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Around the links in Northern Kentucky: Lucas to play at Tony Blom Metropolitan Amateur Championship

By Marc Hardin
NKyTribune contributor

Course familiarity and a fortuitous schedule break has lured veteran Northern Kentucky golfer Lance Lucas back to the Greater Cincinnati Golf Association’s marquee event. Lucas will tee it up next week at the 109th Tony Blom Metropolitan Amateur Championship at Triple Crown Country Club after a two-year layoff, and he likes his timing.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Lucas said. “If I can get into (championship flight match play), I like my chances on my home course.”

Lance Lucas will tee it up next week at the 109th Tony Blom Metropolitan Amateur Championship at Triple Crown Country Club. (Photo by Kenton Lucas)

Action begins Tuesday with the first of two qualifying rounds played concurrently at Triple Crown and Oasis Golf Club. Match play for the top 64 qualifiers starts Thursday and concludes with the July 1 final. The idea of competing for the title of Greater Cincinnati’s top amateur on his home course was just too tempting for the 56-year-old attorney. Lucas, a partner at Lucas & Dietz, has three Northern Kentucky Amateur Championships to his credit. Winning a first Metropolitan would put him on the short list of golfers to win crowns on both sides of the river.

“It would be great. I would enjoy the opportunity to do that,” said Lucas, who began playing the Met as a senior at Boone County High School. He has competed for the city championship more than 30 times. He’s made it to the final eight on four occasions, most recently in 2014. Lucas won Northern Kentucky titles in 1997, ’99 and 2003.

He might have added a crown in the 1980s but his career literally took off. After completing law school at the University of Kentucky, Lucas served as a pilot in the United States Air Force. He is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm. He was admitted to the Kentucky Bar in 1987. He began practicing law in 1992 with a specialty in representing employers and insurance carriers in workers’ compensation claims. In 2002, he was selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America. He keeps an office in Florence.

Next week, he’ll try to keep his scores low on a course judged Most Difficult In Greater Cincinnati by the Business Courier. Alex Rodger is defending Met champion. But history and course knowledge are on Lucas’ side. He has won the Triple Crown club championship five times, the last in 2013.

“I’ve been a club member for 26 years. It’s been around since 1990. It’s a hard course off the tees with the angles. Every hole has out of bounds on each side,” Lucas said of the 7,102-yard, par-72 layout. “A key to playing well is driving the ball, and that’s one of the the best aspects of my game.”

Short games have to be intact as well because the greens can be a little tricky at Triple Crown.

“They’re pretty small and you can’t short-side yourself because it makes getting up and down very difficult,” he said. “I think I know where to put the ball. I’ve played the course north of 1,000 times but it’s not the end-all, be-all. There are so many good golfers out there and several who are familiar with Triple Crown, some of them former members and college players. I expect it to be a very competitive field.”

Lucas, still more than 280 yards long off the tee, has put together some solid finishes of late. He was fifth at last week’s Kentucky Amateur Series event at Keene Run with 2-over-par 74. He shot even-par and lost in a playoff for the last two spots at the Kentucky State Amateur qualifier.

Around the links in Northern Kentucky:

GCGA 1905 JUNIOR TOUR: Hannah Hall, representing Boone Links and Lassing Pointe, won the Potter’s Park Open girls’ 18-under contest in Hamilton, Ohio. She carded a total gross score of 84. Hall, who attends Walton-Verona High School, earned her second win in three events and now has 310 points, good for seventh place in the Junior Player of the Year points race. With back-to-back victories, she moved up seven spots in the rankings.

Eva Maley, representing Kenton County, ranked fourth in the Junior Player of the year girls’ 10-12 points race with 560. She has one win and three runner-up finishes in four events.

WORLD OF GOLF: Ryan Bowman, representing Boone Links and Lassing Pointe, won the World of Golf Junior Championship boys’ 16-18 event with an 18-hole total gross score of 2-over 60. Ian Asch from Summit Hills Country Club placed third in boys’ 13-15 with 64. Alex Tackett from Triple Crown and World of Golf’s Thomas Alexander tied for third in the boys’ 10-under nine-hole event with matching scores of 39.

World of Golf’s Hanna Rice tied for second in the girls’ 18-under championship with a total gross score of 68. Highland Country Club’s Ellie Rowland finished fourth with 74. Lilly Baumann from World of Golf placed eighth with 84. Kenton County’s Eva Maley was runner-up in girls’ 13-under at 41.

Marc Hardin’s summer golf column has been featured in The Kentucky Post and Kentucky Enquirer for 15 years. He’s covered all the local amateur tournaments and several PGA and LPGA events since 2003. His feature for The Cincinnati Post about how Chi Chi Rodriguez got on the album cover of a Devo record was PGA Story Of The Day from the 2004 Kroger Classic at The Golf Center at Kings Island. Marc has written for the Greater Cincinnati Golf Association and Greater Cincinnati Women’s Golf Association. He welcomes comments, story tips, feature ideas and your league’s standings. You can contact him at marcwriterdude@yahoo.com.

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