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Montreux’s course superintendent put in unfamiliar position

Jeremy Evans

RENO — Who would’ve thought that Rosewood Lakes Golf Course was imperative to the first round at the Reno-Tahoe Open? Certainly not Doug Heinrichs, the course superintendent at Montreux Golf and Country Club.

“I’ve been here five years. It’s the most rain we’ve gotten as far as I can remember,” said Heinrichs, who was responsible for getting the course in playing shape following the first of two rain delays on Thursday. “We’ve used our squeegees for the first time ever. We’ve had to round up a few extra ones from some nearby courses (Rosewood Lakes).”

Play was called because of rain at 12:39 p.m. and was suspended for almost two hours. It resumed shortly after but was called again when another storm rolled in. The first round was officially suspended at 5 p.m., the first time in the RTO’s history a round has been called because of rain.

Heinrichs said Montreux received a 1/2 inch of rain on Thursday, as well as a 1/4 inch on Wednesday. He expected another 1/2 inch to fall by Thursday evening. Reno only averages around eight inches of precipitation each year. Heinrichs’ main problem, though, is getting the greens in proper shape. The course’s irrigation system uses only 1/10 inch of water overnight for the greens. Since almost an inch has fallen in just over a day, when and how much to cut the greens has become a formidable obstacle.

“The big challenge with this is not getting the course ready for play today (Thursday) but for tomorrrow,” Heinrichs said. “I think we have six squeegees. They (the PGA) want us to have 12 on site. We laughed at the idea–until now.”

STANKOWSKI BOUNCES BACK

Paul Stankowski, who had wrist surgery in May, is tied for the first-round lead after firing a 5-under 67 on Thursday. This will be Stankowski’s first full tournament since the injury. He played in the Western Open in July but had to pull out.

“It’s so good to be back out,” said Stankowski, who thought it was premature to play in the Western Open. “I didn’t know if I’d remember how to play after being off so long…but I birdied the first two holes and that pretty much got me going.”

FORMER WOLF PACK STAR TIED FOR THE LEAD

University of Nevada graduate Kirk Triplett is one of five players tied for lead at 5-under. But Triplett, who graduated in 1985 with a degree in civil engineering, didn’t plan on staying up there very long.

“I’m thrilled. I don’t want to say I’ve been playing awful but I have,” said Triplett, who pulled out of last week’s PGA Championship because of a bad back. “I think I hurt my back because I was swinging so bad.”

Triplett, 41, finished tied for second at the Bay Hill Invitational in March and tied for fifth at Wachovia Championship in May.

PUTT OF THE DAY

Bob Tway, who’s also tied for the lead, made a 50-foot birdie putt on No. 11 which got him to 3-under for the tournament.