E.A. Sports Today

Oakmont through local eyes

Early-week rain doesn’t dampen Szuch’s enthusiasm for being at U.S. Open venue; Cole leads Gadsden Invitational; Burgess-Beam lead Parent-Child

Crews work to restore Oakmont's bunkers after Thursday's heavy rains. On the cover, inside the ropes on No. 3. (Photos by Kenny Szuch via Facebook)

Crews work to restore Oakmont’s bunkers after Thursday’s heavy rains. On the cover, inside the ropes on No. 3. (Photos by Kenny Szuch via Facebook)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

It has been three long days in the first two and a half rounds of the U.S. Open, and Kenny Szuch has been there for every bit of it. In fact, he couldn’t imagine being anywhere else – regardless of the conditions — when the national championship is staged at his beloved Oakmont.

Through his close connections at the club, the Cane Creek pro snagged a plum assignment for the championship: Working the practice range during the four days of competition.

He doesn’t have much interaction with the players – after all, they’re working – but he’s as close to them as anybody from Calhoun County can get this week.

It’s sunny in Western Pennsylvania now and looking like there will be the desirable Sunday finish – barring a Monday playoff, of course – but Thursday was a mess that still was an inconvenience for the enormous crowds on the weekend.

Heavy rains that swept through the area and suspended the round Thursday turned some of the public areas on the grounds into a muddy mess. Szuch wouldn’t be surprised if it took a million dollars to repair the damage before the course opens back to members June 29.

“It was a total disaster,” Szuch said. “They were not prepared for what to do in case it rained … They didn’t bring in any mulch, straw, anything, and all these walkways just turned into six inches of pure mud. People were slipping, sliding, fall down … everywhere.

“I would give Augusta and the Masters committee an A-plus; there’s nothing they’re not prepared for — an A-plus on what they do for the patrons; they’re more concerned with the patron experience than the player. The one advantage is they know they’re coming every year, (the U.S. Open) is a one-week stand. I’m going to (give the USGA) a C-minus to D for the patrons.”

But inside the ropes it’s all high marks. After the rain, armies of workers went out in force, doing what it took to get it into playing shape.

“I was out walking around Thursday and talking to John Zimmers (the Oakmont superintendent),” Szuch said. “We were on 4 green and walked to the bunker on 8, the one that’s 100 yards long. I said I feel so bad. This was so perfect and now in a few hours it’s just been destroyed.

“He said you gotta do what you’ve gotta do. They had cranes up with lights, worked all night. I couldn’t believe the bunkers Friday when I got back out there. They were perfect.”

Szuch’s duties around the range haven’t left much time to watch golf this week, but he hopes to get out Sunday once the final group tees off and the crowd at his location thins out a bit. If there’s a Monday playoff, he’ll be back in Anniston watching it on television.

As much as he enjoys being there, part of his Oakmont experience leaves him wanting.

“I’m spoiled,” he said. “I want to hit some shots.”

For that, he’ll just have to wait until October when he makes his annual pilgrimage to play in the club’s fall SWAT.

COLE LEADS GADSDEN: Ty Cole eagled two holes and shot 6-under-par 65 Saturday to open a five-shot lead after the second round of the Gadsden CC Invitational.

Cole, winner of the amateur side of last week’s Fort McClellan Credit Union Pro-Invitational at Cane Creek, eagled the par-4 ninth and par-5 12th. He stands at 6-under 136 for the championship.

“It was just solid all day,” he said. “A few more eight-footers, it could have been real good. … Gonna try a little less drama this week.”

Chad Calvert of Boaz and Bo Hayes of Southside are tied for second (141) after shooting 68 and 70, respectively. First-round leader Kevin Daugherty shot 74 and is seven shots back.

ACC PARENT-CHILD: Garrett Burgess and Drennan Beam shot 7-under 63 and lead the annual Parent-Child Tournament at Anniston Country Club by two shots.

Scott and Brennan Clay are tied for second with Randy and Logan Archer at 65. Defending champions T.J. McGatha and Jeremy McGatha shot 67.

Michael and Haden Downey (57) hold a one-shot lead in the net division.

