Monday, July 23, 2012

Laing's Sunflower Club Championships come 20 years apart


Richard Laing has his second Sunflower Hills Club Championship in his last two tries – albeit they came 20 years apart.

With a binge of four birdies in six holes, Laing’s 2-under par 70 Saturday was four strokes better than Tim Skorija and five better than Berwyn Sasek, Jerry Reid and Aaron Uzelac.

A Bonner Springs native who won the 1992 Wyandotte County Open with a record 144, Laing won the 1991 club championship.

“It was the last time I played in the club championship,” said Laing, 42. “It was my junior year at Kansas State and the next year I turned professional.”

Highlighted by a win in the South Dakota Open in which he finished 17 under par despite nine bogeys, Laing played professionally for seven years, than all but gave up the game while regaining his amateur standing.

“Until the Wyandotte County Open last year, I did not play my own ball in a stroke play event for 14 years,” said Laing, whose only play came in an occasional corporate or charitable scramble.

His runaway win Saturday came despite bogeys at the 157-yard par 3 fourth hole (“My worst shot of the day”) and 392-yard par 4 seventh.

“Going to the ninth tee, I was two over par, trailing two guys in my foursome and leaving every putt short and made a mental decision to quit playing conservatively,” said Laing, who promptly nearly the drove the green on the 329-yard ninth hole and chipped to within two feet for a birdie that started his birdie binge.

He again knocked it within two feet on the par 5 479-yard No. 11 and then ran in birdies putts of 18 and 12 feet on the 422-yard No. 12 and 403-yard No. 14.

The win also vaulted Laing into one of the favorite’s roles for the 2012 Wyandotte Open Golf Tournament at Sunflower Hills Aug. 11-12. Entries for the tourney are now being accepted.

Marlowe Wertjes captured the A flight with a 77. Other flight winners were Dave Hunt, B flight; Jerry Lamb, C; Ron Medley, D; and Doug Pratt, E. Greg Loethen had the long drive on No. 4 and was closest to the hole on No. 4 while Mike McNellis ran in the longest putt on No. 9.


CHAMPIONSHIP – 1. Richard Laing, 70; 2. Tim Skorija, 74; 3. (tie) Berwyn Sasek, Jerry Reid, Aaron Uzelac.
A – 1. Marlowe Wertjes, 77; 2. (tie) Dennis McWilliams, Bob Chatterton, Mike McNellis, 79.
B – 1. Dave Hunt, 79; 2. (tie) Jim Lahmann, Bill Campbell, Rick Egnatic, 80.
C – 1. Jerry Lamb, 80 (won scorecard playoff); 2. Brad Burton, 80; 3. (tie) Dave Klein, Joe Boland.
D – 1. Ron Medley, 87; 2. Jim Long, 88; 3. Len Zimmerman, 89; 4. Gene Reynolds, 90.
E – 1. Doug Pratt; 2. (tie) Dan Ksiazek, Jesse Smith, 95; 4. (tie) Roger Miller, Ted McClellen, 98.