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SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2007
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Hughes leads Larkin golf by 2
2-time defending champion in 2nd with 1 round left

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

Dew was still on the grass at the Point Mallard Golf Course on Saturday morning, and it already looked like a repeat of the first two Elvis Larkin Golf Classics.

Flip Bradley, 46, of Huntsville was 3 under after five holes and leading the first round of the third annual tournament. Bradley, a former all-American golfer at Troy State, is the event’s only champion in its short history.

But when the sun was high in the sky, the scoreboard read 70 beside Jay Hughes of Decatur. That gave him a two-shot lead over Bradley in the 39-golfer field. Final-round action begins Sunday at 8 a.m. The leaders tee off at 9:50 a.m.

“Flip is the guy to beat here,” said Hughes, 41. “He had one errant drive today that allowed me to jump in front.”

Hughes, who finished second two years ago and third last year, shot an even par 36 on the front nine before going two-under with a 34 on the back.

“I usually play the front nine better. I hit some 10- to 12-footers early that saved the front nine for me.”

Despite being the first-round leader, Hughes said he is thrilled to be playing in the tournament.

“I haven’t played in six weeks,” Hughes said. “Works gets in the way of golf sometimes. I’m just glad to be out here today.”

After birdies on Nos. 2, 4 and 5, Bradley hit a errant drive on No. 6 that brought him back to the pack with a double bogey.

He said he wasn’t comfortable with his tempo all day. In Bradley’s last tournament, two weeks ago in the U.S. Mid-Amateur in Bandon, Ore., he said he fought tough course conditions and high winds to finish 133 out of 264.

“Playing Bandon with 35 mph winds really affected me,” he said. “I’m not sure I’m completely over that experience. My tempo is still a little fast from where it should be.”

But Bradley isn’t hanging his head about his even-par 72.

“Even par is always a good score,” he said. “I’ll try to jump out again with some birdies on the front tomorrow. These tournaments always come down to the last few holes. It’s whoever is striking the ball well and hitting putts who usually wins.”

Another shot back at 73 are Todd Lindsay and Dana Amberson and Kyle Pressley. At 74 are Jordon Amberton and Allen Self.

Hughes and Bradley said the course is in superb condition.

“I believe this is the best shape I’ve ever seen the course and I’ve been playing out here about 20 years,” Hughes said.

The 36-hole tournament open to golfers with handicap 10 or lower is named in honor of Elvis Larkin, who served as club pro at Point Mallard for 24 years.

3rd annual Elvis Larkin Point Mallard Classic

Here are the first-round results from Saturday of the third annual Elvis Larkin Point Mallard Golf Classic at the par-72 Point Mallard Golf Course in Decatur.

Championship Flight
J. Hughes 70
F. Bradley 72
T. Lindsay 73
K. Pressley 73
D. Amberson 73
J. Amberton 74
A. Self 74
M. Morehead 75
T. Lentz 75
T. Edgil 75
D. Floyd 77
T. Kent 77
Thompson 79
B Flight
C. Chaney 80
C. Yeager 80
T. Howell 81
D. Skipper 81
A. Wenzler 81
R. Wheeler 81
R. Turney 81
M. Hanson 81
L. Wenzler 81
L. Kirkland 82
L. Castleberry 82
J. Sykes 83
J. Kasulka 83
C Flight
B. Blackwell 85
J. Alexandria 85
J. Knap 86
L. Pearson 88
J. Furmanak 88
C. Carter 88
R. Rainey 88
M. Ross 89
M. Petersohn 90
Leide 90
B. Little 90
L. Blevins 92
M. Rainey 98

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