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Waynesboro's WACO title streak rests on Caron

August 13, 2010|By TIM KOELBLE

Nearly 170 golfers will converge on Beaver Creek Country Club on Saturday for the 27th WACO Championship. By the time Sunday evening rolls around, one will be at the top of the throne.

Like a broken record, the question remains: Will it be a golfer from Waynesboro, Pa., who wins again?

For the past eight years the WACO champion inscription has been Waynesboro-dominated. The likes of Chad Bricker, Kevin Reiber, Kenny Smith and Steve Caron have won, but this year only Caron returns.

Bricker turned professional the day following his 2009 WACO title, Reiber is committed to a Pennsylvania tournament as defending champion and Smith is playing out of state.

Caron won the WACO with a 6-under-par 138 in 2008.

"There might be some extra pressure to keep the title in Waynesboro," said Caron. "I'm just going to play as hard as I can. I'm gonna grind my butt off."

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Caron shot a 4-under 68 on the second day to win by four strokes and has a mindset on a possible winning mark this year.

"I think 4-under could do it," he said. "Saturday is important to stay in it and have a chance on Sunday."

Caron is one of only four previous champions in the field. The others are three-time champion Greg Henry (1984, 1986, 1989), Drew Forrester (2000) and Finley Benjamin (1999). Henry and Bricker are the only three-time winners.

Bricker holds the scoring record with an 8-under-par 136 established in 2006, which included a Sunday round of 9-under 63, also a record.

Fairways and greens are in good condition despite the hot, dry weather this summer and tournament director Rod Steiner, who knows Beaver Creek as well as anyone, had a new name for the 2010 event.

"If players get the ball off target, it could be the 'Arizona Desert Open,'" quipped Steiner. "For this time of summer and the weather we've had, the greens are nice. Who putts good could come on strong."

Caron will tee off at 9 Saturday morning in a group that will include contender Alex Hoffman, a two-time Maryland state champion for Middletown High School who will be a freshman at the University of Memphis.

Boonsboro golfer Chuck Thatcher, who has threatened the last two years, is a candidate along with Frederick golfer Bernie Deane, another who was in the mix late last year. Hagerstown's Ken Lampard continues his quest for a first crown and tees off at 9:50.

"I'd like another shot on the second day like last year but to finish it off this time," said Deane, who was 4 under through 11 holes before faltering.

Steiner also said an excellent contingent of players from the Baltimore area is entered. One is Chris Baloga, of Towson, who was runner-up to Caron in 2008.

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