The Golf Scene

Is Pope area's top amateur?

Jeff Pope has dominated play in the Regions Bank Amateur Series to the tune of two wins and two runner-up finishes in four starts.

Some might say the fields have been weak, with stars Doug Weiss and Jay Blackburn sitting out most of the year so far. The fields haven't really been weak, just thin. Still, most of Pope's winning scores would have won even with more players in the fields, Weiss and Blackburn included.

But he'll face the deepest field of the year in the Augusta City Amateur, which starts July 20 at Forest Hills Golf Club. Instead of the 30 or so players that have been turning out in the regular division in the Regions tournaments, there will be least double that number.

For some top players, such as defending champion Lee Knox, this is their only Regions Bank start of the year. There is a lot to be said for being known as the top amateur golfer in the city for a year, which is always a draw for the top players.

Plus, the format of being the only 54-hole event in the series is conducive to determing the best player at the end of the week.

Pope, whose goal is to be the Regions player of the year (he's nearly a shoo-in to do that through five of the nine tournaments) is talented and highly motivated. The tougher competition will only make him play harder, and better. And he's never won the city amateur.

So don't be surprised if he beats all the "one-and-done" golfers who show up and ends up as your augusta city amateur champion. Even if he does live in North Augusta.

 

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