Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

May 3, 2014

KELLEY: Golfers cure cabin fever

Volunteers helped clean up American Legion G.C. after last fall's tornado


Kokomo Tribune

---- — After near-record snow and near-record cold, local golfers have been able to cure their cabin fever with some nice weather and trips to the local golf courses.

I am eager to see how last fall’s tornado damage has changed the appearance of the American Legion golf course the next time I play it. After the storm last November, you could stand on the No. 2 tee and not see the green for all the debris in the fairway. Some of the toppled trees left holes in the ground more than 3 feet deep. I saw a two-by-four embedded about 18 inches into the ground facing west from the swirling wind. Think of the force that takes. There was a sign on top of the fence saying “Do not climb the fence” — but the fence was then about 2 feet off the ground and you could easily step over it.

Many volunteers since have returned the course to as near to normal as can be. But the next you stand on some of the teeing grounds, I am sure something will look a little different from when you played last year.

LOOKING AT LAST YEAR

The following are the top 2013 performances by local players in tournaments sponsored by the IGA and IWGA.

• Ben-Marvin Egel finished in a tie for third place in the Indiana Amateur at South Bend Country Club. Egel’s total for four rounds was 5-over par 289.

• Kristi Cardwell won her second straight Indiana Women’s Open with a 7-under par score of 137 at Purgatory Golf Course in Noblesville. After opening with a 5-under par 67 Cardwell closed with a round of 70. Allison Lindley finished in sixth place with rounds of 70 and 79.

• Tim Miller finished in second place at the George L. Coleman Amateur Invitational at Seminole GC in the Seniors Division.

Who will step up and represent Kokomo this year?

MASTERS CUT LINE

Each year the Masters sets the cut line at 50 players plus ties or those within 10 strokes of the lead. Most PGA Tour events will take 72 players plus ties. Fan favorite Phil Mickelson missed the cut by a single stroke after shooting 5-over par for the first 36 holes. Had he still been in the field, he could have shot a 65 and 66 to tie the ultimate champion Bubba Watson. Maybe the Masters should consider widening the number of players for the weekend. After all, these players would still have a small chance of winning and wouldn’t that make a spectacular story!

MASTERS FOR LEFTIES

Watson captured his second Masters this year. So now left-handers have won six of the last 12 Master’s titles. The shot shape needed to play well is a right-to-left one which for lefties is a controllable fade. Bubba’s 360-yard blast on the par-5 13th hole set up a wedge to the green. Will the next set of course modifications make it tougher for lefties? Will they now “Bubba-proof” it like they tried to “Tiger-proof” it?

THE OTHER WOODS

A well-known Woods has won another golf tournament already this year. But it wasn’t Tiger! It was his niece Cheyenne. In February, she captured the Ladies European Tour Volvik RACV Australian Ladies Masters title. How’s that for a long name?The 23-year old finished 16-under par to win her first title on a major professional tour. Woods failed to win her 2014 LPGA Tour card in December at Q-School so she will continue her career on the Symetra Tour.

BOUGHER GOLF STORY

Some of the golfing Delphi retirees out there will remember Gerry Bougher. He organized a couple of golf events each year, one of which was to the Speedway during the week leading up to the race. Paul Wagner tells a great Bougher story. For those of you that didn’t know Gerry, he was a little unusual, had a great sense of humor and had a stutter which seemed to make his storytelling even funnier.

After Gerry retired, he spent time in Florida and was a ranger at an exclusive country club he wasn’t even allowed to play. The pro shop got a call about slow play so Gerry goes out to investigate. He tells the group to pick up their pace only to have one of the players say “Do you know who I am?” Gerry gets on his walkie talkie to the pro shop and says — likely stuttering — “there’s a guy out here who doesn’t know who HE is!”

Apparently, Gerry didn’t know who HE was either. Gerry might have gotten a few laughs but not the last one. Gerry was fired the next week.

If you have a great golf story, share it with me and maybe it will make one of these articles.

Until next time, have more fun playing more golf!

Jon Kelley is an active golfer and local golf historian who contributes columns to the Tribune. He may be reached by email at jon_kelley@comcast.net.