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Kansas Golf Associaition

Tyner and Opliger Sprint to Senior Four-Ball Title

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In a senior field full of past champions and players of national reputation, Tim Tyner of Council Grove and R.J. Opliger from Lawrence, thought they would go play in this year’s KGA Senior Rj Opliger & Tim Tyner - 2014 Senior Four-Ball championsFour-Ball and enjoy Prairie Highlands Golf Course and have a chance to see friends while enjoying a couple of rounds of spring-time golf.

The first thing they and the rest of the field did not expect was the challenging weather.  Round one was played in intermittent rain with the threat of thunderstorms looming all day until at mid-afternoon the lightning would be contained no longer.  Play was suspended overnight with six groups still on the golf course.  Round two was dry but a cold and persistent north wind made the golfers breakout their warmest golf gear.   So much for mid-May! 

Tyner and Opliger cruised to a two-under par 70 in round one with only one bogey on the day – their first hole.   Three birdies followed and they found themselves grouped with six other teams in a tie for fourth place, including 2012 champions Mike Grosdidier and Bob Hartmann.  The defending champions Bryan Norton and Mark Addington could only manage an even par 72.  The hot team for the first 18 holes was Kansas Citians John Samples and Mark Worthey.  Their bogey-free round had a stellar six birdies, five of which came from Worthey, giving them a two-stroke lead over John Bailey and Peter Robbins at 4-under par 68.

Despite the difficult playing conditions throughout the morning of the second round, 12 teams posted a score of even par or better.  This made for a lot of changes in the leaderboard.   Three-time champions Steve Groom and Andy Smith improved by four strokes to post a five-under par 67 and tie for third place with Bailey and Robbins.   Ward Zerger and Kurt Lorenzen, both of Olathe, had to wonder about the two bogeys and one double bogey in the second round.  Their five-under par 67 was good enough for second place overall at seven-under par 137.  Their climb up the standings was fueled by Zerger’s eight birdies.

Tyner and Opliger had no reason to think they were in contention after 31 holes of play and only five more to finish the day.  They were only four-under par for the tournament, a number that surely would not get them anywhere near the lead.  The next thing they did not expect was posting four birdies over the final five holes, three of them made by Opliger.    To their surprise, the six-under par 66 gave them a 136 total and the lead in the clubhouse.  Only Zerger and Lorenzen had a chance to better that score, but they had too many “sixes” on the card to claim the title.

It was the first KGA championship win for both Tyner and Opliger who are both frequent participants in KGA competitions.   Perhaps it won’t be the last one for either of them!

Two teams were declared co-champions of the Super Senior division.  Mike Carey and Benn Sledge posted a six-under par 138 to match the same total by Lynn Dickey and Rob Gleissner.   Topekans Craig Cooper and Randy Forbes won the Net division.