Golfers vying for club crowns

For most area golfers, the true sign of summer’s end is the Kitchen Creek club championships, which are being held there this weekend.
“I think everyone gets that feeling of closure [with the club championships],” noted longtime local golfer Freddie Beck. “It’s the last hurrah and once that’s done, then you only have the fellas who golf here and there–the real diehards.”
Close to 120 club members will vying in six divisions: junior (boys and girls up to age 18), regular (men and women’s), and senior and super-senior in the 36-hole tournament.
Action begins at 8 a.m. tomorrow and Sunday.
“It does put a cap on the year for us,” club assistant Brian Johnstone said. “Everybody goes back to school and the regular run of things. It’s a tradition with almost every club really.
“From here, it’ll just start getting colder.”
He added the pro shop has organized a Saturday shootout as a new addition to the weekend. The top 10 scores from all divisions will compete in a minimum 10-hole knockout round after tomorrow’s action.
Among the defending champions is Greg Ward, who will be teeing off for his third-straight men’s club crown. He also won the event in 1997 and is a four-time former junior champion.
He’s turned in some solid performances this year, winning the Memorial tournament in May and then finishing second at the Kitchen Creek Classic last month.
Brian Beers, Bob Crowe (who lost to Ward by one stroke last year), and Snake Krawchuk will be among those looking to unseat Ward.
Christin Thomson also dominated her junior field, winning six-straight club titles, before winning her first ladies’ crown last year by a convincing 13 strokes.
Carol Livingston, a six-time division champion who beat Thomson in a playoff at the Ladies’ Open last month, also looks to be among the leaders this weekend.
Meanwhile, Carol’s husband, Dan, is in the hunt for his second-straight senior men’s title and fourth in five years. A friendly rivalry exists between him and friend Jim Ballard.
Livingston edged out Ballard in a playoff hole at the KC Senior Open back in July.
Kevin Webb won the junior boys’ championship while Steve Melnychuk took home the super-seniors’ crown last year.
The 65-year-old Beck will be looking for his second seniors’ victory to go with his 1995 crown. He said he respects both his competitors too much–and the unpredictable nature of the game–to guarantee another trophy for himself.
“Obviously, I wouldn’t mind winning,” he said. “But you never know. One day you go out and think you’re Tiger Woods and the next day you’re Charlie the Hacker.”