Taylor Beaver, the men's scratch club champion at Cardinal Hills Golf Course, has been a member at the Randolph layout for about 20 years and knows it very well.
The 2005 Randolph Central School graduate, who played on Cardinals' golf team beginning in the seventh grade, will be playing in The Post-Journal Champions for the first time on Sunday and will be attempting to become the third club champ to win on his own course.
He is one of 14 golfers in the event for men's scratch club champions from regulation 18- and nine-hole courses in The Post-Journal circulation area and he offered some advice about playing Cardinals Hills to the other 13 competitors.
When asked what is a key to success, Beaver said, ''Getting off to a good start. - the first four holes.''
Those are a 341-yard par 4, a 490-yard par 5, a 395-yard par four and a 170-yard par 3.
''You've got out of bounds fairly tight to the right on the first three holes,'' Beaver said. ''Then you've got the par 3, which isn't a real hard par 3. If I can get through the first four at even par, I'm in good shape and then I have a few birdie holes in front of me.''
But he added, ''There's been times I've played and I've been 3-under after four.''
After those birdie holes to finish the front nine, Beaver said, ''Then I'm always thinking about No. 10 and making that a good drive hole because of the pond which is right into my range to fly into.''
When asked which is more difficult, the front or back nine, Beaver said, ''They're both pretty even for me. If I was going to say one (is easier), I would say the front because I've never shot 31 on the back.''
He has shot a 4-under 32 serveral times on the back nine, but when he shot a 5-under 31 on the front nine, he went on to shoot a 65, his lowest score at Cardinal Hills.
There are four par 5s at Cardinal Hills and the fourth and last is No. 12, which doesn't leave many birdie holes in the final six.
''Twelve, that is one of the holes I'm thinking about,'' Beaver said. ''It's a tight driving hole and you go up the hill and there's trees all the way up the right side and on the left is another big hickory tree with a pond right behind it. There's a 35-yard opening at the top, so you have to hit a pretty good drive at 12 to set yourself up for birdies.''
Any round at Cardinal Hills can change dramatically at the final hole because it is a par 3.
''It's tough to finish on 18,'' Beaver said.
The scorecard lists the 18th as 195 yards.
''They'll put it there for this tournament,'' said Beaver, who noted the tee is usually moved up about 20 yards for regular play. ''That's a full 3-iron, 4-iron for most guys and sometimes you have the wind right in your face and it's a tough hole.''
That's because you hitting a long iron into a small green.
''You push one 6 or 7 yards off the green to the right and there's pine trees right there,'' Beaver said. ''Everything falls away off the back of the green. If you hit too much club and actually fly the green, there's a good chance you might have a 25-, 30-yard chip back up and you can't see the green.''
Beaver noted, ''There's been times I came into that hole playing fairly well and take a double bogey.''
So what would be a possible winning score on Sunday?
''I've been thinking about that a lot and talking about it,'' Beaver said. ''I would say (2-under) 70 to (event-par) 72, but that might be a hair low. It depends on the weather. On nice, perfect day with light winds, I would say right around even par and probably 1-under, 2-under possibly.''
The first time the P-J Champions was played at Cardinal Hills was in 2000 and Greg Winter won with a 3-over 75.
Sunday's action will being at 10 a.m. and if there is a tie after 18 holes, a playoff will begin at No. 1.
Last year's P-J Champions had its third playoff and the largest with five golfers taking part after tying with 5-over 77s at Cable Hollow Golf Club. Jordan Marsh won the playoff on the first hole with a birdie.
Marsh is in the field as the defending champion and will be attempting to become the fifth repeat winner. Dick Cole won back-to-back titles two times while Mike Bancroft, Shelly Grant and the late Roger Loop did it once each.
Cardinal Hills will be providing the green fees and a light meal after nine holes for the golfers. They will receive a sleeve of golf balls from The Post-Journal, which will award silver bowls to the winner and runner-up.
P-J CHAMPIONS TEE TIMES
Tyler Martin, Conewango Valley CC
Nolan Swanson, Pinehurst GC
Brenton Wilcox, Cassadaga CC
Taylor Beaver, Cardinal Hills GC
Josh Harrington, Chautauqua GC
Rob Ritchie, Jackson Valley GC
Troy Beightol, Breezewood Links
Matt DeLong, Cable Hollow GC
P.J. Gronquist, South Hills CC
Ken Woodfield, Bemus Point GC
Sam Marek, Blueberry Hill GC
Jordan Marsh, Defending champion
Dave Newton, Shorewood CC
Dan Smith, Elkdale CC