Pete Walz follows through on a shot during the Cascades Golf Course during the Jackson County Senior Golf Open on Saturday. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.
By Jeff Steers
Longtime Jackson golfer Pete Walz said it would “mean the world” to win the Jackson County Senior Golf Open on Sunday.
It is the only tournament he has not won in six decades of competitive golf in Jackson.
Walz is halfway there, shooting a 1-under-par 71 at Cascades Golf Course in the first round of the Senior Open on Saturday.
He is tied with fellow Jackson Hall of Famer Mike Raymond heading into the final round on Sunday.
Former Michigan Amateur champion Todd Marston is one stroke back, and Mark Kurzynowski, Michael Rossi and Greg Zeller are two shots back at 73.
Play concludes on Sunday with the championship flight leaders teeing off at approximately 10:56 a.m.
Walz has won 19 local major tournaments including five County Opens, and three each in the Jackson City Championships, Jackson Masters, Lyle Ambs Memorial Tournaments, and Tournament of Champions.
“This is the only tournament I have been eligible to play in and not won,” Walz said after his round on Saturday. “There aren’t too many sports you can play at a competitive level at the age of 66.”
He continues to walk the golf courses with the help of a pull cart.
“I guess I am trying to lose some weight and get some exercise,” Walz said. “I play better golf when I walk because I have better rhythm.”
Walz is part of a group of 50-plus golfers who continue to win events in Jackson County. He has won major tournaments starting in 1971 all the way through 2015.
“The good thing is the golf course does not know how old you are … it’s just a number,” Walz said with a smile. “Golf teaches you not to throw in the towel when things are going bad.”
Ron Potok leads in the first flight with a 76 and Ron Swartz is the first-round leader in the second flight with an 82.
Players were eligible to request to be in the championship flight or compete in their respective age brackets.
Here are the tee times for Sunday and scores from the first round:
Championship Flight: Ages 50 to 59 (or flighted)
Tee Time Player Round one score
9:44 Eric Birkle (89) Tom Vann (91) Robert Harrison (95)
9:52 Ray Hill (88) Rick Burns (88) Todd Raehtz (88)
10:00 David McDevitt (85) Kevin Thomas (85) Doug Debruler (87)
10:08 Jeff Parker (81) Chris Vanderveen (81) Ken Byers (82)
10:16 Bob Varner (80) Chris Cullin (80) Brian Cohen (81)
10:24 Phil Abbey (77) Jeff McEldowney (78) Vincent Rhodes (79)
10:32 Richard Brondyke (76) John Tarpley (76) Jim Coutu (76)
10:40 Rusty Whisman (75) Tim Pickering (75) Brian Smith (75)
10:48 Michael Rossi (73) Mark Kurzynowski (73) Greg Zeller (73)
10:56 Pete Walz (71) Mike Raymond (71) Todd Marston (72)
First Flight: ages 60 to 69
11:04 Jim Jakubowski (88) Mike Zuchowski (88) Bob Dietz (89)
11:12 Don Baker (81) Harold West (81) Dan Morrisroe (86)
11:20 Thom Markiewicz (78) Dave Clark (79) Jim Clark (80)
11:28 Ron Potok (75) Mike Rich (76) Steve Davis (76)
Second Flight: Ages 70-plus
11:36 Dan Messerly (86) Joe Schmiel (89) Robin Brier (90)
11:44 Ron Swartz (82) Wayne Harbaugh (84) Dave Andrus (85) Jerry Fitzpatrick (86)
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