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Georgia Open returns to Legends course

The 18th green of the Legends course at Chateau Elan which will host the Georgia Open next week is shown above. (Special Photo)

The 18th green of the Legends course at Chateau Elan which will host the Georgia Open next week is shown above. (Special Photo)

With a field of many of the best professional and amateur golfers from Georgia, the Legends at Chateau Elan will again host the prestigious Georgia Open golf tournament beginning Monday.

This is the second year the Legends Course will host the event, a point of pride for the course which has hosted Georgia’s championship five previous times.

“You want your golf course to be played by the best golfers in the state,” said vice president and general manager of the Legends Mike Bishop. “For us to have it, for me, it’s very prestigious to hold this event.”

The field, built of past champions, exempt amateur and professionals and entrants from four qualifying sites, includes many from the Gwinnett area, including last year’s champion Jonathan Fricke a former golf at South Gwinnett.

Joining Fricke in the field are Ty Robinson (amateur) from Buford, Shaun Dalton (a) from Dacula, Sung Back, Eddie Lee, Billy Shida, Hyeon Bo “Andy” Shim and Kim Taehyung (a) from Duluth, Scotty Scott (a) from Hoschton, Jack Walsh (a) from Lawrenceville, Ted Moon (a) from Lilburn, Brooks Colquitt (a), Mike Cromer (a) and Matt Luckett (a) from Norcross, Conner Dickinson (a) from Snellville and Steven Mitchell, Andy Stelten, DeWitt Weaveer III (a) and Fred Rescigno (a) from Suwanee.

According to Bishop, the members at the private course welcome the event, many volunteering over the course of the four days.

“It’s fun to see the good players,” Bishop said. “They like seeing really good players play their golf course. They enjoy having the event. It’s some bragging rights as well.”

From the championship tees, the Legends course plays at 7,040 yards, but with mostly uphill shots, wet fairways and lush roughs the moderate length only increase.

“We have a lot of fairways that lean back against you,” Bishop said. “Because of the rain, heaven forbid you hit it in the rough. (In some cases), you can barely see the top of the ball.”

But also because of the rain, the Legends course is in top shape, lush and full in the fairways and on the greens. A recent remodel of the course changed the greens to Burmuda grass whichadds difficulty to controlling the ball on the green, especially out of the rough. Hitting the ball off the tee helped Fricke win the event a year ago.

The greens, with the new grass, are also playing faster than normal thanks to short cuts and wet weather.

“Par should be a good score,” Bishop said. “There are not too many gimme holes on the Legends, mainly it’s off the tee that is so important. If you drive the ball good, you can play well.”