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What you need to know as the 96th Bloomington City Golf Tournament begins

The 96th annual City Golf Tournament begins Saturday morning with the first round of match play for all three championship flights.

Here's what you need to know for the weekend:

Simon Deliyannis back on track

This spring, Simon Deliyannis, a 2023 Bloomington North graduate, was back, this time as a coach with the Cougar boys golf team. Just a year removed from his playing days, he was yearning to be back in competition. And here he is: second in the City Golf Qualifying Tournament and third in the men's championship.

“I really love it. Unfortunately, I forgot to sign up for the Medalist this year,” Deliyannis said. “So I had to wait for the City. But I really love playing competitively. Every tournament I thought, 'Gosh, I wish I was still playing.'”

Working with the players allowed him to see the game from a different perspective.

“I think looking at it from a coach’s perspective has helped me mentally to recognize the safe shots and not just take risks,” Deliyannis said.

Perhaps that's why his qualifying score of 141 was a huge improvement on his last appearance at the 2022 City Tournament, when he shot 155 and lost a playoff for the final spot in the Championship class, before going on to win the First Flight title.

A little work on his game made all the difference.

“Not so much in the fall,” Deliyannis said. “I definitely played a lot more in the spring. I think I've improved a lot since last year.”

“I've been playing really well the last two weeks and was hoping that would translate into competitive play, and it has.”

Field set for weekend

This year there are 116 golfers taking part, slightly less than last year.

The men's, seniors and super seniors have been reduced to a field of 16 in the championship flights, with all three 2023 champions returning: Jason Bannister, Jim Alexander and Rory Brown. Bannister and Brown have won the last two titles.

They will enter as the No. 1 seeds, while the winners of last weekend's qualifiers, Chris Williams, Tim Gillespie and Dan Neubecker, are the No. 2 seeds on opposite sides of the bracket. Neubecker was runner-up last year and Gillespie was runner-up in 2022. Alexander has made it to three of the last four senior finals.

And as has been the case recently, not enough women or juniors have registered (a minimum of four is needed) to secure a spot.

The men's field includes two other former champions/Tournament Hall of Fame members, Williams and Mitch Oard, but 2021 champ Jace Day is missing due to a wrist injury.

The senior field features some notable new additions, starting with five-time men's champion Troy Gillespie (1991, 1999-2001, 2005), who began with a junior title in 1986.

Regular flights for seniors and super seniors (in groups of only eight people) start on Saturday, while regular flights for men start on Sunday.

Family connections

Since there is no junior competition, North's sophomore Alec Freund is in the first men's group, while his older brother Graham Freund, who just finished a baseball season and will now play football at DePauw, is in the fourth group. Jay Freund is in the second senior group.

Interestingly, Hogan Conder, another 2024 North College graduate and college golfer, is in the second men's group along with Andrew Conder, and if both win on Sunday, they will meet in the semifinals.

And then there's the Wise clan: While Sam is competing in the men's championship round, Brian and Jerry are both in the second round, albeit on opposite sides of the bracket, while Robert is competing in the first round.

96TH ANNUAL BLOOMINGTON CITY GOLF TOURNAMENT

TEA TIMES ON SATURDAY

PHIL TALBOT MEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP

7:30 am: [1] Jason Bannister against [16] Justin Fox; [8] Sam Wise against [9] Hunter Desilets; 7:40 am: [4] Mitch Oard against [13] Zach Sykes; [5] Brad McLaughlin against [12] Marc Guyer. 7:50 am: [2] Chris Williams against [15] Chad Stoute; [7] Anthony Robertson against [10] Bradley Cooper; 8:00 am: [3] Simon Deliyannis vs. [14] Justin Stack; [6] Logan Vernon against [11] Jason Storm.

PAUL GRAY SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP

8:10 am: [1] Jim Alexander vs. [16] Thomas B. [8] Charles Osborne against [9] Bill Kelson; 8:20 am: [4] Charles Combs vs. [13] Jeff Harrington; [5] Darren Fuller against [12] ^ “Brad Leach – A Day Without You”. 8:30 am: [2] Tim Gillespie against [15] Lance Ringler; [7] Matt Till against [10] Gary EuDaly; 8:40 am: [3] Chad Osborne against. [14] Michael B. [6] Troy Gillespie against [11] Gary Lee.

ROSS RUSH SUPER SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP

9:00 o'clock: [1] Rory Brown vs [16] Steve Hinds; [8] Jeff Smith vs. [9] Gary Blackwell; 9:10 am: [4] Ike Martin against [13] Roger Regenbolt; [5] Dick Meacham against. [12] Fred Cooksey. 9:20 am: [2] Dan Neubecker vs. [15] Danielle Chastain; [7] Joe Beane vs. [10] David Devitt; 9:30: [3] Mike Vernon against [14] Brett Daniels; [6] Robin Harper against [11} Tom Smith.

SENIOR REGULAR

First flight — 9:40: [1] Ross Grimes against [8] Bruce Sims; [4] Charlie Stone vs. [5] Jeff Huntoon; 9:50 am: [2] Rick Scheid vs. [7] Joe McWhorter; [3] Burke Geene against [6] Matt Grubb.

Second flight — 10:00: [4] Mike Vernon Jr. vs. [5] Drew Antilla. (Byes: [1] Rick Scherer; [2] Ramesh Venkataraman, [3] Jay Friend

SUPER SENIOR REGULAR

First flight — 10:10: [1] Mick Renneisen vs. [8] Gary Walters; [4] Steve McDonald against [5] Jim Sims, this is Jim Sims. 10:20 am: [2] Mike Thomas vs. [7] Brian Werth; [3] Marty Hutsell against [6] John Cantwell.

Second flight — 10:30: [1] Mark Deal, bye; [4] Jim Shea vs. [5] Jan Bond. 10:40 am: [2] Steve Layman against [7] Michael Smith; [3] Rand McKamey vs. [6] Steve Englert.