In the last five years, only one man has won the open championship flight at the Lawrence Amateur Golf Association city tournament: Conrad Roberts.
But this year, Roberts isn’t in the field. He opted to play in the Kansas Amateur with several other Lawrence golfers, including last year’s city tournament runner-up, Tyler Cummins.
Roberts and Cummins lost in the Round of 32 in Friday’s match play at the Amateur, but they couldn’t register for the city tournament in case they had advanced to weekend play.
Someone new will grab the city title.
“I’m sure a lot of people are gunning for the championship,” LAGA tournament organizer David Lerner said. “Why not?”
The 75-person tournament starts this morning at Eagle Bend Golf Course and concludes on Sunday at Lawrence Country Club.
The absence of Roberts and Cummins might weaken the top of the championship field, but Lerner said the depth of the flight should make for an exciting tournament.
Last year’s third- and fourth-place finishers, Spencer Wilson and Mason Dick, will hope to jump up a few on spots on Sunday’s leaderboard.
“It gives other people a chance,” Lerner said.
The tournament will also welcome more golfers from Lawrence Country Club. In the past 10 years or so, the city tournament has only been contested at the city’s two public courses, Eagle Bend and Alvamar.
The addition of Lawrence Country Club this year and Alvamar Country Club next year should bring in more of the private golfers.
“We were missing maybe half the good players in the city,” Lerner said.
Lerner anticipates that from now on, the annual tournament will be held at one public and one private course.
The LAGA struggled yet again to attract many women golfers. Only three women — Lou Ann Gebhards, Rosemarie Schuh and Quillen Eichorn — are playing this weekend, grouped into a single tee time.
Lerner called that trend “disturbing” and said he hopes it can be resolved in the future.
This weekend, all golfers will have to survive the sweltering heat.
The early-morning tee times will keep players out of the hottest parts of the day, but the weather will still be a factor.
“The whole state is baking,” Lerner said. “It’s not exactly the best weather to play.”
The tournament kicks off at 7 this morning, with the open championship flight starting at 8:36 a.m.
Last year’s champions who will be returning: Jim Hagan (super senior championship flight), Brian Edwards (senior first flight) and Darrell Frank (open second flight).