Danny Williams has been to the United Kingdom on numerous golf trips with friends, but this one is different. The Augustan is making his first appearance in the British Seniors Open Amateur Golf Championship.
The 54-hole event begins Wednesday at two sites, the Sherwood Forest Golf Club and the Coxmoor Golf Club, both near Manchester, England.
The 60-year-old Williams was exempt into the field because he qualified for the 1994 U.S. Senior Amateur. But with a three-year exemption, this is Williams' last year of eligibility for the British event.
"My friends have told me how much fun this tournament is," Williams said. "They enjoyed playing in it and meeting other people."
Williams is a fan of links-style golf in the United Kingdom. On his trips, he's played most of the famous seaside courses in England, Scotland and Ireland, from St. Andrews to Carnoustie.
To Williams' great disappointment, the two courses being used for the British Seniors Open Amateur are inland, or parkland courses, as the locals call it.
Golfers are required to walk in this tournament and most take on a local caddy. That is Williams' plan.
"I enjoy the caddies over there," Williams said. "I remember the first time I went over there, I had a caddy at Carnoustie. His name was John and he was 76 years old. It was interesting to listen to him talk about how Ben Hogan played the course when he won the British Open there in 1953. John said Hogan changed the outlook on how to play one of the holes. He told me Hogan would hit his tee shot out of bounds and fade it back to the fairway. They were in awe of what Hogan did."
STRONG SUPPORTER:Matt Harbin, winner of last week's Perry Watson Memorial, has been one of the strongest boosters of the Cadillac Cup series since its inception in 1988. Though Harbin has the opportunity to play in many top amateur events each summer, he remains loyal to the Cadillac Cup events. He's played in four of the seven events this year.
"When I started playing in these tournaments in the late 1980s, I wasn't a very good player," Harbin said. "I always thought it was neat that these tournaments always had good players and you could see how you stood up against them."
Harbin has three Cadillac Cup victories - two Perry Watson Memorial titles and one Orville White Cup.
"I'm not the best player out there, but if I play good, I have a chance to compete with everybody," Harbin said. "I feel like it's almost my responsibilty to play and support these tournaments that helped make me a decent player. These are the tournaments that helped me to improve."
PALMETTO: Aiken's Kenny Wiland fired rounds of 71-73- 144 to win the club championship by four shots. Tying for second place were George Coker (75-73) and Dale Haas (77-71). Drew Chavous (80-76- 156) won the first flight and Ty Staples ( 91-86- 177) won the second. In the senior flight, Al Haynes (85-88- 173) won the gross title and Erwin Whitaker (78-73) the net title. Joe Simons (78-87- 165) won the Super Senior gross title and Gerry Devitt (75-72- 147) the Super Senior net title.
GREGORY CLASSIC: Entries are being accepted for the second annual W.M. Gregory Classic tournament at North Augusta Country Club. The dates for the ninth and final Cadillac Cup tournament of the year are Aug. 23-24. Entry fee of $100 covers green fees and cart for the tournament and a practice round (carts not included). To enter, call the North Augusta Country Club at 279-0704. The field will be closed after 120 entries.
MICKIE GALLAGHER: The 30th annual Mickie Gallagher Junior Amateur will be Tuesday at the Augusta Golf Course. The tournament, sponsored by Knights of Columbus Council 677, is for boys and girls ages 8-17. Entry fee is $5. Golfers can sign up until 8 a.m. the day of the event.
ATLANTA OPEN: Former Augustan Bill Price Jr. finished sixth in the Atlanta Open at Cherokee Town and Country Club. Price, who prepped at Aquinas High and then played at Augusta College, shot 72-68- 140. In the Atlanta Open, Price tied for sixth with four other golfers, including another former Augusta College golfer, Mike Gill. Price is an assistant pro at the Champions Club in Atlanta, while Gill is the head pro at Maple Ridge in Columbus. Matt Russell of Atlanta won the Atlanta Open tournament by three shots over David Bahr. Russell fired rounds of 64-69- 133.
AUGUSTA GOLF COURSE: Butch Littles aced the 140-yard 14th hole with a 9-iron shot. The witneeses were Hugh Johnson, Stephan Illidge, Butch Johnson and Tracy Hunt Jr.
PANAMA CITY: Tinka Harper of Augusta used a pitching wedge to ace the 86-yard 13th hole at the Signal Hill Golf Course in Panama City, Fla. The witnesses were Will Harper, Harry Fields and Bart Irby.