Sanders paces field through first round of tourneyJuly 16, 2018
By JONATHAN SAXON
HUNTINGBURG — Those with keen eyes and intentions to test their mettle on the green may have noticed that local golf courses around the area were packed this past weekend. No, the PGA did not come through southern Indiana (though one could always dream). Instead, local players packed up their golf bags and dusted off the old spikes to participate in the 49th annual Dubois County men’s amateur golf tournament.
The first round took place this past Saturday and Sunday at the Buffalo Trace and Huntingburg Country Club courses as the initial pool of 53 golfers used their drivers, irons, and putters to determine who would make the cut for this Sunday’s final round at Sultan’s Run Golf Club.
Jasper’s own Jeff Sanders emerged as the tourney leader after the opening 36 holes, posting a score of 136 to pace all golfers. Not bad for the guy’s first outing in the event.
“It’s been good. I played really nicely (on Saturday),” Sanders said. “A little choppier (on Sunday), it wasn’t quite as smooth, but I came out okay.”
Sanders, the former golf pro at Sultan’s Run Golf Club and winner of the 2007 PGA Indiana Open, said that being consistent and conservative were his keys to making his way to the top of the leaderboard after the first two days. He didn’t try to do anything fancy and he has played both courses enough that nothing out there caught him by surprise, even with the slight rain that showered the tournament’s action on Sunday.
“I kept the ball in front of me, getting it on the greens and making a few putts here and there,” he said. “I had one bad hole. I made a double bogey on a pretty easy hole (on Sunday), but other than that I made all pars and birdies. It wasn’t too bad.”
So what kind of preparation did Sanders use in order to put himself in the best position to succeed this past weekend? According to the man himself, not that much outside of a pretty leisurely playing schedule.
“I don’t do much preparing, I’m pretty much a weekend golfer,” Sanders said. “I played a lot of golf over the years, so you just take what you have, go out and try your best. So far it’s worked out nice.”
That runs counter to the approach of Ian Weyer, who sits in second place in the tournament after posting a score of 138.
“I’ve been practicing a lot because I haven’t played very well the past two years,” he said. “I just wasn’t very happy with my performances before. I’m trying hard and it’s paying off.”
This is Weyer’s ninth year in the tournament and his best start by far.
He said he would go to the driving range during the week and he also used the weekends to get in as many golf games as he possibly could in preparation for this year’s action. He thinks he could still use a little work on his driving, but with his midrange game he was able to overcome difficulties with his long ball.
“The iron play was by far the best,” said Weyer. “I did not drive the ball very good either of the two days. I putting was really good and bad at the same time. It was very inconsistent.”
But despite some of the struggles he had to work through, Weyer was able to exceed his personal expectations by far after the first two days of play. He had hoped to shoot a 74 at Buffalo Trace and a 72 at Huntingburg — he finished shooting 69 at both courses.
“I had high expectations, but not this high,” he said.
However, Ian does have someone to thank a little bit for some help with the kinks during the tourney — his brother Cam, who won last year’s County Am, offered a bit of advice on how to improve his putting.
“He had his hands sitting too low and I just said raise your hands a smidge and get that putter square,” said Cam, who played golf for Jasper High School and University of Evansville. “I gave him one little putting tip and he told me he listened to my putting tip and he started rolling it.”
Cam is also in the thick of it after shooting 139 through Sunday’s play to round out the top three scores in the tournament. He’s looking forward to Sunday’s final round for the chance to defend his crown and give himself a shot at a third victory in the County Am.
“I’m pretty excited about where I’m at and interested in seeing what I’m able to do next week,” he said.
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