Beck in four-way tie for fourth
By KEVIN PRICE
It would have been unfair for anyone to expect Columbus High golfer Jimmy Beck to repeat his first-round performance from a year ago in the Hardaway Larry Gaither Invitational.
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Last year Beck opened the tournament with a record 9-under 63, including a 29 on the The Bradley Nine, which is the back nine for the tournament.
While his opening round Friday was 10 shots higher, a 1-over 73 at Fort Benning's Follow Me Golf Course, his ultimate goal of repeating as the Gaither medalist is well within reach.
Beck, who was the Ledger-Enquirer’s All-Bi-City Co-Player of the Year last year, is tied for fourth with Montgomery Academy’s Williams Sellers, Richmond Academy’s Grayson Sigg and Savannah Country Day’s Joe Lewis.
There is a three-way tie for the lead at even-par 72. Leading the way is Brookstone’s Parker Derby. Also at 72 is Montgomery Academy’s Major Lee and Tift County’s Jake Flynt.
Lee led Montgomery Academy to the team lead. Its 299 was six shots better than Derby’s Brookstone No. 1 team.
Beck and his Columbus team is third at 310. The Columbus High team had a scare at the end of the round when Will Johnson was hit in the side of the head by an errant shot. But after receiving treatment from EMT’s, Johnson was able to leave the course.
Beck began the Gaither with five tournament wins already this season in eight tournaments.
In Friday’s tournament, he made three birdies, two bogeys and one double bogey.
“I hit it well today and putted fine,” Beck said. “I just didn’t get into a groove today to go low. But I didn’t expect to.”
Beck made his two birdies on the two par 5s on the The Marshall nine, which serves as the front nine. They both followed bogeys.
He then made seven straight pars before a birdie on the par-3 seventh on The Bradley. He hit a 5-iron to 10 feet on the 170-yard hole and made the putt to go to 1 under.
His double bogey came on his finishing hole, a par 5 after his shot into a greenside bunker found a footprint.
In last year’s team standings, Columbus finished third and Brookstone fourth.
Kevin Price, 706-320-4493, email@example.com