Under clear blue skies the 24th annual Cape Coral City Championship finished its first day of competition at Coral Oaks Golf Course Saturday with several golfers fighting for first place in their respective flights.
Overall tournament leader Tim Murphy carded a first-round 71. Murphy is a part-year resident, who hails from the Cincinnati area and lives in South Fort Myers for five months of the year.
"It was special, but not surprising," Murphy said.
His best shot of the day occurred on the short par-4 eighth hole.
"I used a 4-iron and shot within 12 feet of the hole for an eagle. I missed the eagle putt, but still got a birdie."
In the Championship Flight, Brandon Meyer came in with a 74, three off the lead. Earlier in the week, Meyer, 17, who plays at Bishop Verot High School, won the district individual championship. He and several others from this field will compete in the Class A regional tournament on Monday at Coral Oaks, hosted by Mariner.
"I had a solid game," Meyer said. "I came out to practice for regionals, but it's a tournament, so, of course, I would like to win."
The 140 registered golfers, just four fewer than last year, are flighted according to handicap in five men's flights, each ranging from 20 to 33 in each. The women's flight has 10 participants. Senior men - those 55 and older - make up 54 of the 130 men entered.
This is the eighth year the tournament has been held in October. Tournament director Allen Manguson tells the story of how the time change came about.
"My first year here (2005) we had the tourney scheduled in July, but a tropical storm came through and we had to cancel. So we rescheduled it for October and have had it that way ever since."
Five of the golfers in this year's field hail from Minnesota. Jonathan Monge has been playing the City Championship for five years. This year he invited friends from the Twin Cities to come down to play as well. Most of them rented a house on the third hole at Coral Oaks.
One of the five is Ted Brown, a former NFL runningback with the Minnesota Vikings from 1979-1986.
"Jon told us about this tournament and we thought it would be great to come," said Brown. "I just purchased a home here in Cape Coral in May, so I'm familiar with the area."
Brown shot a 75 for the first round and is one shot behind leader Jeff Straus in the A Flight. Straus plays with six other friends on a regular basis.
"There are seven of us in Flight A, all within five strokes of the lead," he said. "I think it's great we're all so close after the first day."
One of those friends, Mark Ludden, is one stroke back. Ludden won the A Flight several years ago and is looking to repeat.
The final round of the tournament tees off Sunday morning.
The first-day leaders in each flight are:
Tim Murphy (Championship Flight) 71; Jeff Straus (A Flight) 74; Chase Killman (B Flight) 76; Chris Spoone and Randy McGruther (C Flight) 83; Norm Gagne (D Flight) 85; Gina Falvey (Women's Gross) 74; Violet Ney (Women's Net) 71.
1. Chris Trout 67; 2. (tie) Stan Geer, Alex Medinis 69; 4. (tie) Doug Dunakey, Todd Evans, Kris Andreu 71.
1. Kris Andreu, Kevin Faber, Tim Faber, Mark Christiano 117.
2. Stan Geer, Tony Moulder, John Blalock, Chris Lussier 119.
3. Doug Dunakey, Johnny Adams, Jeff Gallager, Jim Marcelak 122.
3. Chris Trout, Steve Trout, Mike Stephenson, Dan Bumpus 122.
Closest to Pin - #6, Jeff Gallager; #8, Darrin Trawick; #12, Tim Faber; #18, Mike Faulkner.