Fleetwood back to defend crown at High Pointe
BICKNELL — Jeremy Fleetwood attempts to defend his Knox County Open title this weekend, but is going to face several more golfers than he did a year ago.
The tournament at the High Pointe Country Club switched from June to July this year and benefitted with a larger turnout. Tournament director Dan Shepherd said Thursday afternoon he has 93 entries, 21 more than a year ago.
"We put it in June last year because the course would look better. I put it July this year because I wanted to get away from the (buffalo gnats)," Shepherd said. "It turned out well. The gnats haven't been bad this year, and I have been told by several customers that the course is the best it's ever looked. The greens are rolling as true as ever and they're sticking."
The tournament has Championship, A, B, C and D flights. Golfers won't be positioned into flights until after first-round play is completed. Given the number of entries, that puts about 18-19 golfers in each flight.
Fleetwood, of Vincennes, might go against more golfers this weekend, but one player he won't see is Vincennes native Jack Cunningham. The recent Ball State University graduate captured the Lawrence County Open in Lawrenceville, Ill., last month. He brought up then that he wanted to duplicate current PGA player Adam Schenk's Triple Play in 2012, when he won at Lawrenceville, Bicknell and Vincennes in the same year.
Schenk also won in Montgomery that year, and Cunningham had done that recently too.
Loogootee's Kevin Johnson, a multi-time winner of the Knox County Open, has the best resume to stop Fleetwood this weekend. Blake Claycomb of Vincennes is the only one in the field who has won titles in Lawrenceville, Bicknell and Vincennes. Claycomb won the Knox County Open in 2016.
Outside of the county, Recent Red Hill, Ill., graduate Camren Ray has the best recent form, finishing second behind Cunningham at the Lawrence County Open. Three county high school players, Rivet's Christian Steininger, South Knox's Cameron Chattin and North Knox's Ian Kixmiller, are in an 11 a.m. grouping. Steininger and Chattin were regional qualifiers this past spring.
Shepherd said the rough is going to be trimmed to a manageable level and that the course set-up for the weekend is "moderate." Even though the course is short by today's standards, 5,800 yards, the winning score, generally, is not far from par.
Rain may factor into the equation, with a 50 percent chance of precipitation both days.
"It does have me concerned, but we're not doing anything about it right now. We'll react to what happens," Shepherd said.
The festivities begin today with 10 qualifiers competing in a nine-hole Shootout. The tournament's first tee times Saturday and Sunday are 7:30 a.m.
Knox Open tee times
BICKNELL — Tee times Saturday for the opening round of the Knox County Open, played at the High Pointe Country Club:
7:30 am — Jeremy Fleetwood, Cole Bond, Frank Ingram, Steve Smith, Dan Shepherd
8 — Bret Vories, Rick Jerrells, Levi Jerrells, Noah Wifnicwski
8:15 — John Bramblett, Jacob Shryock, Bill Sult, Jay Pace
8:30 — Jake Alsman, Zac Holt, Jeremy Bloebaum, Terry Hudson
8:45 — Troy McCrary, Kevin Claycomb, Dave Hill, J.R. Claycomb
9 — Kenny Owens, Mike Joyce, Tim Coffman, Larry Knight
9:15 — Luke Jerrells, Bill O'Mara, Kevin Dunkerly, Tom Held
9:25 — Bobbie Hodges, Gary Edwards, Rick Thomson
9:30 — Marv Graber, Eric Wagler, Adam Graber, John Greit
9:37 — Rick Leonard, Nick Claycomb, Nick Prout
9:45 — Don McCoy Sr., Don McCoy Jr., Tanner Gray, Camren Ray
10 — Kevin Johnson, Mark Jeffers, Dave Hanger, Reid Szumski
10:15 — Frank Bratton, Michael Alvarez, Bernie Ticker, Chris Gregory
10:30 — John Myers, Dustin Smith, Shane Shepherd
10:45 — Chase Marczak, Allan Hedly, Tanner Nomady, Paul Wilson
11 — Ian Kixmiller, Cameron Chattin, Christian Steininger
1 pm — Ryan Brumback, Jerrico Warren, Darren Stackhouse, Dusty Scott
1:15 — Rick Wright, Bryan Surber, Harmon Cooper, Brian Brewer
1:30 — Ken Strakis, Kyle Strakis, John Young
1:45 — Dean Schlarb, Nick Kelso, Dennis Sharrett
2 — Rick Miller, Bret Henton, Lex Moody, Jace Moody
2:15 — Jacob Zwilling, Geroge Zwilling, Steve Preusz, Doug Hardacre
3 — Brandon Flatter, Blake Claycomb, Brian Helderman, Cory Earhart
3:30 — Trey Miller, Brian Heintz, Max Nickless, Chris Minderman