July 17, 2013 in Sports

Indian Canyon looks to toughen up for Rosauers

By The Spokesman-Review
 

There was a time when the winning score at the Rosauers Open Invitational was 7-under par. Twice, in fact, in back-to-back years by champion Greg Whisman.

In the eight years following Whisman’s titles in 1994-95 the winning scores at Indian Canyon fluctuated between 10- and 14-under. However, the last nine years the eventual champion has had to go lower, including Corey Prugh’s tournament-record 21-under in 2009. Prugh shot 7-under in the opening round of the 54-hole event in 2010 – and trailed eventual champion Kyle Kelly by two.

Indian Canyon host pro Gary Lindeblad isn’t calling for a U.S. Open-type setup on the 6,255-yard, par-71 layout, but he’s hoping a few tweaks will present more of a challenge for competitors in the 26th Rosauers, which begins today with the two-day Bank of America Pro-Am and the tournament proper Friday-Sunday.

The winner earns $11,000. Tournament proceeds benefit the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery.

“My feeling is the course hasn’t had heavy rough the last 4-5 years and we haven’t tucked the flags,” Lindeblad said. “We may bring it back to the way it used to be. I’m hoping it plays a little tougher. I think it provides a little more drama for the best players to produce the best shots.”

Of course, with another talented field it may be hard to tell because numerous players have the ability to string together three low scores.

The course is in terrific condition and six greens that were in bad shape in the spring have recovered nicely, Lindeblad said. “It was hard thinking about the thought of moving the event, but my superintendent and new assistant superintendent have put in a herculean effort. If someone played the course, they’d never have an inkling that we were in bad shape six weeks ago.”

Prugh, Kelly, Ryan Benzel and Jeff Coston are perennial contenders. Coston is the only three-time Rosauers champion. Prugh won in 2011 and 2009. He finished second last year and third in 2010. Benzel shot 20-under to claim the 2005 title.

Others to watch are defending champion David Phay, Russell Grove, who won last week’s Lilac City Invitational, and Brian Thornton, pro at Meridian Valley in Kent, Wash.

“I like playing the Canyon probably more than any place in the area,” said Prugh, an assistant at Manito. “It’s fun and interesting and a lot of fireworks can happen.”

Those fireworks can come from a number of sources.

“We just played our national championship a few weeks ago and seven of the 10 from our section that were in the field made the cut,” Prugh said. “Only 70 guys make the cut out of 41 sections. We have a lot of good players in our area.”

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