Saturday, June 23, 2007

Public Links tourney on tap


This much is certain: This weekend's 13th annual, 36-hole Public Links Championship at Eagle Bend Golf Course will not have a repeat victor.

Last year's champion, Tyler Cummins, a former Kansas State University golfer, now works for the Kansas Golf Association and will help run the Junior Team Championship in Newton instead of competing at Eagle Bend.

"If he was playing, he would obviously be one of the favorites to win," said Casey Old, KGA director of rules and competition.

Despite Cummins' absence, the championship features a strong field. The golfers range from high schoolers to current college golfers to varsity lettermen from several local schools, including Kansas, Kansas State and Wichita State.

"You get all of the best players from all of the public courses in Kansas," said Conrad Roberts, one of the noteworthy participants. "Whoever wins it should be very proud."

The contest, which begins at 7 a.m. today with 18 holes, was scheduled to have 112 participants, none of whom belong to a private golf course. The tournament does not feature any cuts, but officials will re-seed the golfers on Sunday according to today's scores.

Those who could receive a high seed for Sunday's holes include KSU golfers Joe Ida and Kyle Smell, former Jayhawks Roberts and Chad Roesler and Wichita State rising freshman Jordan Smith.

"The field (was) going to be open if Tyler was playing or not," Roberts said. "Tyler is a good player, but there are so many good players that can possibly win this tournament."

Roberts, who played at KU from 1997 to 2001, teamed with Roseler, a 1995 KU graduate, to win the KGA Four-Ball Championship at Alvamar Golf Course on June 9.

"I've been playing really well lately," said Roberts. "I'd like to think, going into the Pub Links, that I've got a chance to come away with a win or at least be competitive on the last nine holes on Sunday."

With a thick rough and well placed water hazards, Eagle Bend presents unique challenges.

"If you get kind of squirrely with your tee shots and start missing fairways, it can become a pretty difficult golf course," Old said. "There's a lot of holes out there that if you don't put it on the fairway off the tee, you're going to struggle to make par."


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