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Divots - Schultz, Grier prepare for tournament tests

June 20, 2004|By TIM KOELBLE

Two locals will embark on golf excursions this week with a common goal of winning.Dirk Schultz and Ashley Grier, names synonymous with area golf, will begin what each hopes will be a week-long flurry of activity.

Schultz, the golf professional at Black Rock, will head to Nashport, Ohio, the home of the Longaberger Basket Company and site of the 37th annual PGA Club Professionals Championship.

Grier will make her way to the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club Green Course in Williamsburg, Va., for the 27th USGA Women's Amateur Public Links tournament.

Schultz departs for the Buckeye state Monday as the CPC gets set to host 156 club pros vying for the title. The top 25 gain a position in the PGA Championship. The winner receives $40,000, a Rolex and a 10-year exemption to the CPC.

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This is the third year Schultz has qualified for the CPC but the second in which he has participated. He finished 26th in Bend, Ore., in 2002.

"The magnitude of this event is our U.S. Open," Schultz said.

The tournament opens Thursday in the same format as the PGA Tour, with the top 70 players and ties continuing play on the weekend.

Lately, Schultz has been playing more competitive golf in pro-ams in preparation.

"Right now I'd say my game is about a B-plus," Schultz said. "I'm not real sharp, but I can feel it coming. I haven't played a bogey-free round and when I do that, I can see it coming on."

Schultz will join fellow Mid-Atlantic players such as Wayne DeFrancesco of Baltimore, Mark Evanson of Ellicott City, Md., Rick Schuller, Chip Sullivan and Cary Sciorra in the field.

Longaberger is a course that was designed by Arthur Hills and opened in 1999. The track will play to a par 72 over 7,200 yards and its toughness is measured with a quartet of par-4 holes that averages 466 yards.

Grier will be practicing today on the Green Course at Golden Horseshoe, preparing for what she hopes will be a marathon week of golf on the 6,159-yard, par-72 track designed by Rees Jones and opened in 1991.

Monday and Tuesday each will feature 18 holes of stroke play with the top 64 players advancing to match play. Three days of 18-hole matches culminates in Sunday's 36-hole finale, which Michelle Wie won last year.

This is Grier's second appearance in the WAPL. She qualified a year ago at Ocean Hammock Golf Club in Palm Coast, Fla.

"I played the Green Course two years ago on the Futures college tour," Grier said. "It's an open fairway-type course with downward slopes to the middle."

Grier, who will have her father, Dave, on her bag, said she's been running more lately.

"You've got to have legs to walk a lot," Grier said. "I've mainly been doing that and working on chipping and putting the last month."

Grier, who has transferred with a scholarship from Jacksonville University to the University of Central Florida, will also attempt to qualify in July for the Women's Amateur at the Kahkwa Club in Erie, Pa., in August.

"I just want to play the best that I can and hopefully get to the end of match play," Grier said.




Tim Koelble is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His Divots column appears every other Sunday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311 or by e-mail at koelble@herald-mail.com

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