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WEDNESDAY, JULY 4, 2007
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Spirit of America golfer Andrew Villarreal, left, and his father Andy, center, greet Nationwide Tour professional Tyler Williamson during the charity scramble at Burningtree Country Club on Tuesday. The scramble raised about $40,000.
Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer
Spirit of America golfer Andrew Villarreal, left, and his father Andy, center, greet Nationwide Tour professional Tyler Williamson during the charity scramble at Burningtree Country Club on Tuesday. The scramble raised about $40,000.

Scrambling for charity
For a good cause, 26 teams see course changes

By Michael Wetzel
mwetzel@decaturdaily.com · 340-2462

Three longer holes on the back nine; a sand trap expanded to grab golfers’ attention; and some firmer greens. The Burningtree Country Club golf course is more challenging this year and the more than 100 golfers who toured the links in the third annual Tyler Williamson Charity Golf Scramble on Tuesday met the challenges first hand.

“The course has a good layout and the front nine is as great as anything around,” said Williamson, a Burningtree member and Nationwide Tour card-carrying member.

“With the recent changes, the back nine is a little stouter and more challenging.”

He said the bunker on 10, and length added to holes 11 and 16 should see scores a tad higher.

Twenty-six teams, donors and sponsors raised nearly $40,000 for local charities including this year’s featured agency, Parents and Children Together of Morgan County.

“The changes show Tom Flowe’s (Burningtree owner) commitment to making the course, not just one of the best in North Alabama, but one of the best in the Southeastern United States. The greens are getting close to perfection. He wants it all to be better.”

Featuring 156 amateur golfers from 14 states and two foreign countries, the 40th annual Daikin America Spirit of America tournament tees off Thursday morning.

The four-round event concludes Sunday afternoon.

Williamson said he’ll be in town to watch the action. “I’m taking a couple of weeks off the tour to concentrate on my long game,” he said.

He added he has been working with his coach since 1998, Eric Eshleman of the Birmingham Country Club, to work on his tee shots.

“I’ve been doing a complete re-commitment of my game,” Williamson said. “I’m not a long hitter, so Eric and I are concentrating on that. We started with the putting and short game.

“I’ve pretty much played the past four tournaments as a status check of my progress.”

Williamson said many of the Spirit of America golfers will be competitors of his on the pro tours in the near future.

“I’ll be out there practicing and watching the action,” he said. “I will be learning some of the kids’ names. I suspect we’ll be meeting each other on the tour one day.”

PGA Tour members Stewart Cink, Andy Bean and Spike McRoy of Huntsville have all played in the annual Decatur golf tournament.

Practice for the Spirit tournament continues today.

Admission to walk the grounds to watch the competition is free.

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