The Club at River Forest will host the Macon-Middle Georgia Championship on Saturday and Sunday, and it looks like it could be a wide-open event once again.
Stan Gann Jr. will be back trying to capture his second straight title, but the field is packed with golfers who have won the tournament, as well as many others who will try to win one of the areas majors for the first time.
I like the course a lot, but I have only played it four or five times, which puts me at a slight disadvantage, said Gann, who just returned from vacation and admits he has not played much golf the past week. I always have high expectations for myself, and I wouldnt play the tournament if I didnt.
My goal is always the same, which is to be somewhere near the front with a chance to win the tournament.
Gann will tee off with two other past winners at 9:10 a.m. on Saturday. He is paired with Taylor Jernigan, who won the tournament in 2010, and Lee Gerdes, a four-time champion who last won it in 2004.
I like the tee time and the guys I am playing with, so that should help, Gann Jr. said. Taylor is a good friend who I have played a lot of golf with, and he just hits the ball right by me, and Lee is very consistent. Obviously it helps playing with guys that will probably score well. I am really looking forward to the weekend.
Gerdes is also the current club champion at River Forest.
I guess its a small advantage for me because I do play the course a lot, and I know the greens and the yardages, Gerdes said. But this is a very deep and talented field, and I believe that there are probably 15 to 20 golfers who could win this weekend. I am excited to get to play with Taylor and Stan, and that should be a lot of fun, but when it comes right down to it, I have to play my own game and not worry about what they are doing.
I know for sure that no one will just win the tournament because they show up. It will takes someones A game to win.
Jernigan, the youngest of the three at 24, feels like he is ready for the weekend.
I cant wait to see what River Forest has in store for us, Jernigan said. I feel like I have been playing solid golf heading into this tournament, and I have spent a lot of time on my short game, and it has been sharp lately. It looks like the weather is going to be very hot, and I prefer the heat because the ball flies farther, and its easy to stay loose.
I am playing with two great champions, but I know I have to stay focused on my game. If I can do that, I should be OK.