Deron Feldhaus has been a part-owner of Kenton Station Golf Course for about two decades.
He’s completely owned the Firecracker tournament for the last three years.
The 36-hole stroke play tournament will tee off for the 51st time on Saturday, with a field of roughly 90 golfers aiming to take down the three-time defending champion.
“My game hasn’t really been that good here the last couple of months. Something better change between now and then,” joked Feldhaus. “I like playing, I like competing and it’s a good time.”
Feldhaus has won the tournament a total of six times, with the other championships coming in 1999, 2002 and 2006. He’ll be mixed into a field with several of the area’s other top golfers when the weekend rolls around, including seven-time runner-up Matthew Grayson, who finished second to Feldhaus last year, as well as Troy Grooms, the last to win it before Feldhaus’ reign. Grooms also won in 2007. The three are scheduled to tee off with Corey Richmond at 2:10 p.m. on Saturday.
Shawn Armstrong, who claimed the 2008, 2009 and 2010 titles, will be teeing off at 8:50 a.m. Tyler Lippert, a Mason County graduate who currently golfs at Eastern Kentucky University, will tee off at 9:40 a.m. He finished in the top-five last year. Jackson Frame is coming off a Chippeways title a couple of weeks ago at Maysville Country Club and will be teeing off with another former Chippeways champion in Bill O’Mara, as well as his son, Jake O’Mara, and Randy Ross at 2:30 p.m. Dagan Abdon, a golfer at Shawnee State University that won the Laurel Oaks Classic in 2016, will be part of the group teeing off at 2:40 p.m.
“We’ve always had a good, strong field. I know Matthew Grayson – I think he’s finished close maybe twice in the last two years and I’m pretty sure he’ll be shooting for it,” said Feldhaus.
“Troy Grooms is playing in it, Jackson Frame,” added Feldhaus. “That’s what I’m saying. I don’t know how many people will be in the championship flight, but there’s going to be a lot that don’t play good [Saturday] that will be in the first flight, so it’s going to be very competitive.”
There will be a shootout Friday evening before the tournament begins on Saturday. After 18 holes on Saturday, the field will be broken up into flights, depending how the scores break down. Feldhaus is expecting at least five flights with the number of golfers they have competing. The tournament will wrap up with 18 holes on Sunday.
“You’ve got quite a few past winners. There’s quite a few. I would say in the championship and first flight there’s going to be some low scores shot in this tournament. The greens are pretty receptive right now and the fairways are rolling pretty good,” said Feldhaus. “I think there will be some low scores. There’s a lot of names – I don’t have a list who’s won the tournament – but there’s quite a few people that have won the tournament that are playing. We get a lot of out-of-towners from up and around the Portsmouth area and a lot of younger kids that have played some college golf. It can be really competitive.”
Feldhaus has added more responsibility since his father, Allen Feldhaus, passed away last fall. He says he still plays in leagues a few times a week and plays with his son, but hasn’t really gone out to practice much this summer.
“I think I have a little bit more work and more responsibility with dad being gone, but I think things are going well and with my partner – Lee Anne, my stepmom – it’s been a great year. All of our other tournaments have been full and we’re very fortunate to have 90 players playing in this and we’re going to have a great weekend,” said Feldhaus. “Like I said, things are different without Big Al around here.”
Feldhaus says the course is in good shape, and with the forecast calling for clear skies, he’s expecting a good turnout and some good at Kenton Station this weekend.
“Thirty six holes, the weather is supposed to be great – a little rain probably wouldn’t hurt – the course is in good shape. That last rain really helped us, got the grass to come back,” said Feldhaus. “It should be a fun weekend with the weather being great.”
51ST FIRECRACKER TEE TIMES
At Kenton Station Golf Course
Saturday, July 7
8 a.m. – Izzy Grayson, Matt Mallot, Tim South, Brady South
8:10 a.m. – Daren Wood, Scott Schroer, Jerry Butler, David Francis
8:20 a.m. – Ryan Meek, B.J. Knox, Blake Shepherd, Gary McKinney
8:30 a.m. – Shane Tuel, Ted Appelman, Mark Kiskaden
8:40 a.m. – Howard Neimeier, Willie Teegarden, Hal Holleran, Danny Holleran
8:50 a.m. – Mike Price, Shawn Armstrong, Doug Bellamy, Mike Kennedy
9:00 a.m. – Fred Edwards, Tom McHugh, Steve Gabb, Lee Amiott
9:10 a.m. – Dennis Mers, Wally Miller, Tim McFarland, Bo McVey
9:20 a.m. – Ron Eden, Jeff Wilson, David Cooney, Mike Arthur
9:30 a.m. – Jordan McCann, A.J. Hamilton, Josh Zornes, Jordan Gilbert
9:40 a.m. – Tyler Lippert, Michael Crabtree, Phil Grayson, Bryan Walton
9:50 a.m. – Adam Carroll, Mark Moore, Justin Boyd, Tanner Carroll
1:00 p.m. – Eddy Meek, Chad Ishmael, Donnie Appelman, Danny Appelman
1:10 p.m. – Brad Hay, Greg Harmon, Joey Shepherd, Tony Ring
1:20 p.m. – Gary McHugh, Bubby Mitchell, Rob Allison, Jon Blackstock
1:30 p.m. – Tommy Conway, Paul Holleran, Adam Sapp, Jordan Mitchell
1:40 p.m. – Cody White, Jesse McHugh, Chris Ginter, Nicholas Chabot
1:50 p.m. – Brad Carper, James Carper, Logan McIntosh
2:00 p.m. – Denver Shoemaker, Tim Boden, Josh Goddard, Josh Stafford
2:10 p.m. – Troy Grooms, Corey Richmond, Matthew Grayson, Deron Feldhaus
2:20 p.m. – Brett Metzger, Lane Weaver, Joe Forman, Rick Harmon
2:30 p.m. – Jackson Frame, Jake O’Mara, Bill O’Mara, Randy Ross
2:40 p.m. – Dagon Abdon, Darrell Weaver, Nick Boggess