So here we are again, another year of the McPherson City Golf Tournament.

So here we are again, another year of the McPherson City Golf Tournament.
The 29th playing of the event gets under way Friday at McPherson Country Club, with Saturday’s round at Rolling Acres and Sunday’s finale at Turkey Creek.
This tournament is near and dear to my heart, as I helped start it back in 1984.
Before then, there was something called the McPherson County Open, which rotated among Rolling Acres, Lindsborg and McPherson Country Club.
In 1982, if memory serves me correctly, sweet-swinging Dick Pfalzgraf won the final event, which was contested at Lindsborg. For whatever reason, there was no event in 1983.
In 1984, after a movement to renew the competition, a new tournament debuted. It was called “The Interclub,” with nine holes played on Saturday at McPherson Country Club and then nine at Rolling Acres. The same format was used on Sunday.
With the advent of Turkey Creek, it was moved into the rotation for the first time in 1995, as the tournament went to a 54-hole format played over three days. It was agreed to alternate the first round between McPherson Country Club and Turkey Creek, with Saturday’s round permanently played at Rolling Acres.
When the tournament first started, myself and Harvey Nelson served as the directors. There actually is a lot of work that goes into it, as pairings must be made and money gathered, as it is later distributed after each club takes its cut for hosting the tournament. Also, scoresheets had to be made up and the scores placed on them.
After Harvey decided to step down, Cliff Hawkes joined me as tournament director. We continued to serve when we finally turned it over. For the past several years, Dennis and Nanci Shaw have taken on the responsibility, and they have done a wonderful job.
There was a time when the City Tournament was the hottest ticket in town. We used to take the first 88 players and many years, there would be golfers lined up to register at the very first possible moment. It wasn’t uncommon for about 60 players to sign up the first day.
But in recent years, and maybe it’s because the tournament went to three days, the entries now trickle in. Where we used to get the 88 players (we even had years where we allowed a few extra), now the field has been pretty much around the 55 to 60 mark. A lot of golfers, such as myself, wait until the last minute to get in, just because that’s how I always was in school — put off work until it had to be done.
It’s still a great tournament and a great time. Maybe next year we’ll do something special, because it will be the 30th anniversary.
With this being the 29th year, it also means the 29th year that I probably won’t be our city champion. It’s always been a goal of mine to be recognized as the best golfer in town (at least for one weekend). I still play a pretty decent game, but my time to be a champion probably has come and gone. I did finish second in the very first year of the event, and again in 1994 and 2007.
My best chance — and really only chance — to win came in 2007. I was in contention after a second-round 67 at Rolling Acres and little did I know at the time, had I just made a bogey-5 on my last hole Sunday at McPherson Country Club, I would have been the champion. My last hole was No. 1, a seemingly innocent par-4. But in trying to play safe, I pushed my drive to the right, up against a tree. I had to punch out to the side, then pitched on to the green. My 10-foot par putt came up short and not thinking, I carelessly went to tap it in and missed. You can only imagine the ill feeling when I got into the clubhouse and found out I had tied with the late Ray Hague for the title.
Now Ray, who I had golfed with for 20 years, had dominated this event. When he found out that we had tied, he offered to just let me be the champion. “I’ve won enough of these,” he said. “I’ve always said, you’re the best player never to win a major.”
Of  course on the first playoff hole, Ray knocked it within 3 feet for birdie. Believing he was going to make his putt, I gunned my birdie putt 6 feet past the hole, then missed the comebacker. Ray actually scuffed his short birdie putt, but his par was good enough to win.
So once again, I came up empty. While I have won the team title with Cliff Hawkes on three occasions, it’s not quite the same.
Last year, I shot an opening-day 69 at Turkey Creek, thinking this might be the year. But Treg Fawl came in with a 65 and my elation turned to deflation. I just didn’t have the game to hang with Treg, one of the best golfers ever to come out of McPherson. I did finish third, but far back.
So, there’s a new goal. At age 55 and receiving AARP mail regularly, I know I don’t have what it takes to win. Ballstriking is never the problem, but if I could putt like Kurt Kinnamon, maybe I could still be a factor. But I putt like Bernhard Langer in the Ryder Cup, shakily missing 3-footer and 3-footer.
Maybe it’s time for me start a 55-and-over tournament.

Steve Sell is sports editor of The?Sentinel.?Reach him by phone at 620-241-2422 or email him at