Kerr Lake Invitational set to tee off

May. 17, 2014 @ 01:16 AM

Reigning champion Jason Smith of Raleigh is not back to defend his title, but plenty of the usual contenders will compete in this weekend’s Kerr Lake Invitational.

The number of participants for the annual Kerr Lake Country Club event stood at 70 on Friday. The two-day tourney kicks off today with the first wave of golfers teeing around 7:30 a.m.

Donald Sanford, a Kerr Lake Invitational committee member, said the course is in good shape after rain drenched the area Thursday.

Sanford has been involved with the tournament for about 10 years.

“You’ve got so many players that just return year after year,” said Sanford. “The tournament is still a lot of fun after all these years. We’re a club that really enjoys having a good time. Everybody has a good time playing this golf course.”

Past champions Steven Brame, Troy Haynes, Ronnie Hobgood — and potentially Daniel Faulkner — are among the competitors. Brame won his third Henderson Invitational title earlier this month and last claimed the Kerr Lake crown in 2012.

D.J. Matthews is also in the field. The 2013 Crossroads Christian graduate took third in last year’s tournament not long after finishing sixth individually in the N.C. Independent School Athletic Association Class 1-A tourney.

Sanford said the club is excited to showcase the course’s new clubhouse, which is making its tournament debut.

“Anybody is welcome to come out and walk the course and check on anybody they know that is here in the tournament,” said Sanford. “We welcome that. I think they’ll find we’re a very friendly place and we’d love to have them out.”

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.