Newton returns to Senior Am

May. 19, 2013 @ 11:47 PM

While the weekend rain causes just a hint of worry about the conditions at Croasdaile Country Club, there are few concerns about the quality of golf that will be played during the Durham Senior Amateur tournament.
In its fourth year, the Durham Senior Amateur features its largest field — 155 golfers — as play in the two-day, 36-hole event begins today at Croasdaile.
“It’s a very strong field,” said Durham’s Dink Andrews, the tournament’s founder and organizer. “It’s just grown beyond anybody’s expectations.”
The golfers will compete in the Senior and Super Senior divisions, with the winner in the senior grouping being named the overall champion.
Last year’s winner was Ernie Newton, who fired a 36-hole total of 143 in the tournament’s first run at Croasdaile. Hillandale Golf Course had been the tournament’s home for the first two years.
Newton is back to defend his championship and is scheduled to tee off at 1:24 p.m. from the 10th hole.
Jamestown’s Larry Boswell won the Super Senior group a year ago with a 141 score. The 69-year-old Boswell went on to win the N.C. Super Senior Championship in September in Charlotte. Boswell was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.
He will be back in Durham today to tee off at 12:57 p.m. at hole No. 1.
Burlington’s Gary Roberson is also a threat to win. Roberson won the Senior Amateur Golf Tour event at Mebane’s Mill Creek Golf Club this past week.
But a new name could emerge as a champion. Andrews said this year’s field includes around 65 or 70 new players.
They will be playing for a record-high purse that includes $13,200 worth of prizes.
Andrews credits the local business community for improving the tournament. After selling 53 sponsorships for the initial Durham Senior Am in 2010, that number increased to 156 this year.
“The business community has wrapped its arms around the tournament, and that’s what’s made the tournament the success that it is,” Andrews said.
Andrews also said he has made an agreement at Croasdaile to make the club the tournament’s permanent home.
As for the playing conditions today and Tuesday, the weekend’s weather played a role in determining that. Before the rain, Andrews said the Croasdaile course was in great condition.
But 1.25 inches of rain fell Saturday and early Sunday and more off-and-on showers were in the forecast.
“It’s got everybody on edge, because the golf course was in pristine conditions,” Andrews said.