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Will Waynesboro's run be undone?

August 07, 2009|By TIM KOELBLE

What are the better odds?

That a Waynesboro, Pa., golfer will win the WACO Championship an eighth straight year or someone with a different residence will come through?

Since Kenny Smith won the WACO in 2002, it's been all Waynesboro.

Kevin Reiber won back-to-back the next two years, Chad Bricker followed with two straight, Smith won again in 2007 and Steve Caron won last year.

"If I'm dialed in, I will win it again," said Caron, who shot a 4-under-par 68 on the second day to pull away for a four-shot victory. "I'm going to play my hardest. I want to make it eight in a row."

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The field of 166 will begin with the first tee time at 6:30 Saturday morning. At the conclusion of Saturday's play, the field will be divided into four flights based on their handicap for Sunday's second round of the 26th annual tournament at Beaver Creek Country Club.

Tournament director Rod Steiner said seven former WACO champions are in the field -- the four from Waynesboro along with Greg Henry, Drew Forrester and Harold Blubaugh.

Henry is the only three-time winner (1984, 1986, 1989) and remains one of the Washington County favorites. Forrester won in 2000 and Blubaugh captured the title in 1990.

Caron said his winning total of 138 last year could be a good number this year -- at least that's his target score.

"It could be good enough for a win, if it's lower than that and it's not me, that's fine," said Caron, a noted longball hitter off the tee.

Caron shot a 70 in last year's opening round, saying he "hit the ball terribly" by his standards.

He had two early birdies in the second round -- before rain temporarily halted play -- to get back into the chase.

"I thought, 'Wait, something might be going on here,'" Caron said of his charge. "'I'm playing solid right now. For once, my driver is straight and my putting is getting better.'"

Smith is always in the mix at Beaver Creek and, despite a reduced amount of playing time with work and family commitments, can't be left out of the the mix.

Bricker, who has aspirations of going to the PGA Qualifying School, is coming off a sterling performance in the Pennsylvania Amateur, where he finished fourth on a tough Waynesborough Country Club course.

And then there is the threat of the younger crowd. Two potentials are 17-year-old Alex Hoffman, who will be a senior at Middletown (Md.), and Andrew Duff, a Williamsport grad who plays at Fairmont (W.Va.) State University.

"Hagerstown isn't going to go down without a better fight this year," said Hoffman, who has played extremely well in several regional junior events this summer.

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