Wednesday, June 28, 2000

Met Notebook

Survivors tap local knowledge

By Jeff Carlton
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Most of the top seeds entering the Greater Cincinnati Golf Association Metropolitan Amateur Championship's match-play round have at least one thing in common: extensive experience playing the host course at Coldstream Country Club.

        No. 2 seed Jim Ebel, who is playing in his 15th Met, says he tries to play the Coldstream course at least once a year. Even though No. 3 seed Tim Donovan has never played in a tournament at Coldstream, he's spent some time on the course as well. He works in the club's pro shop.

        Knowledge of the course came in handy Tuesday, especially when an early afternoon rain softened the freshly cut greens. “It just spit on us a bit,” Ebel said.

        “You had to keep your focus and not let the rain affect you,” Donovan said. “The weather is always going to play a part and you just have to mentally focus on playing your game.”

        Top seed Jim Herman didn't shoot a bogey on a single hole, shooting par on the last 12 holes after a birdie on No. 6.

        But experience can be overrated. Wes Homan, 16, squeaked into match play with an 8-over 150. He's the 31st of 32 qualifiers and will play Ebel today.

        Homan, the youngest player in the field, will be a junior at Summit Country Day. In 1999 the Enquirer named him the Division II-III Golfer of the Year.

        MATCH PLAY: On Monday and Tuesday, the golfers looking to survive the Met's early cuts played conservatively. Look for that to change today, when the tournament format switches from stroke play to match play.

        In stroke play, one bad hole could kill a golfer's chances of making the cut by driving up his score. That changes in match play, when golfers go out in pairs and try to win each hole.

        “Your strategy has to change because you just don't know how the match is going to go,” Herman said. “You could be winning and play real conservative, just try to hit greens, make your pars. But if you fall behind you're going to have to get a little more aggressive and try to make birdie when you would rather just go for par.”



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