David Westin

Sports columnist and copy editor for The Augusta Chronicle.

Champ will relinquish his crown

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The very thing -- consistency -- that made Kenny Larry the king of the Regions Bank Amateur Series' senior division the past three years is what has deserted him this year, leaving him to play a supporting role to Robert Samuels and Yong Lee as the season winds down.

"The big difference is I haven't been as consistent, for whatever reason," Larry said.

"Now, I'll go for a two or three hole stretch where I play terrible and give four or five shots away," he said. "That's too much to overcome. The competition is so much greater that you can't afford to do that."

Larry, the three-time defending Senior Player of the Year in the series, enters this weekend's final regular season event at Jones Creek in fifth place in the player of the year standings with 220 points.

Since the winner of a tournament earns 75 points, he can only watch as points leader Samuels (349) and Lee (311) battle it out for his crown.

The 54-year-old Larry averaged four victories a season in his first four years in the senior division, including five last year.

He has only one this year, at the City of Augusta Match Play Championship, on May 16.

At this time last year, through the seven tournaments he'd played in, Larry had 364 points, and finished with a record 489 points.

If he were to win this weekend at Jones Creek, Larry would end the season with 295 points.

"I've looked at my stats from last year and my birdies are almost exactly the same," he said. "But I've been making more doubles and a triple every now and then. I can go seven or eight holes where I'm tough. I've had some outstanding sides. One side is great, the other I mess up so bad.

"I've hit it in hazards and out of bounds, it's just bam, bam, bam," Larry said. "I look up and say 'where is the ball going now?' "

"Kenny's just not hitting the ball as consistently as the last couple of years," said fellow senior division golfer Richard Felder. "He'll be hitting it fine, then hit it off the end of the world and get all ticked off with himself."

His play has left Larry frustrated because he's not sure what has caused the inconsistency.

"A couple of people have looked at my swing and say it looks a little faster," Larry said.

Larry discounts any talk of age slowing him down.

"I'm not ready to say that," he said. "It's just me not having a good year. It happens to guys on the PGA Tour, too. I'm hoping to regain my form next year."

This was the year Larry was supposed to break one Regions record and tie another in the senior division, which started in a 1995.

He was shooting for a record-tying fourth consecutive player of the year title to match Michael Benham, who did it from 1998-2001.

Also, with his win at the Match Play event this year, Larry moved into a tie with Mike Jackson and Ed Payne for career victories with 13.

Larry could still break that record with a win this weekend at the Gordon Chevrolet Jones Creek Classic. Larry won it in 2008, and lost a three-way playoff last year.

"It's always fun to win," Larry said. "I still love to compete and have fun with the guys. All that is great. I'd love to be winning more than I am."

Regions finale

This weekend's Gordon Chevrolet Jones Creek Classic is the final Regions Bank Amateur Series event of the season and will determine the players of the year in the regular- and senior divisions. The standings:

SENIOR DIVISION

Player Points

Robert Samuels 349

Yong Lee 311

Glen Hurt 282

Frank Perry 228

Kenny Larry 220

REGULAR DIVISION

Doug Weiss 249

Ryan McCook 195

Stephen Dye Jr. 173

Young Kim 172

Michael Phelps 130


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