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Thatcher tries for complete run at WACO

August 08, 2013|By TIM KOELBLE | koelble@herald-mail.com

Chuck Thatcher has been a regular contender for the WACO title in recent years.

In 2011, he held the first-round lead before faltering to a 75 in the second round. Last year, he put up a 67 in the second round, following an opening-round 74, nearly netting him the title.

This time, Thatcher will be out to connect both ends of the 36-hole tournament and come up with a title in the 30th WACO championship at Beaver Creek Country Club Saturday and Sunday.

“My goal is 68-68, I think 8-under would win,” Thatcher said. “Five- to seven-under will be close.”

Thatcher has been playing well, including a recent second-place finish in the Maryland Amateur Public Links tournament. He also made the cut in the Maryland Open and took third in the Beltway Invitational.

His improved play has been a direct result with the putter.

“My putting had been letting me down but I’ve really been working hard to improve it and lately I’ve had more consistent scores,” Thatcher said.

Tournament director Rod Steiner said a field of nearly 150 golfers will be on hand, including a change in the flights for Sunday’s final.

“We’ve taken away the fourth flight for regular scores and made it a Senior flight for those over 55,” Steiner said. “It’s a request from many of the players.”

WACO’s pearl anniversary will be dotted with the return of defending champions, at least those who have not turned professional.

Steve Ligi, of Jefferson, Md., comes back to defend his title, won by shooting a 7-under-par 137 for a four-stroke victory.

Greg Henry, who along with pro Chad Bricker, is a three-time WACO winner and will be in the field along with two-time winner Chuck Ingram, who will compete in the Senior flight. Other former winners competing are Kenny Smith, Finley Benjamin and Drew Forrester.

Henry won the first of his titles in 1984, the first-ever WACO and still remains the all-time tournament money winner.

The field also includes 15-year-old Chris Navarro, who established a WACO record last year for the lowest first-round score, shooting a 66.

Beaver Creek will play at par 72 and the yardage will be set in the 6,400-yard range.

“Some of the par 3s and par 4s tees have been adjusted,” Steiner said. “The course is looking good and the greens are coming around.”

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