Championship A

Ty Cole 71-65—136
Chad Calvert 73-68—141
Bo Hayes 71-70—141
Harrison Martin 70-72—144
Clay Guerin 74-68—142
Kevin Daugherty 69-74—143

Championship B
Rad Downey 79-67—146
Tanner Roberts 74-73—147
Corbin Holland 75-72—147
Scott Martin 75-74—149
Dane Moore 76-73—149
Caleb McKinney 72-77—149
Josh Ashley 78-72—150

Championship C
Scott Smith 72-83—155
Dustin Underwood 79-76—155
Clay Smith 76-82—158
Mark Durden 77-81—158
Thomas McConnell 78-80—158
Chad Maples 78-81—159
Luke Armstrong 79-81—160
Clayton Chandler 79-84—163
Chris Cox 79-87—166

First flight
Chad Reavis 71
Blake Erwin 75
Jon Bailey 75
Rocky Chapman 76
Danny Dunlap 76
Mark Cantrell 77
Greg Campbell 77
Don Sutton 77
Ryan Moore 77

Second flight
Jeff Roberts 79
Mark Spurlock 79
Larry Gilchrist 80
Wesley Watkins 80
Mark Reeves 80
Andrew Ford 83
Steve Lee 83
Jeff Hammontree 86
J.T. Wright 88
Trey Vice 95

Roscoe Johnson Jr. 73
Gary Hopper 75
Wayne Downey 77
Wayne Ball 79
Larry Grimes 80
Roger Jenkins 83
Ron Bousman 89
Ron Eiland 93
Larry Tierce 107

Sunday’s pairings
8 a.m. – Ron Bousman, Ron Eiland, Larry Tierce
8:10 – Roger Jenkins, Larry Grimes, Wayne Ball
8:20 – Roscoe Johnson Jr., Gary Hopper, Wayne Downey
8:30 – Trey Vice, J.T. Wright, Jeff Hammontree
8:40 – Andrew Ford, Steve Lee, Wesley Watkins
8:50 – Jeff Roberts, Mark Spurlock, Mark Reeves
9:00 – Starter’s Time
9:10 – Mark Cantrell, Greg Campbell, Don Sutton
9:20 – Rocky Chapman, Danny Dunlap, Ryan Moore
9:30 – Chad Reavis, Blake Erwin, Jon Bailey
9:40 – Luke Armstrong, Clayton Chandler, Chris Cox
9:50 – Tommy McConnell, Clay Smith, Chad Maples
10:00 – Scott Smith, Dustin Underwood, Mark Durden
10:10 – Scott Martin, Dane Moore, Josh Ashley
10:20 – Rad Downey, Tanner Roberts, Corbin Holland
10:30 – Starter’s Time
10:40 – Harrison Martin, Clay Guerin, Kevin Daugherty
10:50 – Ty Cole, Chad Calvert, Bo Hayes

At Anniston Country Club

Gross Division
Flight 1

Garrett Burgess-Drennan Beam 63
Scott Clay-Brennan Clay 65
Randy Archer-Logan Archer 65
T.J. McGatha-Jeremy McGatha 67
Rich Santagata-Rich Santagata Jr. 68
Rob Svensen-Jack Svensen 69
Rob Svensen-Ross Svensen 70
Kevin Wells-Tanner Wells 72
Matt Rogers-Isabel Rogers 72
Clay Calkins-Tyler Calkins 72
Graham Morrow-Caleb Morrow 72
Michael Downey-Haden Downey 72
Don Whitlow-Mike Whitlow 72

Flight 2
Frank Turner-Richard Turner 73
Guice Potter III-Guice Potter IV 73
Don Whitlow-Rusty Whitlow 73
Mike Hughston-Harrison Hughston 74
Michael Travis-Dustin Travis 74
Don Whitlow-Trey Sawyer 75
Michael Downey-Ethan Miles Jamison 75
Rusty Whitlow-Gantt Whitlow 75
Kevin Wells-Tyler Wells 78
Joseph Lambert-Cal Lambert 80
Ken Howell-Keith Howell 81
Don Whitlow-Gantt Whitlow 83
Jip Peoples-Jake Peoples 85

Net Division
Michael Downey-Haden Downey 57
Rusty Whitlow-Gantt Whitlow 58
Clay Calkins-Tyler Calkins 58
Graham Morrow-Caleb Morrow 58
Don Whitlow-Gantt Whitlow 59
Kevin Wells-Tanner Wells 59
Michael Downey-Ethan Miles Jamison 60
Don Whitlwo-Mike Whitlow 61
Matt Rogers-Isabel Rogers 61
Don Whitlow-Trey Sawyer 61
Frank Turner-Richard Turner 61
Rob Svensen-Jack Svensen 61
T.J. McGatha-Jeremy McGatha 61
Garrett Burgess-Drennan Beam 62
Scott Clay-Brennan Clay 63
Rob Svensen-Ross Svensen 63
Rich Santagata-Rich Santagata Jr. 63
Randy Archer-Logan Archer 63
Ken Howell-Keith Howell 64
Don Whitlow-Rusty Whitlow 64
Kevin Wells-Tyler Wells 65
Guice Potter III-Guice Potter IV 65
Mike Hughston-Harrison Hughston 66
Michael Travis-Dustin Travis 69
Jip Peoples-Jake Peoples 71
Joseph Lambert-Cal Lambert 71

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