Originally created 06/16/04

Series of one-day amateur events coming to Augusta area

This area is fortunate to have an organized amateur tournament series such as the 10-event Regions Cup, which runs from late April to late August each year.

Still, that leaves eight weekends without events, which is too many for those die-hard tournament golfers out there.

Starting this month, they'll be able to play tournament golf many of those free weekends, and at some courses that aren't part of the Regions Cup schedule.

The Keller Williams Amateur Golf Tour, which is in 37 cities in 15 states, makes its Augusta-area debut June 26 at Cedar Creek Golf Club in Aiken.

The eight-tournament, 18-hole series will run through Oct. 2, when the local finals are held at Jones Creek Golf Club in Evans.

There are two main differences between the Regions Cup and the Keller Williams Tour:

l Regions Cup events are 36 holes (one is 54 holes) while the Keller Williams events are 18 holes, and always on Saturday.

l Keller Williams Tour's top players from the Augusta series qualify for national finals, while the Regions Cup has Ryder Cup-style finals between the top point-getters from Georgia and South Carolina.

"A lot of people can't play full weekends - these are one-day tournaments," said Robert Lever, the Keller Williams tour director for the Augusta series. "Also, they qualify for the national championship, where there will be a broader base of amateurs."

The top point-getters in the four flights of the Keller Williams Tour qualify for the national Tour Championship Oct. 23-24 at Wild Wing Plantation in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The events are pre-flighted, from championship (0-5 handicap), A flight (6-10), B flight (11-18) to C flight (16-20). The championship flight plays the back tees; the others play the white tees.

There is a $70 membership fee, and each tournament in the Augusta series costs between $75 and $85 to play. The top three finishers in each flight will receive merchandise certificates.

In the southeast, Keller Williams has tours in Columbia; Charlotte, N.C.; Charleston, S.C.; Hilton Head Island, S.C.; Atlanta; and Asheville, N.C. Members can play in any event around the country, and their points will count toward the national tournament.

The complete schedule for all the cities can be found at www.kellerwilliamstour.com.

Lever said he tried to avoid conflicts with Regions Cup tournament dates, but four of the Keller Williams tournaments are on Regions Cup weekends.

Two of the Keller Williams tournament sites are also in the Regions Cup schedule - Goshen Plantation Golf Club and Persimmon Hill.

The other courses in the Keller Williams schedule are Cedar Creek, Jones Creek and the River Golf Club. Jones Creek and the River Golf Club have two tournaments.

Most Keller Willliams tournaments draw between 100 and 125 players, Lever said.

"We know we might have a limited field (in the Augusta series) because of the Regions Cup and because we were late starting this year," said Lever, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., but is from Augusta.

Next year, Lever said, the Augusta series might run from late February through October and have 20 events.

The Keller Williams Tour started in 1995 in Charlotte. The national title sponsor is a real estate company.

GREGORY MIXUP: Somehow, Skip Griffin's scorecard for the final round of the recent W.M. Gregory Classic never made it to the computerized scoring system at North Augusta Country Club.

Griffin, who shot a final-round 84 after an opening 88 in the Regions Cup event, had his final-round score posted on the outdoor scoreboard at the course, but it was left blank on the computer printout that was given to the media, including The Augusta Chronicle.

With no score in the column for the final round on the printout, Griffin was given a WD (for withdrawal) in The Chronicle.

Griffin was not happy about that, for good reason.

"The only reason it matters is I don't want to be known as one of those guys who plays bad the first day and takes his ball and goes home," Griffin wrote in an e-mail to The Chronicle. "There are plenty of people who do that and it screws up the tournament.

"Whether I play poorly or play well, I show up and finish what I started, as do most of the guys who enter. It does matter because nobody wants an undeserved reputation as a quitter."

CITY AMATEUR CALL: Entries are being taken for the Augusta City Amateur at Forest Hills Golf Club, which returns to the Regions Cup schedule after a year's absence. The dates are July 16-18, and entries will be cut off after the first 160 players sign up.

The tournament, which started in 1979, wasn't played in 2003 because the course was being renovated and lengthened by 356 yards, to 7,231 yards.

"What will the winning score be? That's a good question, a tough question," said assistant pro Scott Allen. "It depends on how we set the course up."

At any rate, the tournament record of 8-under-par 208, shot by Terry Ezell (1991) and matched by Vaughn Taylor (1997), should be safe.

Another change is the increase in the cost of the entry fee from $85 in 2002 to $130 this year. The reason? Carts are now included in the entry fee.

Golfers must sign up at Forest Hills.

Be warned: this tournament's field always fills up fast.

Reach David Westin at (706) 724-0851 or david.westin@augustachronicle.com.

Keller Williams Tour

Here is the Augusta schedule for the Keller Williams Amateur Golf Tour. All events are 18 holes of stroke play, and will be played on Saturdays.

June 26: Cedar Creek Golf Club
July 10: Jones Creek Golf Club
July 24: The River Golf Club
Aug. 7: Goshen Plantation Golf Club
Aug. 21: Persimmon Hill Golf Course
Sept. 11: Cedar Creek Golf Club
Sept. 19: The River Golf Club
Oct. 2: Jones Creek (local finals)
Oct. 23-24: Tour Championship at Wild Wing Plantation in Myrtle Beach, S.C.For more information, call Augusta tour director Robert Lever at (803) 242-8761.


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