Vermont's best come to Manchester

MANCHESTER - Vermont's best amateur golfers will descend on the Manchester Country Club for the Vermont Golf Association's Men's Amateur Championship on July 13, 14, and 15.

Over 100 players qualified for the championship from four different qualifying sites. Amateurs from all over the state competed at Mount Anthony Country Club, Rock Ridge Country Club, Orleans Country Club and Killington Golf Club. The top 20 competitors from last year were automatically exempt.

"These are the best amateur players in the state," said Bob Stearns, Head Golf Professional at the Manchester Country Club. "The level of play will be very good."

The three days of competition will see the players play 18 holes on Tuesday and Wednesday. After the first two days, the field will be cut down to the lowest 40 players and ties. On Thursday, the remaining competitors will play 36 holes to determine the amateur champ.

The course, which was originally designed by Geoffrey Cornish in 1968, has changed nothing in preparation for the tournament, letting the amateur players play the same course that the members play.

"We prepare the golf course like we do day in, day out for our members," said Stearns. "We just let the players play it. This is a really interesting test of golf just as it is, we don't have to do anything to it to toughen it up. It's plenty hard."

The course will be even tougher than the last time the Amateur Championship was held here in 1996. In 2001 the back nine was redesigned by Steve Durkee and made into a much tougher stretch of golf. The championship tees will stretch the course to 6850 yards and the slope rating is 138, making Manchester Country Club an intimidating place to play.

There will be some local golfers who will try their luck, with former champion and Ekwanok member Bill Hadden being one of the notable competitors. Brian Albertazzi is the defending champion, though, and will look for his third straight title. Club members Henry Chandler, Wils Desonne, and Kim Pedersen will also compete, and have a little bit of a leg up on the competition.

"Everybody looks forward to playing Manchester," said Stearns. "It's a beautiful, beautiful golf course."

Stearns wants to encourage people to come out and watch what should be a great three days of golf. There is no charge to come and watch the best in the state compete for the Vermont Amateur Championship.

"These are guys who really know how to play," said Stearns. "It's a nice showcase for Manchester."

For more information, contact the Manchester Country Club at 362-2233.


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