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May 15, 2014

31st Masters North tees off today

PLATTSBURGH — Masters North Championship founder and tournament director Willie King takes a lot of pride in his annual event.

It’s no different in today’s and Friday’s 31st edition of arguably the top amateur golf tournament in the North Country, being held at the Malone Golf Club’s East Course.

“I’m always pumped up for the tournament,” King said. “It’s nice that we have been able to keep it going and we’re always looking for ways to make it even better.”

This will mark the 25th year the annual 36-hole event, which was first held at Saranac Inn Golf Course, will take place in Malone.

“The course is in fine shape for the weather we’ve had,” King said. “But, because of the lack of preparation the golfers have had this year because of the weather, I do expect the scores to be higher this year.”

There are five past champions in the 42-golfer Masters North field, led by nine-time champion Graham Cooke (1984, 1987, 1989, 1992, 1995, 2001, 2003, 2009 and 2010).

Also returning is last year’s champion, Peter Malo, along with Ed Davis (2011), Geoff Marsden (2005) and Jeff Fallon (2000). Marsden holds the tournament record with a 142 total for two days.

Matt King is a three-time tournament runner-up, which is also a record.

“It will be close this year,” King said. “It’s going to be tough for the golfers to shoot low rounds, especially with rain in the forecast for Friday.

“I think it’s going to come down to about eight golfers. I would put Graham Cooke and Ed Davis in the first tier, and Greg Wilson, Ethan Votraw, Matt King, Peter Malo, Mike Roberts and Bart Van Leuvan in the second tier.

Gord Hanna (1999) is also a past champion, but he now tees it up in the Legends field, which goes off before the Masters North field.

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