Published 8/5/2011 in Pro-Am
By BRETT MARSHALL
At the halfway point of the 32nd annual Southwest Kansas Pro-Am Adams Golf Pro Tour Series, there's clearly one thing that you can count on.
Brad Nading/Telegram Wil Collins, Albuquerque, N.M., drives a fairway shot on to the green Thursday on Buffalo Dunes Golf Course's No. 18 during the second round of the Southwest Kansas Pro-Am.
Brad Nading/Telegram Anthony Broussard, Addison, Texas, tees off Buffalo Dunes Golf Course's No. 4 hole Thursday during the second round of the Southwest Kansas Pro-Am.
Brad Nading/Telegram Matt Boyd, Sugar Land, Texas, putts for par on Buffalo Dunes Golf Course's No. 9 Thursday during the second round of the Southwest Kansas Pro-Am.
Nobody in the field of 104 professionals is running away with the tournament.
After defending champion Wil Collins claimed a one-stroke lead after Wednesday's first round at The Golf Club at Southwind, the top of the leaderboard became more crowded as now three players share the 36-hole lead.
Matt Boyd of Sugar Land, Texas, Kane Webber of Denver and Todd Rossetti of Plano, Texas, all stand at 10-under-par 133 following Thursday's second round at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course. Boyd and Webber had 5-under-par 67s while Rossetti came in with a 66.
"Your goal is just to keep going out and trying to shoot the lowest score possible, because there's so many good players who can do the same," Boyd said. "The key for me today was that so far my driver has been behaving. I hit my wedges pretty good and I dropped in a couple of putts. The Dunes is a little bit more forgiving if you miss a shot than Southwind."
Today, the field of 54 remaining pros who made the cut at even par 143 will play at both the Dunes and Southwind. Leaders tee off early in the afternoon and are paired for the first of two days with teams of four amateur players. The lowest scores at the Dunes today will then switch and play the final round for the $100,000, 72-hole event at Southwind on Saturday.
For Thursday, however, the story was the crowded leaderboard.
Two players are just a shot back at 134 — Jonathan Moore (66-68) of Champions Gate, Fla., and Derek Tolan (66-68) of Highlands Ranch, Colo. Four more players are at 135 and another three at 136, making 12 players within three shots of the top.
Collins of Albuquerque, N.M., shot a 2-under-par 70 to finish at 135 along with Ben Cuzen of Dallas and Charlie Soule of Longmont, Colo.
Boyd, who has played some Hooters and Nationwide Tour events this summer, said this week's event was the first for him to play on the bentgrass greens.
"There's less grain and the ball rolls truer," Boyd said. "You can be more aggressive here after the rain softened up the course. The ball just stops where you hit it."
Boyd's round had a little bit of everything, most important were the eight birdies. He hit 16 of the 18 greens in regulation and had 29 putts. Boyd had one bogey and a double bogey, which came at the par-4 sixth when his tee shot got stuck in a tree about 10-feet above the ground and he was forced to take an unplayable lie penalty.
For Webber, a native Australian but a Denver resident for the past 12 years, his round of 67 was much like Boyd's in that he had one double bogey at the par-3 fourth but got those back with an eagle at the par-5 16th when he knocked a 3-wood on the green from 268 yards and drained a 65-foot putt from the back of the green.
Webber, who has played in several Pro-Ams, said the lack of wind through two days was something different than his previous experiences.
"Never played the courses this way," Webber said. "You can be more aggressive. It hit several short irons close and was able to make the putts. I made the most of my opportunities."
Webber said he had been playing well lately, citing a 28th place finish at the Colorado Open.
"I feel comfortable here, knowing the courses," Webber said. "Playing with the amateurs the next two days is real different. You have to keep your visualization good and you have to push yourself a little more. But honestly, if a person plays well you've got a chance."
Rossetti has been the biggest surprise of the three leaders.
The Pro-Am is just his third tournament of the year after he spent time on the unable to play list from October of 2010 to May due to surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left thumb, a critical part of any player's grip on the club.
"I feel fresh, and a buddy of mine gave me some tips right before the tournament and they seem to be working," Rossetti said. "I'm just grateful to be playing at the moment."
Rossetti spent his time off caddying at Preston Trail Golf Club in Dallas and also selling hail insurance for a friend of his.
"I much prefer the golf to selling insurance," Rossetti said. "I'm so competitive that I just expect to do play well even though I was off that long."
He said that his iron play was consistent throughout his round and that putts began to fall.
"They just started rolling in and it was a great feeling," Rossetti said. "I rolled it good (Wednesday) and (Thursday) I just made a few more."
The Texan first played in the Pro-Am a decade ago but didn't appear from 2004-08. He is now playing in his third straight event here.
"The conditions are so much different than we usually see," Rossetti said. "I prefer the hay (native fescue grasses) to be high and I like some wind. But I'm doing well so I won't complain."
See results in Scoreboard, Page B2.
New hole toughens Dunes
For those golfers who have professed to believe that Buffalo Dunes Golf Course is the pushover course of the two venues for the Southwest Kansas Pro-Am, think again.
Despite near ideal playing conditions — cooler temperature and virtually no wind once again — the 104-player professional field averaged only 72.13.
Part of that may have been the addition of a new tee on the par-5 first hole, previously a 548-yarder that was easy for players who bomb their tee shots out 300 or more yards.
A new tee, now measured at 605 yards, was built specifically for the Pro-Am and made its debut on Thursday to rave reviews.
The new tee forces the golfer to make a concerted decision — does he hit his driver and risk hitting into the pair of fairway bunkers that guard each side of the landing area at approximately 290 yards? Or does he hit a fairway wood to layup short, then forcing the player to layup well in front of the green that leaves a short wedge into the green for a third shot?
Whatever the decisions made, the field averaged 5.16 strokes, tying it for the third toughest hole of the day.
The 392-yard, par-4 ninth was the hardest, playing to a stroke average of 4.33. The 195-yard, par-3 fourth, was second toughest at 3.17. The first hole shared third-place with the 400-yard, par-4 sixth, which played at a 4.16 average score.
Of the four par-5s, the remaining three (Nos. 5, 13 and 16) all played under par, resulting in an average of 4.85 for the day. The four par-3s averaged 3.05 while the 10 par-4s came out with a 4.05 average.
Eleven eagles were registered, eight of those coming on the short 515-yard, par-5 13th. There were 337 birdies, 1,155 pars, 291 bogeys, 36 double bogeys and six others.
Withdrawals: Two notable withdrawals before the tournament began were Independence native and now Lawrence resident Chris Thompson, and Wichita's Ryan Spears.
Thompson, last year's Pro-Am runner-up at 18-under-par, and Spears, who tied for ninth, qualified last week for the Nationwide Tour's Cox Classic in Omaha. In the 18-hole qualifier at Tiburon Golf Club, both players shot shot a 7-under-par 65s to share second place.
In Thursday's first round at Champions Run in Omaha Spears had a 6-under-par 66 and was tied for 22nd. Thompson shot a 2-under-par 69. The projected cut was at 3-under-par.
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