Monday, July 08, 2002

Nieman eyes 5th No. Ky. Am title

By Gary Estwick,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        After retiring from his job last year, Charlie Nieman has more time to play golf.

        And his newfound free time could translate into a fifth Northern Kentucky Men's Amateur Championship this week.

        Nieman,the defending champion of the annual tournament, will be one of 166 golfers competing today through Thursday at the Willows Course at Kenton County Golf Course in Independence. .

        “I'm much more rested now than I was when I was working 90 hours a week last year,” Nieman, 47, said. “I feel great. I used to work brutal hours.”

        Nowadays, he doesn't spend as many hours working. Nieman admitted that he is still a workaholic, so he is always working on a few business opportunities. But instead of traveling around the country, he mainly works out of his home office in Florence.

        “I love to work, but I don't love to travel,” Nieman said. "I've got two young kids, and it gives me more time to spend with them.”

        Alex, 5, and Suzanne, 7, saw their father win last year's tournament. Winning this year's tournament at the 6,800-yard, par-72 course won't be easy. Former winners Don Niehaus (1971, 1991), Gary Herfel (1983) and Lance Lucas (1999) are also scheduled to compete.

        “There's some really good golfers in this tournament,” tournament director Robert Leach said. “It would be too hard to pick a winner.”

        After today's qualifying round, the field will be trimmed to three flights of 32 for Tuesday's play. Nieman, who graduated from Covington Catholic High, hopes he will be that winner.

        He wants to keep playing. He's slowed down on work, but doesn't plan to do the same with golf.

        “I'd love to play golf, and hope I can keep playing for 20 years,” he said. “I'll always have the interest to do it.”

        Nieman's resume includes winning the Greater Cincinnati Golf Association Men's Metropolitan Amateur Championship in 1979.


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