nine, where Naughton started, played extremely challenging for most golfers, with difficult pin placement coupled with quicker-than-expected greens.

Hole No. 14, one of Bonneville's toughest, played especially harsh Saturday. The sweeping tee box that leads to a downhill two-tiered green spelled trouble for several golfers.

"I think people are surprised about how challenging this course is," said golfer J.Z. Davis. "I'm just grateful to escape with my score."

In contrast, the green fairways played nicely for the competitors Saturday, with most players grateful that the soft grass held tee shots in the fairway.

The rough, however, was a different story.

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Rick Allison, Bonneville's teaching professional, knew that the long grass may be treacherous for the wandering golfer.

"We let it grow out a little bit this year, definitely," Allison said. "With all the new equipment it's hard for the course to defend itself."

Brad Summerhays, a surprise entry to this year's tournament, sits close behind Naughton with a 68. He's tied with Marty Jacks, Scott Clark, Kirk Siddens and Herb Lyons.

E-mail: acole@desnews.com

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