After winning his first Springfield City Amateur in 1998, Josh Sine said, “This is a big deal. This is the biggest thing in town.”
Fifteen years later, the City Am still is, at least as far as golf tournaments go. That’s why former champions like Sine, who won his seventh title in 2012, come back to play in it every year.
Sine beat Sean Ryan on the fifth playoff hole at Snyder Park for the first of his titles. Sine and Ryan and a number of other former champions, including eight-time winner Dan Schuler and four-time champ Jack Sayers, and recent winners like Andy Bonar (2011), Chip Knuckey (2007) and Joe Turney (2005), will compete for the 2013 crown beginning today at Snyder Park.
The second round is Sunday, and the final two rounds are next weekend. Sine was the only golfer to shoot under par in every round last year and finished at 9-under at Reid Park to beat Clark Engle by three shots and Bonar by four.
With a win this year, Sine would tie Schuler for second-most wins in City Am history. Rich O’Brien, who won nine times between 1929 and 1954, remains the all-time leader.
“It’d be nice,” Sine said. “But I just go out there and give it what I’ve got. If it’s good enough, it’s good enough.”
Sine won five straight titles between 1998 and 2002. He turned pro after his 2002 win and didn’t return to the tournament until he had regained his amateur status in 2009. He won his sixth title in 2010 and finished second in 2011, four shots back of Bonar.
Sine only has time to play once a week because of his work schedule. That hasn’t hurt his game. Neither will the fact that he plays most of his golf at Reid.
“I’ve played at Snyder once this year,” he said. “It’s not that big of a deal. I know the course. It hasn’t really changed. There’s plenty of guys that could win it, that’s for sure.”
Among the other golfers to watch in the 100-player field are Clay Portz and Luke Schlicher, members of Kenton Ridge’s state championship team in 2011. They finished fourth and sixth, respectively, last year.