Dave Balling of Cody practices before playing a round Sunday during the WSGA Senior Amateur Tournament at Olive Glenn Golf Club.

If anyone would know how special a big golf tournament could be in Cody, it would be the man who served as general manager and golf pro at Olive Glenn Country Club for 10 years.

Executive director of the Wyoming State Golf Association, Dave Snyder, returned to Olive Glenn to help host the WSGA Senior Amateur Tournament Saturday and Sunday, and the turnout was big.

The annual tournament draws the best players over 50 years of age from around Wyoming to see who can take home the biggest prize of the season.

“This year we have 125 players from every corner of the state, which is great,” Snyder said. “Olive Glenn has done a great job for us. They really rolled out the red carpet. It’s been nice.”

Saturday the Olive Glenn course got the best of the vast majority of golfers. Only one player carded a score under par in a surprising start to the tournament. Course superintendent Mike Kelly has the course in championship condition, according to Snyder.

“It’s a very challenging course,” Snyder said. “The course in amazing shape. The greens played firm and fast. That kept the scoring a little lower than it might have been. It was a little windy Saturday as well.”

Golf is a sport that has picked up a tick in popularity during the pandemic. It’s a game most everyone can play, it’s outdoors and easy to social distance, Snyder said. Plus it’s fun.

“Golf is a lifetime sport,” WSGA Hall of Famer and longtime Cody resident Dave Balling said. “My dad is 83 years old and plays every day. It’s a physical activity and it’s a great way to keep from getting socially isolated with what’s going on these days.”

As for this tournament, it’s a big one.

“This is bringing in over 100 people into Cody this year for three to four nights in some cases and enjoying what Cody has to offer,” Balling said. “It’s important tournament for those of us who have reached that age to be considered senior. I’ve got 120 built-in friends here and we have as much fun after the rounds as we do when we are playing.”

Final results

Chris Cookson of Rendezvous Meadows Golf Club in Pinedale won the men’s division with rounds of 71 and 75.

Olive Glenn’s Scott Aune dropped 11 strokes off his Saturday score to finish 80, 69, and land second overall.

Balling shot 79, 76, to tie for fifth. He was joined by Olive Glenn’s Michael Gibbens (78,78) in a four-way tie for fifth.

Kendall Ashba of Casper’s Paradise Valley Golf Club shot 84, 83, to take first in the women’s division.

Olive Glenn’s Falinda Hall (93, 86) finished in a four-way tie for fourth.

Sue Blankenship of Olive Glenn won three skins over the weekend. Blankenship finished with a birdie and a rare double eagle on hole No. 9, and an eagle on 18.

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