Local Golf: Rowan Amateur kicks off

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 15, 2011

By Ryan Bisesi
SALISBURY — Ronnie Eidson knew it would be a good day when he escaped what he called “death valley” at Corbin Hills Golf Course on Friday, the first day of the 33rd Annual Horace Billings Rowan Amateur.
“Holes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5,” said the defending champion. “If you can come out of that even par, you’ve done well.”
Eidson, going for his third Amateur championship, made out OK and then some as he hit birdies on holes 5, 6, 7 and 10 and stayed bogey-free to get off to a solid start on the first day of the tournament. He was 4-under after 10 holes of match play to take his first-day match by a 10 & 8 margin.
“I can remember when I was really nervous playing this,” Eidson said. “Now, I just look at it as a round of golf.” Edison won his first tournament in 2008 before winning again last year.
The top-seeded Edison, a 1972 graduate of Salisbury High, and the rest of the 32-man field enjoyed an unseasonably mild day with temperatures in the 70’s thanks to an overcast sky that blocked the usually harsh July sun.
“I thought playing conditions were fantastic today,” Eidson said.
Eidson, who’s battled heart issues and is a diabetic, hopes his health won’t hinder his efforts in seeking another crown. He sat out the Rowan Masters last month as a precaution.
“There’s days I go out and I can’t make 18 holes,” Eidson said. “I hope I can make it tomorrow. If I can’t, I’ll just withdraw.”
Keith Dorsett, who won his sixth Rowan Masters Tournament last month at the Warrior, topped Jared Hinson after 13 holes to advance. Dorsett, the 2007 champion and China Grove native, was quite at home in his native course, winning 6 & 5.
“I’ve played here since I was two or three years old,” Dorsett said. “It’’s a little tighter and the greens are smaller here. You’ve got to be accurate.”
Dorsett planted birdies on holes 1, 6, 8, 11 and 12 before finishing off his opponent.
“I looked at it as I’m coming out here and try to make as many birdies as I can and if I win, I win, If I don’t, I don’t.”
Randy Bingham won 1-up on Jason Bernhardt.
Eric Mulkey was an upper bracket winner, beating Michael Snoody, Jr. by a 5 & 4 margin. Other upper bracket winners included Michael Dorsett (3 & 2), Chuck Stockford (5 & 4), Brett Adams (2 up).
In the lower bracket, former South Rowan star Andrew Morgan was a 3 & 1 winner against Clark Corriher and Shane Benfield won 3 & 2 versus Ken Crouch.
Other lower bracket winners included Brian Jones (2 & 1), Chris Sifford (6 & 5), Mallory McDaniel (5 & 4) and Derek Corpening (6 & 5).