The weather forecast may look iffy for now, but the numbers look good and the field looks awfully solid for the 37th playing of the Richard J. Berry Memorial Championships sponsored by The Times.
For the second consecutive year, the traditional Streator city tournament has extended its borders and courses, with the three-day, 54-hole event opening this coming Saturday on Ottawa's south side at Pine Hills, continuing Sunday on the north end of Streator at Anderson Fields and concluding the following Saturday, July 20, at the Eastwood in Streator followed by an awards banquet. Male golfers from across The Times circulation area are invited to compete, with late registration still available at one of the three host courses.
Numbers look to be in line — maybe even a little up — from last year's tournament.
"Last year we had 89, and this year right now we're at 83," said tournament director and Championship Flight competitor Tony Muscato. "But I'm really confident we'll get another 10 or so guys the next couple days. We always do."
Defending champion Baley Lehr returns after storming back in the final holes last year to secure his second title. He took home the big trophy in both 2017 and 2015.
The field also includes a pair of other multi-time Championship Flight winners — Josh Gass (2016, 2014) and Brian Lehr (2013, 2010, 2009). Other past champions looking to add to their trophy shelf include Rick Krumscheid (2005), John Cinotto (1996) and Kevin Pflibsen (1984).
Additional Championship Flight competitors this year include Larry Wampler, Chad Wahl, Ron Wahl, Grant Mascal, Barbier, T.J. Masley, Mason Kimberly, Patrick Guilfoyle, Steve Limberg, Tom Clancy, Muscato, Greg Pflibsen, Kevin Erschen, Dan Sabol, Joe Cravatta, Dane Lehr, Rick Lehr, Connor Soenksen and, moving up by rule, last year's A Flight winner Chuck Demoss.
"Looking at the Championship (Flight) guys," said Muscato, "most all of them are there. We've got a good field."
Ten golfers have declared for this year's A Flight, and four for the new Legends Flight for seniors. The remainder of the field will be flighted by scores after the opening two rounds.
Complete tee times appear in today's Scoreboard on page B2 and online at mywebtimes.com.
The weekend's forecast as of late Wednesday night called for temperatures in the low 90s and a 50-to-60-percent chance for thunderstorms both Saturday and Sunday.
This year's tournament will again feature a $10,000 hole-in-one challenge, sponsored by Midland States Bank.