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Friends Prefer Co-Champions

July 24th, 2009

At team events you will find Randy Nichols of Brookville and Skip Runnels of Richmond competing together and usually atop the leader board. But on July 22 at Ulen CC in the Senior Match Play Championship, the two long-time friends and playing partners found themselves competing against each other for the title. "We hate playing each other. I would have just as well have been co-champions with him," said Nichols. Defending champion Runnels fought for 25 holes before falling to 2008 Match Play Champion Nichols and giving him his first Senior Match Play victory. Nichols has three Match Play titles under his name and Runnels has two, so it was bound to be a fight to the end.

Nichols' match play performance at the 2008 US Senior Amateur earned him an exemption into the 2009 US Senior Open at Crooked Stick July 30-August 2. He might have fended off one of the state's best players to take a win this week, but it did not give him confidence heading into the USGA Championship. "I'm not hitting it well, but I've got a week to figure it out," Nichols said. "I really struggled with my ball striking. I just managed to hang in ther and make some putts when I needed to."

Other competitors Nichols defeated were Ted Smith 3 and 1, Jerry McMullin 5 and 4, and Mike Bell 2 and 1.