Rainy weather delayed the start of the Chicopee Golf Championship on Saturday by nearly two hours, and the wet course seemed to stretch the 7,040-yard, 18-hole course even longer for the competitors, as the ball would often stop dead in its tracks after hitting the ground.
But the sun eventually came out and some golfers, like Michael Hinnant of Suwanee, had a productive day on the course in the event’s opening round.
“It was real wet so it played a little longer than normal, but the course wasn’t in bad shape at all,” said Hinnant, who is co-leader heading into Sunday’s final round along with Michael Nunn in the Championship Flight, both shooting a 1-under 71.
“The weather wasn’t really a factor because we didn’t get any more rain once we started.
“I just went out and did the best I could. It could always be better and it could always be worse. I’m not disappointed.”
Several Gainesville residents also find themselves in contention for the championship, including Steve Hooper and Walter Hope.
“My strategy was to hit the fairways, and I was able to do that today,” said Hooper, who shot a 73 and is in sole possession of second place. “As long as I got a chance, that’s all you can ask for.”
Hope shot a 75 and is just four shots back from the lead.
“I don’t feel too bad about where I am, especially since I didn’t make a birdie,” Hope said. “(Today), the goal is just to not hit it in the rough. Keep it on the fairway and hope some putts fall. With the course so wet, you can’t get the ball out of the rough. You just have to chip it back on the fairway and take your medicine.”
After Hinnant, Nunn and Hooper, Butch Maxey (74) rounds out the top three of the Championship Flight. Last year’s champion, Stan Rawl (79) is eight strokes behind the leader and 2008 champion Terry Rush (75) is four strokes back.
In the Blue Flight, Danny Dingess (73) leads, followed by Dan Arthurs (74) and Gerry Grogan, Mike Kishimoto and Greg Randall, all of whom shot a 75.
Tommy Calhoun (70) leads the First Flight, followed by Lee Kaper and Roger Stapp, who both shot a 74.
The Second Flight is led by Brian Coley (73), followed by Bob Ardent (74) and Mark Reynolds (77).
Karl Stiegle leads the Third Flight with a 72, ahead of Ken Dooley (74) and Don Schrum (76).
Sunday’s Tee Times
7:56 a.m. — Lou Vega, Kenneth Collett
8:04 a.m. — Gayle Gibson, Touk Rabideaux, John Christmas
8:12 a.m. — Vince Jonte, Bill Martin, Dave Jetter
8:20 a.m. — Ken Dooley, Karl Stiegele, Don Schrum
8:28 a.m. — Geoff Archibald, Tim Reed, Tony Tankersly
8:36 a.m. — Simmie Miller, Patrick Moran, Yoshi
8:44 a.m. — Mark Reynolds, Brian Coley, Bob Arendt
8:52 a.m. — Blake Nix, Tommy Evans, Mark Black
9:00 a.m. — Roger Stapp, Tommy Calhoun, Len Kaper, Mike Stokes
9:16 a.m. — Mitch Pierce, Everett Jones
9:24 a.m. — Donnie Fortune, Mike Stephans, Andy Barre
9:32 a.m. — Dave Tewksbury, Terry Dunn, Scott Holcomb
9:40 a.m. — Gerry Grogan, Greg Randall, Mike Kishimoto
9:48 a.m. — Keith Morris, Dan Arthurs, Danny Dingess
9:56 a.m. — Jazz Hulsey, Neal Tolbert
10:04 a.m. — Corey Stokes, Carson Brown
10:12 a.m. — Roscoe Cronic, David Neace
10:20 a.m. — Pat VanNorman, Trey Venable, Jason Chandler
10:28 a.m. — Mike Bennett, Phil Trapani, Bobby Tyler
10:36 a.m. — Branon Martin, Parks Brown, Stan Rawl
10:44 a.m. — Ryan Ferguson, Randy Hayes, Joe Ingram
10:52 a.m. — Dan Rhodes, Duane Roberts, Jim Prantl
11:08 a.m. — Butch Maxey, Walter Hope, Terry Rush
11:16 a.m. — Michael Nunn, Michael Hinnant, Steve Hooper