Tourney brings area courses together

Jason Carlyle follows the flight of his drive down the fairway at Municipal Golf Course in the Three Amigos Tournament on Saturday. A total of 41 three-man teams are participating in the event at three area courses. (CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle)

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

When Charlie Manuel became the new pro at Municipal Golf Course early last year, he had an idea for a tournament involving several area courses.

Thus came to life the Three Amigos Tournament, a three-person scramble going on this weekend at Municipal, Chaparral Country Club and Farwell Country Club.

Forty-one teams are participating in the tourney, something Manuel hopes to grow over the next few years. Last year, 30 teams took part in the inaugural event.

“In the wintertime when I first got here, I thought about having a tournament to build cooperation between the courses,” Manuel said. “Everyone needs the opportunity to survive. I’m just trying to build up the cooperation.”

Teams are placed into groups according to ability — A, B and C. Each group plays a different course each day.

“The idea was Charlie’s,” said Chaparral owner Norman Kelley, who is playing in the event. “He said he thought it would be nice to get the three golf courses to kind of have some intermingling or whatever. I said, ‘It sounds good to me.’ I liked the idea.

“Charlie runs it. He pretty much lines it all out.”

For the most part, players are in it for a good time. Former Clovis High golf standout Travis Reid said he prefers a more competitive environment, but added that he enjoys the event.

“I kind of like playing the different courses,” said Reid, who is planning to transfer to New Mexico State after playing his first year in college at the University of New Mexico.

“This is just for fun,” he said. “For me, it’s kind of hard to focus sometimes. It’s just kind of a fun atmosphere.”

Reid said he’s motivated more when it’s a competitive situation.

“I want to feel like I have to work for it and play my butt off just to compete,” he said.

Kelley said that the event is anything but a big money-maker.

“I don’t make any money from it compared to what I do on other tournaments,” he said, “but I think it’s good for the golf courses to have good relations.”

The tourney has grown from last year primarily because of out-of-town entrants, Maciel said, adding he would like to see the field reach 54 teams in the future.

Most of the players, he said, are familiar with each of the courses.

“I think quite a few play all (three) courses,” he said. “I think we would’ve had a few more teams this year, but it’s graduation weekend.

“So far, I think just about everybody has enjoyed the format.”