Originally created 09/12/99

River Club could become new player in Regions Cup

About the only problem with the recently completed Regions Cup amateur golf season was its schedule.

There were simply too many gaps in the spring/summer leg of the series. Since those tournaments come at the beginning of the series, it's hard to keep momentum and interest going.

Of the eight tournaments this season, two were in July and four in August. After the Gordon Uhl/Golf Capital Invitational kicked the series off May 15-16, it was four weeks before the next tournament, the Persimmon Hill Classic. After that, it was another three weeks before the Augusta City Amateur.

It's hard to create much excitement when there are only three tournaments in a seven-week stretch.

Help may be on the way. The River Golf Club in North Augusta is interested in playing host to a Regions Cup event in 2000. What's more, the course wants a date somewhere in the spring/summer.

"I'd love to have one," said River Golf Club head pro Chris Verdery. "We just need to come up with dates that are good for both of us. It would probably be better for us in the spring or late June. I think the course would be in great shape then and the weather would be OK."

The River Golf Club would be a welcome addition to the series. It is already strong, thanks to Regions Bank's support this year (the series started in 1988 as the Cadillac Cup and ran through 1998). The 18-month-old River Golf Club is unquestionably one of the area's top courses.

"Some people have asked me if we'd have a Regions Cup tournament," Verdery said. "I think they would like to have one out here."

It's always interesting to guess how the top players in the area will do in a Regions Cup event at a certain course. When the W.M. Gregory Classic debuted on the circuit four years ago at the North Augusta Country Club, some people thought the field would shoot some serious low numbers there. It didn't happen. The tournament record is only 5-under-par 139. This season, 2-over-par won it.

The River Golf Club is one of the tougher layouts around to start with, so don't expect anyone to go deep if a Regions Cup event is held there.

"I would say, for the scratch to five handicappers, depending on the weather conditions, we could set it up where they couldn't break 75," Verdery said. "Then we could also set it up where the rough was down and the pins accessible and the good players could shoot near par. It's a pretty challenging course, but there are some birdies to be had out there. It's a good, fair test."

Indeed, at least one golfer has departed the course leaving Old Man Par in his rear view mirror. Clemson golfer Brennen King of Aiken recently set a course record from the back tees, firing a 7-under-par 65. King started his round with a bogey on the first hole, then struck for birdies on Nos. 5, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 18. He shot even-par 36 on the front nine and 7-under-par 29 on the back. King also has course record at Palmetto with a 61.

FALL LEAGUE: A Fall Golf League for men and women cranks up this week at the Augusta Golf Course and runs through Oct. 21. There will be Tuesday night and Thursday night leagues. The cost, $10 per player who competes that week, covers nine-hole green fee and cart. Each week, two players on each four-player roster will play. However, the other two players on the team can play at the discounted rate, but their scores won't count. The format is each week is a two-man scramble. The teams will be placed in divisions based on handicap. Golfers can sign up through Tuesday afternoon and Thursday afternoon of this week for either league.

PALMETTO GOLF CLUB: The team of Jamie Crain, Berry Crain and James Nichols shot 250 to win the James R. Frew Memorial tournament by eight shots. The 54-hole event followed a captain's choice format the first day, best ball the second day and two best balls the second day. Breaking a five-way tie for second place at 258 in a match of cards was the team of Dale Overcash, Dick Verenes and Jack Owens.


David Westin at (706) 823-3215.


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