Pin placement key at national tournament
May 21, 2009
BLAINE, Wash. -
JOE SUNNEN - THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
When John Reis began planning the locations of each hole at the NCAA Division II National Men's Golf Tournament he did so hoping to create the most balanced and fair course possible.
With the leaders hovering around par and a hole-in-one and a double-eagle already in the books after the first day of the four-day tournament, it's looking like Reis is accomplishing his goal.
After the second day, CSU-San Bernardino's Gene Webster and Wayne State University's Steve Cuzzort lead the field at 141 each at Loomis Trail Golf Club in Blaine. Sonoma State's Patrick Bauer is third at 143. Barry University leads the team title race with a score of 583.
Jake Koppenberg, Western Washington University's lone representative, shot a 3-over par 74 for the second round and sits tied for 14th. The tournament continues on Thursday, May 21.
"So many people watch golf on television and hear about Sunday pins where the hole placement is much more difficult on the final day," said Reis, the tournament's head rules official. "That's something we try to avoid. The course might get a little more challenging as the tournament goes on, but what we try to do is make each round balanced."
For Reis, creating a balanced course is often easier said than done. Factoring in the number of holes on the left side and right side of the green per round, the slope and texture of each green, and distance from the tee are just a few of the things he has to take into account for each day.
Reis said he completed the plans for hole locations at this tournament about a week ago. A crew of 12 rules officials with experience ranging from the U.S. Open, U.S. Senior Open, and U.S. Amateur Tournaments is helping him make sure the event at Loomis Trail runs smoothly.
"It's always brand new," Reis said. "I always get those first day jitters. I'm always wide awake the night before thinking about this and that."
Because so much thought and care goes into making the tournament go properly, when things don't work out as planned it can be particularly frustrating. On Tuesday two golfers from Concord University in West Virginia were disqualified for score card infractions. It also resulted in their team being disqualified because they won't have enough scoring golfers for each day of the tournament now.
"After that double disqualification I was just sick to my stomach," Reis said. "The players were upset. The coaches were upset. The parents were upset. I don't think anything like this has ever happened before. It's just so unfortunate because I know how hard those kids worked to get here."
While that was definitely a low point on the first day, the hole-in-one by Washburn University's Matt Ewald on the par-4 13th hole and double-eagle by Steve Cuzzort of Wayne State University on the par-5 14th hole were highlights.
"Both of those shots were just terrific," Reis said. "As soon as those were made everyone was on the radios. It was very exciting."
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