Golfers from as far as Cincinnati, Lexington and Ironton, Mo., made the journey to Paducah on Friday to play in the pro-am portion of the Irvin Cobb Golf Championships held at the Paxton Park Golf Course.
The pros played foursomes with three amateur teammates in a best-ball format, but the pros kept their scores if their shot wasn't the best hit on the hole.
"This is my fourth year playing and I always enjoy playing here at Paxton Park," said Danny Lewis, the golf pro at Cincinnati's Elks Run Golf Club and an alum of Northern Kentucky University. "It's probably one of the better tournaments I play in all year. They've got a great staff and great people here. One of my teammates from college, Matt Poat, I come and stay with him and it's a good time."
2013 University of Kentucky graduate and Versailles native Joseph Barr came back to play in the tournament for a second year because he enjoys it so much.
"It's a wonderful event for the pros, especially because it's one of the best paying tournaments around and it's wonderfully run," said Barr, who's played in Nationwide Tour qualifying events. "All the members come out and watch and it's a perfect, wonderful atmosphere."
Patrick Newcomb â “ a Marshall County High School alum and former Murray State golfer who's played on the NGA and Hopkins Golf Tours and just competed in the Kentucky Open â “ and Jordan McLaurin â “ a Missouri State alum and Ironton, Mo., native who's playing on the Adams Tour â “ won the pro-am after shooting a 4-under 67 on the 6,619-yard, par 71 course.
Paducah native Rick Cochran III, who just won his second straight Kentucky Open, finished in third place with his 68 and Kyle Hosick and Chas Narramore tied for fourth, with both shooting a 69.
Team Richard Smith and Team Adam Gary won the team portion with identical 12-under 59 scores. Team Mark Knecht, Team Nick Newcomb and Team Patrick Newcomb all tied for second, ending with a 61.
"It was fun," McLaurin said. "I enjoyed playing in the group I played in. We had a lot of fun out there. This is my first Cobb. One of my teammates from college (Eric Straub, a 2009 Heath High alum) is from Paducah and he told me this was a great tournament to play in. I got here Wednesday, played a few holes and have really enjoyed it so far. This definitely won't be my last year playing in this."
The Cobb will continue this morning with the first round of championship play and end with the second round Sunday. Narramore is the defending champion of the professional division, Sammy Thompson won last year's amateur division and Lance Davis won the junior division.
Golfers said playing in the pro-am will help them get ready for the rest of the tournament.
"This is a practice round for me," said Jason Stilley, golf pro at the Paducah Country Club since 2003. "It gets me out and helps me get that competitive edge going again. But other than that it's just another round at Paxton Park. I always look forward to The Cobb. It's the premier event for our area and this is my 15th year playing in it. I really enjoy it."
Call James D. Horne, a Sun sports writer, at 270-575-8661 or follow on Twitter @psunsports.