Kenny Larry has dominated the senior division in the Regions Bank Amateur Series since he turned 50 in 2006 – he has 19 wins in six years and four player of the year titles – leading many to wonder how he would fare against the best senior amateurs from around the state.
That answer comes this week.
Larry makes his debut in a Georgia State Golf Association event when he tees it up on the Georgia Senior Championship at Statesboro’s Forest Heights Country Club. The 54-hole tournament begins today and ends Friday with a cut to the low 70 and ties of the 144 starters after 36 holes.
If you’re wondering why Larry has never played in a state senior event it’s because of his age: While the Regions series seniors can play at age 50, they’re not considered seniors in GSGA events until they are 55. So this is Larry’s first chance to play.
“I’m certainly looking forward to that,” Larry said. “It’s another way of getting you in a situation where you can improve your game.
“For my first one, I’d like to make the cut and finish in the top 20. That’s my goal,” Larry said in a phone interview from his practice round Tuesday at Forest Heights.
He’ll have plenty of company from the Augusta area, headed by Hephzibah’s Robert Samuels, who at age 56 is also making his GSGA debut.
“A lot of the guys were talking about playing and it was close,” said Samuels, who has finished second in the Regions’ senior player of the year standings the past two years.
The other area seniors playing are Mike Jackson, Mike Kelley, George Bullard and Doug Faulkner. Former Augustan Frank Perry, now of Fayetteville, Ga., is also playing.
Of that group, only Faulkner hasn’t won a Regions senior division tournament.
“We have a good chance of going down there and representing the area very well,” Larry said. “Our guys are very close in ability.”
Larry thinks that Samuels – who has been a Regions Series runner-up 14 times since his last win in 2007 – could come home with the win.
“I certainly believe that,” Larry said. “Robert is tough already. He just has to get a break here and there.”
PAINE BENEFIT: Sponsorships and donations are still being taken for the Paine College Golf Tournament, which starts at 11 a.m. on Monday at Jones Creek Golf Club. Augusta native and Champions Tour winner Jim Dent will be the honorary chairman again.
The tournament, now its third year, has raised more than $45,000 to benefit the Paine men’s golf team, which is under the direction of new coach Herman Belton.
AIKEN CHAMPIONSHIP: Entries will be taken through Sept. 1 for the second annual Aiken Amateur Championship at Aiken Golf Club. It is open to Aiken County residents and others who are members at Aiken County clubs.
The tournament will be played Sept. 10-11. Entry fee of $80 covers green fee and cart both days. Practice rounds can be played for $15, which is price of the cart.