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Kuramoto hopes to put down the mic and make Senior British Open field

Joe Avento • Jul 18, 2018 at 11:46 PM

Rex Kuramoto is doing double duty this week in Scotland.

The former East Tennessee State golf All-American will be doing his usual job, working for Golf Channel Japan as an announcer during the British Open at Carnoustie.

Once the claret jug is awarded on Sunday and all the interviews are finished, Kuramoto will turn his attention toward his first love — playing golf.

The ETSU Hall of Famer will try to qualify for the Senior British Open on Monday, hoping to return to the scene of his only major championship appearance. He played the British Open in 1990 at St. Andrews, missing the cut with rounds of 77 and 72.

“I have to work The Open until Sunday then qualify the next day,” Kuramoto said. “Not hitting a ball nor a chip for a week does not help. But since I am in Scotland I will take a chance.”

Kuramoto will play in the Monday qualifier at Ladybank Golf Club, the same course he qualified at in 1990. He recently visited the course during some down time, hoping to remember what it was like.

“I did not remember but a few holes though,” he said.

Next week will be the first time the Senior Open is held at the Old Course in St. Andrews. Twenty-four spots are available on Monday, and 636 golfers are vying for them at four courses. They will join 120 exempt players in the field.

The task will be daunting. Among the 636 entries are 13 PGA Tour winners, three former Ryder Cup players, 11 European Tour winners and eight PGA Champions Tour winners.

“Even having a chance to go back to St. Andrews is huge,” Kuramoto said. “It makes me think that I have had a good golf career in and outside the ropes. It means a lot.”

MATCH PLAY

Ben Rebne eliminated Cayman Ratliff from the Tennessee Match Play Championship on Wednesday, beating the former Sullivan South and ETSU golfer 3&1 in the quarterfinals at Council Fire Golf Club in Chattanooga.

Ratliff qualified fifth on Tuesday and beat Louisiana Tech golfer Trey Poteet 2&1 in the round of 16 earlier Wednesday. Ratliff had four birdies and an eagle before closing Poteet out on the 17th hole.

Bristol’s Chase Roswall went out in the round of 16, falling to Jack Smith.

POWER BALL

Another former ETSU golfer, Seamus Power, has been more than holding his own in his second season on the PGA Tour.

Power has been on quite a roll lately with an average score of 68.8 over his last 18 rounds. During that time he’s had finishes of 12th and 16th and has moved up to 301st in the World Golf Ranking.

Power has earned $717,614 this season, more than he did as a rookie. He’s also moved up to 117th in the FedEx Cup standings. The top 125 after the Wyndham Championship make the PGA Tour’s playoffs.

STATE AM QUALIFIER

The local qualifier for the Tennessee State Amateur will be held Monday at Blackthorn Club.

Ten golfers are entered and will be playing for four spots in the field for the tournament, being held Aug. 7-10 at Spring Creek Ranch in Collierville.

One huge incentive to make the field is the top finishers at the State Am will be exempt into next year’s event being held at the Honors Course.

JOHNSON CITY CC

Johnson City Country Club’s member-guest tournament is this weekend. Ted Ganger and Doug DeBusk are the defending champions.

LINK HILLS FOUR-BALL

The final event on the Tri-Cities Amateur Tour is this weekend at Lonesome Pine Country Club in Big Stone Gap, but that doesn’t mean the opportunities to compete are done for the year.

Mark your calendar for Aug. 25-26, when Link Hills Country Club plays host to the Farm Bureau Insurance Four-Ball Championship. The popular event, featuring two-person teams with each golfer playing their own ball, usually fills up. Call Bob Ward at (423) 638-3114 for more information.

BRITISH OPEN

For you early risers, don’t forget to turn on the British Open when you wake up. It comes on Golf Channel at 1:30 a.m. and stays on until 4 p.m. Rhys Enoch, who played at ETSU, tees off at 6:04 a.m. our time.

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