HARROD — One or two holes into their rounds, the golfers in the championship flight of the Lima City Men's Golf Championship knew what they had to do.
Wet and sometimes windy conditions meant the first day of qualifying for the tournament at Colonial Golfers Club on Tuesday was going to be a day when the everyday shot was going to be the better choice than the heroic swing in most situations.
Brandon French was the low championship flight qualifier with an even-par 72. Phil Trueblood, the 2012 city champion, and Austin Goodridge shot 74. Tim Windau and Terry Grose had 77's.
French birdied the first hole, parred the next eight, then birdied No. 10 to start his round.
“I was kind of just trying to play smart, to hit the center of the green because I knew a lot of people would be getting crazy out there. So I was just trying to get the ball in the hole,” French said.
His birdie on No. 1 was one of only four by the 19 championship flight golfers on that hole.
Trueblood seconded French's appraisal that it wasn't a day to try anything too daring on the course.
“I hit it solid. I wasn't trying to do anything crazy. I just wanted to play consistent golf and try to keep it around par. The golf course played really long today with how wet it was. Any score around par or a couple over, I'm happy with,” he said.
Goodridge, playing in the city tournament for the first time, said, “If somebody had said I would shoot 74 I would have taken it and left for home.”
“It was a slow start with the rain delay and then the slow greens kind of affected me, and it took a while to get used to. A couple of three-putts set me back but I played well and hit the ball well,” he said. “There were all kinds of speeds — putting through puddles, putting on fast greens on the ones that were elevated. It was just taking time to get used to them.”
Pat Pasion, who shot 85 in his first championship flight appearance, identified at least five different speeds on the greens.
“They started out slow, then they got wet and we were putting through lakes. Then they were slow, medium and quick. So it was a little challenging. But I always have a challenge with the putter,” he said.
Grose's 77 came in his first appearance in an amateur tournament in more than 17 years.
The 67-year-old 1977 Lima city champion, who now lives in Findlay, turned pro when he attempted to qualify for the Senior Tour and only recently regained his amateur status. He played on several mini-tours and won four times as a pro.
“I wanted to try to qualify for the Senior Tour and at that time you had to turn pro to do that. Now you don't,” he said. “I just got my amateur status back last November. This is the first amateur tournament I've played in since then.
“It's always been a good organization and good competition. It's kind of my last whirl. I'm getting too old to play with these young kids.”
The championship flight is scheduled to play a second round of qualifying today at Hidden Creek Golf Club before beginning match play Thursday at the Shawnee Country Club.
This is a departure from the schedule of the last few years when the low 32 championship flight players began match play on the second day of the tournament. But with only 19 championship flight players, qualifying was extended to two days.
In the senior championship flight, Gene Dugan, Paul Masters and Ken Sweeney tied for the low round at 77. Dennis Medeiros and Todd Stump shot 80.
George Hakin led the super seniors flight with a 74. Tom Mulcahy had a 75 and Jim Odenweller and Tony Hobensack shot 76.
Those two flights will also play at Hidden Creek today.