By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Kyle Miller finds himself in very familiar territory this last weekend of July — in position to win the Goshen Men’s City Golf Championship.
Miller fired a 3-under-par 68 on Saturday at Maplecrest Country Club to take a commanding seven-shot lead in the championship flight after the first round of the annual tournament, which wraps up today at Black Squirrel Golf Club.
Chris Elledge, defending champion Matt Dutton and Fairfield High School senior John Stack are tied for second place with first-round 75s. Michael Korniekwiecz and Ross Gunden are tied for fifth, each carding a 76.
Miller won the tournament in 2009 and 2010 and was runner-up to Fairfield graduate Brian Ulrich in 2011.
On Saturday, Miller’s card included six birdies and three bogeys.
Miller said he has not played Black Squirrel yet in 2013.
“I’ve played that course enough over the years,” he said, “that I am familiar with it.”
Miller said his iron play — especially his wedges — made the difference on Saturday.
“I was routinely leaving myself 5-foot putts,” Miller said.
After a two-year absence from the top of the leaderboard, Miller is looking forward to possibly adding a third title to his trophy case today.
Dutton, the defending champion, turned in a respectable round with his 4-over 75.
“The front nine was worse than the back for me today,” Dutton said. Dutton shot 39 on the front and 36 on the back.
Dutton, a former Concord and Bethel College golfer, said he felt no particular pressure to defend his title.
Dutton, too, has not played Black Squirrel yet this season: His home course is Bent Oak in Elkhart.
“I’ll go out there tomorrow, try to make some more pars and birdies and see what happens,” Dutton said.
Jared Frederick, head golf professional at Maplecrest and co-tournament organizer, said organizers flipped the tee time schedule this year in an effort to speed up the pace of play.
“It works out better to send the lower-handicap golfers out first,” Frederick said.
Golfers are arranged into flights according to their golf handicap, which is considered a good indicator of their general skill level.
This year, there were 34 golfers divided into four flights.
Miller said he and other championship flight golfers liked being able to get out onto the course first.
“We got our round done in about three hours and 45 minutes,” Miller said.
In the other flights, Goshen High School senior Alex Hartsough leads the first flight with a 76; Rick Winrott leads the second flight with a 79; and John Delcamp leads the third flight with an 88.
The championship flight tees off at Black Squirrel at 10 a.m.
Goshen Men’s City Tournament
At Maplecrest Country Club
1. Kyle Miller, 68; 2t. Chris Elledge, 75; Matt Dutton, 75; John Stack, 75; 5t. Michael Korniekwiecz, 76; Ross Gunden, 76; 7t. Mike McGraw, 77; Chris Mann, 77; 9. Scott Toner, 78; 10. Tobin Keim, 80; 11. Dave Shenk, 82; 12. Tom Smith, 84.
1. Alex Hartsough, 76; 2. Cameron Zentz, 77; 3. Tracy Bradley, 82; 4. Doug Fisher, 85; 5t. Josh Davidhizar, 89; Keith Gingerich, 89; 7. Merv Lambright, 90; 8. Lance Vaughn, 91; 9. Derek Hawn, 93.
1. Rick Winrott, 79; 2t. Heriberto Moreno, 87; Charles Downing, 87; 4t. Roy Honey, 90; Bob Harwood, 90; 6. Roger Hawn, 91; 7. James Callahan, 95.
1. John Delcamp, 88; 2. Ryan Miller, 95; 3. Ryan Miller, 95; 3. Mike Lapp, 97; 4. Greg Byrkett, 102; 5. Brad Hershberger, 103; 6. Randy Stutzman, 115.