By JOHN CORYER Press-Republican
---- — MALONE — The 30th edition of the Masters North Golf Tournament take place today and Friday at the Malone Golf Club’s East Course.
And tournament director Willie King doesn’t foresee any dropoff in the outstanding amateur talent.
“We have 42 golfers in the Masters North field and 18 in the Legends field,” King said. “We have seven past champions playing and that’s a record for the tournament.
The biggest name returning is Graham Cooke, who has won the green jacket a record nine times. Cooke was runner-up last year, losing on the first playoff hole to David Passino, Jr., who won the event with a sensational eagle on the par-four first hole.
The East Course will provide a test for the golfers in both divisions.
“The course is in great shape and the greens are fast,” King said. “It should be nice to play and the field is a very competitive one.
“A lot of players have come close to winning over the years, including Matt King, who has been runner-up three times.
“What makes the tournament more interesting this year is that trees have been cut on the par-three 11th and 14th holes, which were already difficult to play. It will be even tougher this year if the wind is blowing.”
Willie King will not be playing in the event for the first time this year.
“We’ve made the tournament bigger and bigger,” he said. “I’m just going to help run the thing.”
Still, King is pleased with the talent in both the Masters North and Legends fields.
“There’s a lot of nice stories,” he said. “Bob Hughes is a past champion and he is the honoree this year. It’s nice to have Michael Jolin, a former local high school standout, playing. He lives in Milwaukee now.
“We have new players like Len Freitas, Dave Kokes and Kevin McKee, who are local players who have recently won their club championships, in the field for the first time. They’re excited to be here.
“There are probably 10 to 15 golfers in the field who could win it and I’m happy that the local golfers, such as David Passino, Jr. and Ed Davis, have done well in recent years.”
John Esterbrook returns to defend his championship in the Legends division, which he has won the past two years.
Gord Hanna is a past champion in the Masters North division who is in the Legends and Michael O’Connor, a longtime participant in the Masters North division, will be playing in the Legends for the first time.
The first tee time for the Legends today is at 9:24 a.m. The first tee time for the Masters North field is 10:12 a.m.
Pairings for Friday’s second round will be determined by the first day’s scores.
2013 Masters North Field
Today’s tee times
10:12 a.m.- Ryan Kirkpatrick — Matt Davis — Jeff Delamater
10:20 a.m.- Len Freitas — Bill Fisher — Tom Post
10:28 a.m.- Chad Welch — Zach Meade — Don Mortenson
10:36 a.m.- Robin Weeden — Kevin McKee — Brandon Smith
10:44 a.m.- Dave Johnston — Dave Kokes — Eric Labounty
10:56 a.m.- Steve Ahlgrim — Andy Duso — Cody Roberts
11:04 a.m.- Steve Moffat — Joe Tufo — Michael Patenaude
11:12 a.m.- Tom Raville — Tim Barcomb — Graham Niles
11:20 a.m.- Nick Politi — Steve Labombard — Paul Ahlgrim
11:28 a.m.- Peter Malo — Chip Ward — Serge Dagenais
11:36 a.m.- John Blain — Michael Roberts — Bart VanLeuvan
11:44 a.m.- Troy Collins — Matt King — Greg Wilson
11:52 a.m.- Bob Hughes — Jeff Fallon — Michael Jolin
Noon- Graham Cooke — Ed Davis — David Passino, Jr.
2013 Master North Legends Field
Today’s tee times
9:24 a.m.- Phil Arsenault — John Tulloch — Chuck Voorhees
9:32 a.m.- Gerry Murphy — Butch Plimpton — James Smith
9:40 a.m.- Frank Kay — Pete Sorrell — Paul Lambert
9:48 a.m- Mickey Batten — Larry Jeffords — Dave Lamora
9:56 a.m.- Pierre Archambault — Gord Hanna — Bob Zuckerman
10:04 a.m.- John Esterbrook — Steve Johnson — Michael O’Connor