By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times
The Chesley Oaks Open is in its 16th year, and Cary Craig is pretty sure he knows why most of the same faces show up for the tournament summer after summer.
“They get a good golf course to play, we feed them well and the prizes are always good,” the general manager and professional said. “And of course, the competition is always really good.”
That last nugget was especially true throughout Saturday’s first round, which ended with David Baker as the leader in the clubhouse after carding a superb 7-under 64. He’s only one shot ahead of Adam Jacobs (65) and three in front of Jim Gerrard (67). That trio, along with Jimmy Hanvey (70), the only golfer under par, will tee off together today at 12:30 p.m. for the second half of the 36-hole event.
The remainder of the championship flight is packed in tight, too, with Tim Berg, J.J. Adams, Steve Ellett and Mark Jones all shooting even-par 71s to land in the second foursome. The third pairing is made up of Kevin Byrd (72), Dale Skipper (72) and Tony Jetton; fourth of Bob Kurtz (72), Trey Hanvey (73) and Caleb Neighbors (73); and fifth of Terry Kent (73), Ed Calvert (73) and Brian Foy (73).
Calvert’s round was highlighted by what will likely stand as the shot of the tournament, a hole-in-one on the 160-yard, par-3 15th. He used a 6-iron on the ace, which was witnessed by Kent, Johnny Davis and Cody Martin.
Leaders of the second through sixth flights are as follows:
Second, Steve Pressley and Bobby Knight, 74; third, Wesley Thomas, Tim Hall and James Bullard, 79; fourth, Mike Thomas, 83; fifth, Phil Lancaster, Stanley Deerman and Clint Wallace, 87; and sixth, Anthony Quattlebaum and Glen Capps, 91.
“This is a golf course that doesn’t beat you to death,” Craig said. “People can come out and play pretty well, and that makes it enjoyable for everybody.”
A constant mist and sporadic rain pestered the nearly 70-man field for much of the morning and afternoon. One man it didn’t seem to bother was Craig, who could be found on No. 15 filling in golfers on a no-lose, par-3 challenge.
“Golf’s an outdoor game,” he said. “You’re at the mercy of the conditions sometimes. The weather we’re playing in today’s really not that bad. For the guys who will play in it, concentrate and compete, they’ll do well.”
Adams is the defending Chesley Oaks Open champion. He hung on by a single stroke to defeat Byrd and Kenny Miller in 2012.
% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 138 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.