Defending champ Williams again one of Butler favorites

June 03, 2004|JILL ERWIN

No matter what condition the course at Danville Country Club is in this weekend, Patrick Williams will be considered one of the favorites in the 56th annual J.E. Butler Invitational.

The two-time defending champion has a game for every type of course, according to club professional John Mesplay, and will be expected to be among the leaders.

"Patrick can play in any condition," Mesplay said. "He's always going to be a contender."

Mesplay said the course is wet after taking on a lot of water over the weekend, and he said the grass is a little thick. But he also said, weather permitting, the course ought to be in "great shape" by the time the tournament rolls around.

Mesplay said 159 people have registered for this year's tournament, to be held Saturday and Sunday. He said there have been no changes to the course since last year, and that he's just hoping for better weather than last year's rainy days.


Williams, who just finished his senior season at Eastern Kentucky University, will have a field full of tested foes and new faces to contend with.

Last year's fourth-place finisher, Joe Bunch of Danville, is back as well as former Boyle standout Phillip Hendrickson, who played for the first time last year and finished fifth.

New faces include 2003 state high school champion Ben Fuqua of Danville, who is eligible for the first time, John Kartheiser of Lexington and Chad Hines of Elizabethtown.

"Those guys are all power golfers," Mesplay said. "The longer the course plays, meaning wet conditions, the better it is for them.

"There's really no big advantage for anyone, other than maybe local people who know the course a little better."

Mesplay said if the greens firm up and the course dries out, a score of four- or five-under par will win it. If the course remains wet, however, scores should be lower.

"It really all kind of depends on the weather we get," Mesplay said.

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