With everyone playing “up” from a set of modified white tees during the first round of the Quincy Men’s City Tournament at Westview, golfers can’t help but salivate a little bit.
All of the top players play from the championship tees whenever and wherever they play. The city tournament has done it differently for the last several years. Still, scoring was hard to come by at Westview during Saturday’s opening round.
Though it was a perfect day temperature-wise, the wind was steady all day long, making the course play longer than it usually does. Add in fast greens and tough pin placements and Westview wasn’t a very forgiving track.
“It’s still Westview,” said 2005 champ Adam Pfeiffer, who was one of the few to finish under par with a 3-under 68. “They cut the greens and they were fast. It was difficult putting today.”
Pfeiffer said the Westview greens were probably a 10.5 on the stimpmeter. A long-time Westview player, Pfeiffer guessed the greens usually play around a 9.5. To put that in perspective, most PGA Tour courses are set at least to at least 11 on the stimpmeter.
Only four players broke par on Saturday — leader Luke Guthrie (6-under 65), Pfeiffer, Tim Eaton (2-under 69) and Parker Freiburg (2-under 69).
The entire championship flight will be moved back to the customary championship tee markers for Sunday’s final round.
Injury to insult: A tough day on the course turned into a painful one for defending men’s city champion Ryan Franks.
He was hit by a ball form one of his playing partners, Nathan Russell. While trying to punch out from under a tree on No. 16, Russell’s ball caromed off a tree and hit Franks in the left side. He had a small welt on his left forearm as a result of the hit.
“My belt saved me,” Franks said. “I actually started hit the ball better after that though.”
Franks finished with a 6-over 77.
Who’s your caddy?: Five-time defending women’s city champion Emily Powers plopped down on a bench behind the Westview clubhouse Saturday and couldn’t help but smile.
“I didn’t miss a shot today,” she said.
Instead of playing in the women’s event, she caddied for Tim Schrage in the men’s event. Schrage has caddied for Powers several times, including last year’s city tourney win.
With Powers doing the heavy lifting, Schrage finished with a 6-over 77.
Women’s first-round leader Trina Casburn got a little help, too, during her opening round. She had Katie Dorsey, the executive director of the First Tee of Great River, on her bag.
“Katie made a huge difference,” Casburn said.
Chuck Mahon didn’t need any human help. Playing in the group behind the marquee pairing of Luke Guthrie-Ryan Franks-Parker Freiburg, Mahon let his electronic caddy do all of the rough work.
Best headware by any caddy — heck anyone on the Westview grounds on Saturday — belonged to Guthrie’s caddy, Sean Huebotter. Huebotter was sporting a some type of straw hat. If you didn’t already know who Guthrie was, all you had to do was look for the guy with the hat.
“He wore it to play poker one night and decided to wear it out today,” said Guthrie, who was asked by some spectators on the 18th tee box if he would wear the hat for Sunday’s final round.
Huebotter will not be on Guthrie’s bag on Sunday. That honor will go to Guthrie’s older brother, Zach, a former city champion in his own right who is now an assistant coach at the University of Illinois.
DOBservations: There were 11 former champions in the men’s city field. I inadvertantly left Dennis Cashman, who won in 1967, out of my list in Friday’s preview story. … Among the notable scratches on Saturday was two-time men’s city champion Ryan Graff, who couldn’t play because of a back injury. … The women’s field lost one of its players when 12-year-old Lucy Clark, who has played well on the junior golf circuit, withdrew on Saturday morning.