Published 8/11/2012 in Pro-Am
By KEVIN THOMPSON
Teams took advantage of ideal weather and course conditions in Friday's opening round of amateur play in the Southwest Kansas Pro-Am.
Becky Malewitz/Telegram Amateur golfer Mike Brown, hits the ball Friday during the Southwest Kansas Pro-Am at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course.
Becky Malewitz/Telegram Golf Pro Michael Arnaud, right, hi-fives teammate Greg Brown and Andy Smarsh Friday during the Southwest Kansas Pro-Am at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course.
Whether they started in the morning or the afternoon, teams were treated to a rare phenomenon at both Buffalo Dunes and The Golf Club at Southwindâï-- cooler summer temperatures and very light breezes.
At Buffalo Dunes (par 72), the team of Jay Main, Mike Henry, Clark Churchill and Marty Cook birdied its first 16 holes to finish at 16-under 56. They teed off first at 7:30.
Two strokes behind at 14-under 58 was Mike Shook, Jason Poole, Brian Winter and Jason Thronbrough. They teed off at 12:33.
They led two groups that finished at 59 (13-under), also splitting tee times.
Two groups shot 13-under 58s at Southwind (par 71) to lead Friday's charge just down the road.
Both groups teed off in the afternoon. Coming in with the best score first was the noon group of Tyler Schiffelbein, John Washington, Matt Kirchoff and Bill Schmecker, starting on the back nine.
The 12:33 foursome of Virgilio Taduran, Jessie Guzman, Dan Zimmerman and Tom Bell started on the front nine.
Two other groups, splitting tee times, came in at 12-under par 59.
"We kind of ham-and-egged it a little bit," Schiffelbein said in describing his group's four-birdie start followed by a par, two more birdies and two pars to open their round.
"Our big thing was we had four 2s on the par-3s. That's four birdies," he said. "We didn't chip anything in; we didn't make any long putts. We just played solid."
Playing with professional Brian Friederichs, who shot a 68, helped the group, Schiffelbein said.
"He was a great guy. He hit a lot of great tee shots, which helped us so we could relax a little bit," he said. "He was a great putter. He helped us read a lot of putts."
What wind there was at the start of their round was tough to play in, he added, but hitting it close to the pin helped.
"We managed the holes that, if the wind was going to be tough, that was it," he said.
They had 17 chances at birdies and drained 13. Not bad, Schiffelbein said.
Playing partner Matt Kirchoff echoed him.
"It was an all-around team effort. John's a great ball striker and Tyler's got great accuracy," he said. "Some of our putts were 15 or 20 feet, but everybody was making them. I've never seen golf like that before."
Jud Price, playing in an early group that finished one stroke back, was happy with his team's 59.
"We got very lucky on some putts," he said. "Seriously. We made about five 20-foot-plus putts. We just couldn't shoot close enough to the pins."
The par-3s proved difficult for his group, Price said.
"We birdied everything else, except the par-3s owned us until 16," he said, shaking his head.
Kendall Kepley's group, the last of the day, also shot a 59, but he was surprised the scores overall weren't lower, given the conditions.
"It was beautiful. I'm surprised there weren't more 56s and 57s," he said.
Pin placements were challenging, he added, but the putts rolled true.
All groups hope for more of the same today when they switch courses for the final round. Winds are expected to be stronger all day.
"I think we can carry things over because of the way we played," Schiffelbein said. "If we play the same way at Buffalo Dunes,âïif we hit the fairway and hit the green,âïif we play the same style tomorrow, I think we have a really good chance."
His group tees off at 7:30 a.m., while Taduran's foursome goes at 8:03a.m.
The leaders will tee off at Southwind at noon, while Shook's group will start at 8:03 a.m.
See results in Scoreboard, Page D2.
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