The second and last qualifier for the 2015 Firecracker Open is underway at Lions Municipal Golf Course. Follow the scoring via the GolfAustin.Org I-Phone or Android Free Application or by clicking here.
The qualifier has a number of quality players attempting to gain a spot in the championship. They consist of younger and older players, men and women, girls and boys. Some have established records, some are trying to qualify for the first time. For one reason or another they are not exempt into the Firecracker Open.
Alexander Rossi, who plays for the SMU Women’s golf team is among those attempting to qualify. Dillon Van Essen, who has been a standout at St. Edwards is teeing it up today. Joe Bendetti, a former professionial and winner of numerous local tournaments is attempting to qualify. Kody King, a winner of multiple local tournaments, has regained his amateur status and is attempting to qualify.
There are grandparents that have entered grandchildren into the qualifier so they can gain some experience and perhaps a spot in the field. There are lots of juniors attempting to qualify. It’s quite the democratic process.
One thing is for sure. The qualify of the field in this year’s Firecracker will be excellent. Many of the players have commented that they want to try and win the Firecracker while it is still being held at Muny. With Muny’s future uncertain, there is a sense of urgency and history that floats through the players. And it is so interesting that so many Austin golfers hold this championship in such regard.
The golf course is fun to play, even though it could not be considered a championship layout. It provides lots of birdie opportunities that usually frustrate players because the putting is difficult due to sloping greens that are grainy and hard to read.
The pace of play in the Firecracker over the last three years has been an absolute joy to participants, with rounds averaging about four hours. This came as a result of reducing the size of the field and instituting qualifiers to offset the loss of revenue.
The qualify of the field is enhanced by this process as the better players, who might not have played when the rounds average five and a half hours, are interested in playing. And, with the qualifiers it guarantees that the participants can get around the course quicker because the average score to qualify is somewhere around 75.
The course has lots of grass on it due to recent rains and although you normally don’t think of rough being a problem at Muny, it may prove to be one this year.
All it all it should be an interesting tournament. Good luck to all of you attempting to qualify. One thing for sure, the Firecracker Open is a communal experience for Austin golfers.