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Divots - Caron shapes up to take shot at U.S. Open

May 27, 2007|By TIM KOELBLE

Steve Caron feels he is more physically ready to meet the challenge that lies ahead when he competes in one of the U.S. Open sectional qualifiers on June 4 at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md.

Caron is one of two area golfers vying for a spot in the U.S. Open, slated for the following week at Oakmont Country Club in suburban Pittsburgh. Chad Bricker is the other area player in the 65-man field.

Covering 36 holes in one day is a mighty test for any golfer, but Caron will be walking the Woodmont North course with a lighter load.

Caron, of Waynesboro, Pa., has shed 85 pounds from what was a 310-pound frame in the last two years.

"Physically I'm more ready than ever," said Caron. "Losing the weight makes a big difference."

The Woodmont North course stretches 6,982 yards and is a par 72. Caron, who failed in a previous effort to qualify with a pair of 76s, likens the course to Beaver Creek.

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"Woodmont reminds you of a shorter version of Beaver Creek, but without as many trees," he said. "They've got some long par 3s that are going to be a 3- or 4-iron, and the par 5s are reachable in two."

There will be a professional flavor going against all the amateurs looking for a ticket to the U.S. Open, for which the USGA has yet to announce how many spots will come out of Woodmont.

PGA Tour pros Fred Funk, Carlos Franco, Joey Sindelar, Shigeki Maruyama and Brad Faxon are in the field, having to qualify since their previous exemptions to the Open have expired.

"The first time around, you might be psyched playing with them, but the second time, it will just push me to do my best," said Caron.

Caron said his father, Jeff, will be on his bag at Woodmont. With a tough day-long walk, one of Caron's fellow golfers at Yingling's - Brandon Sheaffer - will be walking the course, ready to step in.

"(Brandon) told me the other day he had a vision that I would clinch a playoff spot on the 36th hole," said Caron.

Kelly Memorial notes

In a large field such as the Herald-Mail Dick Kelly Memorial Tournament had on Friday at Black Rock, chances are pretty good a playoff will eventually form.

Tournament officials try to fill the requested tee times by participants, and that leaves golfers with various USGA handicaps mixed throughout the field, leaving open the possibility that anyone finishing early in the day could end up returning later for extra play.

That's been the case the last two years. Friday featured a playoff between the teams of Kenny Smith-Dick Roulette and Greg Henry-Ken Lampard. Last year, Steve Caron-Ashley Grier went against two other teams.

What was unique were the early finishes by Smith-Roulette and Caron-Grier.

In 2006, Caron hung around Black Rock while Grier went to Yingling's, awaiting the phone call that brought her back to the course for the playoff.

Ditto for the Smith-Roulette team, which finished about three hours before needing to return to action.

Smith stayed at the course, watching incoming scores and chatting with fellow golfers, while Roulette took an early-afternoon siesta and tended to business at The Grille at Park Circle.

Once Henry and Lampard turned in their card, confirming a playoff was needed, Smith was on the phone to Roulette, who promptly returned as the twosome went on to win when Smith birdied the eighth hole, a 403-yard par 4.

·Excluded from Saturday's report were official winners in these two categories: Brock Twigg and Keith Moore of Twigg Cycles with a 64 in the Sponsors Division; Bill Dux-Herm Whitaker with a 64 in the Seniors Division.

·Many fine team scores were turned in Friday, especially in the net division.

Until Barnhart-Cheney came in with their 60, the team of Erik Pakulla (Turf Valley)-Dick Lack (Hobbits Glen) were deadlocked with Mitch Bowen (Mt. View)-Tony Larson (Links at Gettysburg) at 61. Bill Barber-Dean Martin, of Waynesboro Country Club, came in with a 62 and Jason Fauble-John Moller, of Black Rock, followed with a 63.

Former champions Alex Moyseenko-Darren Weaver, of Beaver Creek, carded a 64.

·Closest to the pin winners included: Pat Poole on No. 2 at 2 feet; Rick Sovero on No. 15 at 2 feet, 1 inch; Roulette on No. 17 at 10 inches; and the overall closest going to Brian Crabtree on No. 7, parking his shot 9 inches from the hole.

Coaches Tournament

St. Maria Goretti boys basketball coach Cokey Robertson still has openings for the first Mid-Atlantic Coaches Golf Tournament, slated for Friday at Beaver Creek. The format will be a two-team best ball and the cost is $125 per team. Awards will be given in the gross and net division from the blue and gold tees each. Proceeds will benefit The Gael Center Renovation Fund and is open to coaches, players, fans and former coaches around the Mid-Atlantic. For more information, contact Robertson at 301-824-6044 or by e-mail at corob33@cs.com.

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

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