The Lima City Men‚??s Golf Championship will have a new place on the calendar and a new champion this year.
The tournament, a traditional fixture in July for more than 30 years, will be played this week at several area courses. And 2012 champion Ollie Holtsberry will be unable to play because of work obligations.
It tees off at the Bluffton Golf Club and Colonial Golfers Club on Tuesday and concludes at the Shawnee Country Club on Sunday for all flights.
The tournament has a championship flight, three open flights, a senior championship flight, a super seniors flight and a senior open flight.
Holtsberry, who is going into his senior year at the University of Toledo, has a job with the LPGA Marathon Classic, formerly the Jamie Farr Classic, at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania.
The Marathon Classic runs from July 18-21, but his work schedule leading up to the tournament will not allow Holtsberry to defend his title.
‚??It‚??s kind of a bummer. I‚??d love to play in it,‚?Ě he said. ‚??I enjoy the guys who play in the tournament and I only get to see most of them once a year.‚?Ě
Holtsberry said he met Marathon Classic tournament executive director Judd Silverman while playing golf at Inverness Country Club in Toledo and put in an application for an internship with the tournament.
‚??It‚??s a good foot in the door,‚?Ě he said.
Holtsberry, a finance major, says he is considering a number of options after graduation but has no plans to try to play golf professionally.
The last time a champion did not return to defend his title was in 2006 when 2005 champion Mitch Blackburn moved out of state. In 2004, defending champion Bruce Burden played the first round while battling an injury but had to withdraw after one round when he was unable to continue.
The city tournament has been very popular with golfers in its July slot, though participation has dropped off slightly recently. A total of 150 golfers played last season and 154 in 2011. There have been years in the past when the field was around 190 players.
Last year‚??s champions in addition to Holtsberry were: Matt Metzger (first flight), Todd Coil (second flight), Brey Buetner (third flight), Jim Odenweller (senior championship), Ron Bell (super seniors) and Vince Ozier (senior open).
The tournament is sponsored by The Lima News and Your Hometown Stations. A website, www.limacitygolf.com has been added this year.