Miller, Dalrymple Threat in Mid-Am
It's too bad Kelly Miller and Chris Dalrymple, a couple of Sandhills golfers who play together a lot, couldn't have teamed for the North Carolina Mid-Amateur Championship last week.
Dalrymple, who owns a clothing store in the village of Pinehurst; and Miller, president and CEO of Pine Needles and Mid Pines Resorts in Southern Pines, both fared well in one of the Carolinas' major events. But if either could have had one of the other's rounds, he would have been a serious challenger for the crown.
Dalrymple opened the championship, held at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, with a sizzling 63 and shared the lead after a second-round 75. But a final round of 77 relegated him to a tie for 10th at 2-over-par 215.
Miller, a former winner of the event, was Mr. Consistency, shooting 70-69-72 -- 211 to tie for third place with Tommy Miller, of Boone, Lionel Sutton, of LaGrange, and Brian Westveer of Charlotte.
Dale Fuller, of Raleigh, another former professional, finished seventh at 212.
Meanwhile, Uly Grissette, of Clemmons, upstaged them all to win by six strokes with a total of 204, highlighted by a third-round 66.
Sedgefield, a Donald Ross course that was recently restored by architect Kris Spence and hosted the Wyndham Championship, played to 6,906 yards and a par of 71 for the tournament.
Grissette, a 42-year-old sales manager for robotic automation sensors, took the lead for good when he made a birdie on the 10th hole, while Scott Harvey, of Greensboro, was bogeying the same hole.
That birdie proved to be the springboard for a final-nine 31 that left the field reeling in his wake.
Grissette is a former professional who only regained his amateur status in July.
"I wasn't playing much golf as a professional, and I was actually moonlighting playing in pro events in addition to my job," he said. "I'm really enjoying playing on weekends now and looking forward to having the opportunity to compete in amateur events."
Gary Robinson, of Fayetteville, the defending champion, was never a factor this time. Robinson, who has won the Cumberland County Amateur Championship seven times, opened with a 74 and closed with a 79 to tie for 46th.
Sherrill Britt, who won the Moore County Amateur Championship two weeks ago for the fourth time, tied for 13th with 216 after rounds of 68-74-74.
Scott Lincicome, of Pinehurst, tied for 17th at 217. Keith Harris, of Southern Pines, tied for 33rd with 222. Glenn Subin, of Pinehurst, was at 225.
The North Carolina Mid-Amateur Championship, which is conducted by the Carolinas Golf Association, is open to male North Carolina residents over the age of 30 with a 5.4 handicap index who are members of a CGA member club.
Carolinas PGA: As major tournaments go in the Carolinas PGA Section, none is more prestigious than the Carolinas PGA Professional Championship.
This year's 83rd Annual Carolinas PGA Professional Championship sponsored by Titleist, FootJoy, Cobra, Club Car, and Buick with additional support from the PGA Tour, is being held Tuesday through Thursday on the Ralston Creek Course at Daniel Island Club in Daniel Island, S.C.
Though this is the second consecutive year that the event will be held at the Daniel Island Club, it's the first time it will be contested on Ralston Creek.
The Ralston Creek Course was designed by Rees Jones and opened in 2006. From the championship tees, its 7,446 yards possess some of the most beautifully terrifying shots in the Carolinas.
Golf Digest named it to its list of Best New Private Courses in 2006, and Golfweek named it to its Best New Courses list in 2007.
Curt "Colonel" Sanders, of Wilmington, won on the Beresford Creek Course last year, edging 2006 defending champion Kelly Mitchum, of Southern Pines, and this year's South Carolina Open runner-up Simon McGreal by two strokes.
Sanders will be looking for his second career major championship and first win of 2008, coming off his recent appearance in the PGA Championship, an event he qualified for through his win here last year.
Only a handful of players have repeated in the Carolinas PGA Section Professional Championship in the past 82 years -- six to be exact, and one of those, Johnny Palmer, repeated twice. It hasn't happened since Bob Boyd last did it in 1993 and 19'94.
Since then, Mitchum has bested the field every other year since he first won it in 2002. If that pattern repeats itself, he's due for another this week.
Players are competing for a total purse of $70,000 and a chance to represent the section in the Professional National Championship, where the top 12 finishers qualify to compete in 2009.
The section champion will also get to get to pick from one of two PGA Tour events to compete in -- the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro or the Wachovia in Charlotte.
There is also the added pressure on some players of being involved in a tight Player of the Year points race.
Sanders currently holds the lead, but Mitchum, in his fourth consecutive year as the Bob Boyd Player of the Year, is hot on his heels.
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