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Stroke play time

Eben Harrell

One of the more rewarding aspects of the Aspen golf season is that the city’s two major championships bookend the season.The city match-play tournament takes place over three weeks in the spring. And this weekend, as Aspen’s summer season draws to a close, local duffers will get one last shot at glory in the Michael Conviser City Stroke Play Championship.Conviser was a regular at the Aspen Golf Course, a lover of the game. When he died unexpectedly four years ago from a heart attack, the club decided to name its most prestigious tournament in his memory. While many would argue the merits of the city’s match-play championship, played over three weeks and five rounds, hardly anyone would argue the supremacy of the Conviser Cup.The old adage is “anything can happen in match play” – a well-timed birdie and a couple of lucky putts can easily mean victory. But you can’t fake your way through two rounds of stroke play. This makes it the purer form of the game, and the more enjoyable format. You go out and fight as hard as you can and almost without exception you’ll post the number you deserve. Is there any other aspect in life, let alone sports, that gives you such immediate and honest feedback?Every so often you’ll meet a golfer who will say something like, “I have an 8 handicap. I usually shoot in the high 70s.” But if they’ve never played in a tournament, this is pure speculation. When every shot counts and every rule must be followed, the game becomes completely different.Coming at the end of the season, the Conviser Cup is also a chance for Aspen to showcase its golf course. The staff this year will likely lower the greens to a shorter cut, making them quicker, truer and finally worthy of their reputation as the valley’s toughest. On Sunday, pins will be tucked and tees moved back. If you’re going to win around here, Aspen’s golf staff wants you to know, you better bring your A game.The city championship has four flights. The championship flight (with only a gross winner) for handicaps between 0-6.7; the first flight (gross and net winners) for 6.8-11.2; the second for 11.3-16.5; and the third for 16.6 and above. The ladies championship will have only one flight.The entry fee of $70 is due by close of business today. For more information call 925-2145.Eben Harrell’s e-mail is eharrell@aspentimes.com


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