En-Joie Golf Club ready at last for B.C. Open


ENDICOTT, New York (AP) - The collage of 59 photos hanging on one of the locker room walls at En-Joie Golf Club was hard to miss for players returning to the B.C. Open. 

"I saw the photos, and it's amazing we're out here playing,'' Robert Gamez saidWednesday as he played in the pro-am. "It's in good shape.'' 

The pictures showed a golf course that had taken two major weather hits. 

"When they go out there, that way they'll appreciate the problem that we had,'' said former tournament director Alex Alexander, who suggested the collage. 

"They can't believe we got it done.'' 

That the $3 million (euro2.5 million) tournament is scheduled to start Thursday over the par-72, 6,974-yard course borders on the miraculous.  

En-Joie was still recovering from a shellacking it took in September from the remnants of Hurricane Ivan when heavy rains struck again in early April. 

The precipitation sent the Susquehanna River, which runs near one side of the course, more than 3 meters (11 feet) above flood stage at nearby Vestal. 

According to the National Weather Service, that was the highest level since the Great Flood of 1936, which devastated the Northeast and left more than 400,000 people homeless. 

En-Joie general manager Bob Miller called it "the absolute worst'' - only the greens on five holes were not under water in April. 

The other 13 were covered for at least a day, and six acres of fairway turf also were submerged. 

It took almost two weeks for all the water to leave the course. 

The transformation was made possible by closing En-Joie to the public until after the B.C. Open. The course normally opens in April. 

"It's playing as good as we could ever expect,'' said two-time B.C. Open champion Joey Sindelar, who lives an hour to the west in Horseheads.  

By all accounts, they've done just an unbelievable job getting this course ready. 

Nobody can control a river and a stream going overboard. I've seen little bits and pieces of floods through my years here, but nothing that left that amount of silt everywhere.'' 

"I think everybody is just amazed and happy to be playing,'' Miller said. 

"We're very happy with the golf course. What we had you just can't believe it. You can't.'' - AP 

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