Archive for Sunday, July 20, 2003

Flanders grabs early lead

July 20, 2003

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If Cameron Flanders' play in the Lawrence Amateur Golf Assn.'s Men's City Amateur Championship is like a roller coaster, then Saturday's first round was the ride's initial ascent.

He hopes he saved the big arms-thrown-in-air excitement for today when the two-day tournament concludes at Eagle Bend Golf Course.

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Flanders shot a 2-over-par 74, grabbing a one-stroke lead over Mike Grosdidier after Saturday's opening round at Alvamar Golf Club.

"I'm pretty excited to be holding the lead," said Flanders, a Lawrence High graduate and Kansas University sophomore. "But it really was kind of like a roller-coaster ride today. I would hit a couple of decent shots, but then be totally off."

There was no flaw in Flanders' game on the par-3 No. 11 hole; he sank a hole-in-one.

"Yeah, scoring-wise that was my best shot of the day," said Flanders, who finished in the top 10 in last year's city championship and third the year before. "But I would have liked to have a few more shots like that one.

"I just need to put a few more things together for today, maybe visualize a little tonight and work on a couple of things, then put it all together for tomorrow."

Flanders leads a field that includes former men's champion Matt Bellemere, who shot 77 Saturday. Defending champion Randy Conroy took the weekend off to prepare for next week's Kansas Golf Assn. Men's Amateur at Indian Hills Country Club in Mission Hills.

"I'm really excited that the city tournament has returned to the form which it once thrived," said Bellemere, who won the tournament when it was revitalized two years ago.

"All of us Lawrence golfers really owe those two -- Ron and Kyle -- a thank you," Bellemere said of LAGA president Ron Shaver and operations and tournament chairman Kyle Taylor. "They've really done a great job of getting things going with golf in this town."

Shaver, who helped create the LAGA three years ago, was pleased with the response for this year's tournament.

"We had two guys come up to the course today and sign up to play, so that's really a sign of positive feedback for us," Shaver said. "Those two brought the field number up to 70 and we've just had a real good turnout this year."

Shaver said the increased entries -- double that of last year -- were because the LAGA did a better job promoting the tournament.

"I think that the golfers out here today show that they want to be part of this kind of competition and are excited to play against each other," Shaver said.

Bellemere said it was interesting to see local golfers compete against each other.

"It's kind of fun to have a little competition instead of just coming out here and flubbing around with your friends for once," he said.

But Saturday wasn't completely about golf. For the first time in the three-year history of the men's championship, the LAGA is donating part of the profits to charity.

"A great deal of the proceeds from this weekend's tournament will go to the Headquarters Counseling Center," Shaver said of Lawrence's suicide-prevention entity. "They operate with the help of a lot of volunteers, so the money that we can give them helps them a great deal."

Bellemere said giving back to the community while playing golf was pretty special.

"I mean we're all out here to play golf," he said. "But when you think about the fact that we're helping a charity out, that's really a cool deal."

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