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Gearing up for Gettysburg battle

July 18, 2007|by TIM KOELBLE

GETTYSBURG, Pa. - If anything else, Ashley Grier will get some good sleep when the Gettysburg Championship unfolds Aug. 20-26 at The Links at Gettysburg.

Accustomed to spending nights in strange beds, Grier will be a mere 45 minutes from home in Hagerstown. That's a pittance in time, especially when you're sitting on airport runways for at least 45 minutes because of delays.

Grier and fellow competitor Stephanie George, of Myerstown, Pa., were in Gettysburg on Monday for Media Day, each enduring long trips with delays and connection problems from Hartford, Ct. George had a set of clubs hustled together for her on Monday, her own clubs having been missing but located late in Harrisburg.

"You make a lot of friends staying with hosts in their homes and they treat us like we're one of the family," said Grier, "but it's also nice to stay in your own bed."

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The DuramedFUTURES Tour will stop in Gettysburg for the second straight year, and tournament director Duff Forsythe, with the support of sponsors continuing to increase as it has this year, envisions bigger and better things for the Gettysburg event.

"We've been talking with the (Futures) officials and we think we can continue to improve on the stature of this tournament that it could be the season-ending stop on the tour (in 2008)," said Forsythe.

The tournament's purse grew to $100,000 this year and Forsythe sees the pot being sweetened by $50,000 next year with the continued support the tournament has received. And, with the tournament being the last stop of the season, it would be of more significance since five players would immediately receive their touring card for the LPGA Tour.

The Gettysburg Championship is one of four tournaments on the 19-stop schedule that have purses of $100,000, and with the caliber of the course, Forsythe and the tournament staff foresee a time when this tournament is a Duramed FUTURES' major.

"The players are looking forward to returning to Gettysburg," said George. "The course is one of the hardest on tour but it's also an atmosphere that brings you as close to an LPGA event as you can be."

Grier played a recent practice round at The Links and George remembers the course from years past. Both went around on Monday with media representatives and were looking for key landing areas off their drives and working the greens.

The course will play to a par 72 measuring to 6,200 yards, and how it appeared on Monday may change somewhat by the time the entire field gets to town.

Course superintendent John Long said the rough is around 2 1/2 inches and the greens are running 11 on the stimpmeter, but that will change. He noted the rough will likely increase another 1/2 inch and the greens will further quicken to at least a 12.

Tickets for The Gettysburg Championship will be $20 for a three-day pass during competition Aug. 24-26. Single-round tickets will be $10. All proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Breast Cancer/American Cancer Society, York (Pa.) Habitat for Humanity, Toys for Tots and Operation Claus. Tickets can be purchased online at www.GettysburgChampionship.com or by calling 866-988-8737.

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