Archive for Wednesday, July 21, 2004

KU aide Edwards tees it up

Golf assistant shoots 76 at Kansas Amateur

July 21, 2004

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— When Roy Edwards played golf for Kansas University from 1995 to 1998, he never was KU's best hitter off the tee or most precise putter.

In fact, he'd be the first to tell you he wasn't even an impact player.

"I wasn't that good, actually," said Edwards, a Hutchinson native who shot a 4-over-par 76 to put himself solidly in the middle of the pack after the first day of the Kansas Amateur on Tuesday at Shadow Glen Golf Club. "We had some good teams at that time, but I didn't play a whole lot."

That doesn't mean he hasn't left his mark on the program, however.

Ross Randall, KU's 26th-year coach, said Edwards made an immeasurable impression on Kansas golf.

When Edwards' eligibility was up, he served as a volunteer assistant coach for three years. Following a year at Vanderbilt, he returned to Kansas as a full-time assistant. He has seen the Jayhawks through two rebuilding years and overseen the primary fund-raising for the Knapheide Family Golf Practice Facility.

Randall said Edwards had put such exhaustive effort into fund-raising that the Jayhawks were close to their goal of refurbishing the facility at Alvamar and building an additional indoor practice facility that would allow the program to practice year-round regardless of weather.

Edwards' efforts earned him recognition by the NCAA as a finalist for the Jan Strickland Assistant Coach of the Year award this year.

"He is the reason we're almost there to our goal of redoing the range completely," Randall said. "Hopefully we can get started late this fall and also do an indoor building at the end of the range. That's really an important deal for us."

"He just does everything you would want somebody to do. He is loyal. He has blue blood running through him all the way, and we're really pleased to have him. He has meant a lot to us."

Edwards still has urges to compete. Coaching occupies most of his time, but he still plays "twice a week, maybe," and jumps at the chance to enter an occasional tournament.

Last month, he fired a 74 at Quivira Lake Country Club and easily qualified for the 94th Kansas Amateur Match Play Championship.

"I hit the ball pretty bad early," Edwards said of Tuesday's opening round, explaining why he had five bogeys and two birdies on his first nine holes. "After that I settled down and managed it pretty well.

"This course is a great test. The greens are fast. You have to hit shots off the tee, and you've still got to have a short game. It doesn't really favor any one player. That's going to show who the best player is this week."

Edwards, 27, doesn't figure he'll be the top player, but he said he's going to hang around as long as possible.

"This is a heck of a job to have," he said of his coaching gig. "It's hard work, but it's very rewarding to feel like you're helping out the guys that are around now. Hopefully we can make this program grow a little more. We're excited about the year for sure."

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