Columbia seniors participate in golf tournament, enjoy friendly competition

Saturday, June 25, 2011 | 6:55 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — After their rounds, some drank Gatorade, some coffee and some Bud Light, but the golfers at L.A. Nickell Golf Course on Saturday morning said they appreciated playing competitive golf.

The 18th Annual Rex Dillow Columbia Invitational Seniors Championship golf tournament, which is organized by the MU Retirees Association, began Saturday morning at L.A. Nickell Golf Course and will continue at 9 a.m. Sunday at A.L. Gustin Golf Course.

Who's leading?

Dave Teel shot a 68 during the first round and leads the tournament heading into Sunday's competition.

"It's something the retirees association wanted to sponsor to keep the seniors in town interested in golf and some kind of senior activity going on," said Gary Zwonitzer, who is on the tournament committee. 

The tournament features 39 senior golfers from Columbia. There are no prizes, and the entry fees go toward greens fees and other tournament expenses.

Larry Williamson, who is playing in the tournament for the first time, said it is a good chance for him to challenge himself at a game he plays much more often now that he is retired.

While Williamson has played in scrambles before, he said he has never played in a competitive tournament where each player plays his own ball.

"I've never played a real tournament where you play actual golf, you know, ball down and the players on their raw score," Williamson said. "It was a lot of fun. It was exciting. It's a good way to play golf. I plan on playing every year now."

As the players finished their first rounds, some left quickly to meet their children, some to meet their wives for lunch, while others hung around the clubhouse.

Jerry Nelson, Greg Odom and Bruce Loyd sat around a table after their round and watched the scores go up on the score sheet. They said the tournament is fun to be around because of the good people, but that it is also competitive. 

"We play with a bunch of nice guys," Loyd said. "You can come out here and shoot just about anything and still have a good time."

"It's like family," Nelson said.

"There's still a lot of competition out there, though," Odom said. "Don't be fooled."

Odom said all of the players want to win, "but you know there's lot more stuff a lot more important than a round of golf."

"I think all the golfers want to win, some of them more so than others. I think some realize they don't have probably a chance to win the thing, but they just like to come out and play golf with their peers," Zwonitzer said.

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