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Ulysses Pioneer Shootout kicks off Pro-Am week

Published 8/4/2012 in Pro-Am


ULYSSES — A year ago, Bentwood Golf Course and its new manager, Danny Watson, became the second area community and golf facility to be part of the annual Southwest Kansas Pro-Am golf tournament, played each August in Garden City at The Golf Club at Southwind and Buffalo Dunes Golf Course.

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Telegram photo Brandon Nau, Ulysses, reacts after sinking a 30-foot putt for par on the Bentwood No. 18 hole in August in Ulysses.

Telegram photo Brandon Nau, Ulysses, reacts after sinking a 30-foot putt for par on the Bentwood No. 18 hole in August in Ulysses.

For several years in the mid 2000s, Syracuse and Tamarisk Golf Course played host to a one-day event to kickoff Pro-Am week. Ulysses' venture into being a tournament supporter came at a time when Bentwood was moving from a nine-hole course to an 18-hole layout.

They did it by securing local business Pioneer Electric as the title sponsor. They will once again be the title sponsor for Monday's 18-hole Ulysses Pioneer Shootout at Bentwood.

"So far, we've got eight teams registered and we'll close it out at 15," said Beth Koksal, Pro-Am Tournament Coordinator. "I think the event went really well last year and the Ulysses folks were pleased to be part of the tournament."

Watson, too, said that he had heard nothing but good things from both the amateur players and the professionals, who competed for just over $3,000 in prize money for the day.

"It was an awesome event for us to be part of the Pro-Am," Watson said. "Cole (Buffalo Dunes pro Wasinger) came to us and asked us to be part of the Pro-Am, so I think we're all feeling good about being able to make some contribution to St. Catherine Hospital and the Pro-Am. The pros enjoyed the course and I thought for the first year we had a great turnout."

Just as it did a year ago, Bentwood has been facing struggles to keep up with the torrid heat of the summer temperatures, but Watson said the now third-year 18-hole course was holding up well.

"I think the course is 100 percent better," said Watson, who doubles as both manager and superintendent. "We've had a chance to implement some programs to take care of the course. Even with the high heat, I think the course is doing pretty well. The greens are in pretty good shape and that's what everyone remembers."

The 1 p.m. shotgun start will have professionals who will compete later in the week in the 72-hole Pro-Am championship paired with teams of three amateurs.

"We'll do much of what we did last year," Watson said. "We'll have beverages, fruit on the course and we'll do a cookout for the participants."

Last year, there was a playoff between Tyler Neal of Tucson, Ariz. and Nick Mason of Denver after the two tied for low honors at 2-under-par 70 on a hot, windswept afternoon. The weather forecast for Monday is much the same.

Neal earned a payoff of $1,200 for his one-day victory and Watson said it was a great way to end the day's event.

"I think people liked the playoff better than doing it by scorecard or just splitting the first and second-place amounts," Watson said. "We had a number of the amateur teams go out and follow the playoff."

The sudden death playoff went to the third hole before Neal slammed home a 30-foot birdie putt to claim the top spot for the day.

"I think the folks here who participated are open to us being part of the Pro-Am," Watson said. "We've got a few people who might not want the money to go outside Ulysses, but I look at it in that we have people who go to Garden City for their care and this is just a great way to support an event that benefits all of southwest Kansas."

The amateur team of Randy McCauley, Donovan McCauley and Kirby Garrison also claimed a three-hole playoff win for top honors by defeating the team of Scott Bulkley, Abbi Shaddix and Brady Buxman.

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