MARION—Hunter’s Ridge Golf Course will be a little more active this weekend.
The prestigious golf course located in Marion will play host to the Greater Cedar Rapids Open, which tees off early Friday morning.
“It’s a great tournament,” participant Sean McCarty said. “It’s really well ran and has a great purse.”
McCarty will be as one of the 94 professional golfers participating in the three-round golf tournament, to go along with eight senior professionals and 18 amateur players. The professionals will be the ones playing for that $20,000 purse.
McCarty would be considered one of the tournament favorites after winning the event in 2009, but the competition this year will remain tough. Last year’s champion Brock Mulder returns to the Cedar Rapids area once again to defend his title.
However, Mulder said he feels no pressure to win the tournament again in 2012.
“Winning last year is not necessarily why I’m confident heading into this year,” Mulder said. “My game and the scores I have been getting make me confident.”
Mulder and McCarty won’t be the only players capable of winning on the course this weekend though.
Ryan Blaum, coming off an impressive playoff win in the Waterloo Open last weekend, will be in the Cedar Rapids Open field along Bill Hoefle of Marion, who also play had a solid finish in Waterloo.
“There’s always a great group of players for both the Waterloo Open and the Cedar Rapids Open, which makes for great competition,” McCarty said.
Mulder said the competition definitely puts pressure on players to shoot low scores.
"When the players are this good, sometimes you can have great scores but you’ll still only finish 10th place,” Mulder said.
It’s not necessarily the competition that brings the great players to the Cedar Rapids Open year after year though, according to McCarty.
Ever since Jim McPartland and Mark Lemon founded the tournament, it has grown. The Open now consists of 120 golfers and is run mostly through great volunteers, according to Mulder.
“The volunteers are great here and everyone does a great job keeping the tournament running,” Mulder said.
Something new added to this year’s tournament is the focus on the prevention of melanoma, the most dangerous kind of skin cancer. David Henry, a participant in this year’s tournament, recovered from melanoma and is an advocate for the tournament’s new focus.
Trying to bring more awareness towards the deadly cancer just proves to show the quality people running the tournament, according to McCarty.
“The committee there does a great job, that’s what makes the tournament,” McCarty said.
For Mulder though, a native of Cedar Falls who currently lives in Dallas, he said he will always come back to Iowa for this stretch of great golf it provides.“I look forward to this each year,” he said.