MOULTRIE — Bob Windom is a veteran of Sunset Country Club’s Pot o’ Gold Pro-Am, which will begin its 51st run on Friday.

He still holds the record for the lowest three-day score by an amateur, a 203 he shot in 1982.

And as the golf professional at Circlestone Country Club in Adel, he brought teams to his native Moultrie for the tournament on a number of occasions, and twice his teams have finished second.

But when the 2006 tournament begins with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. Friday, Windom will find himself in the position of leading the two Sunset Country Club teams in one of the Southeast’s longest-running and most-popular tournaments of its kind.

Windom, who learned golf at the Sunset course under former pro Herring Cole, was named the club’s head golf professional at last May, succeeding Kerry Smith.

Preparing for the tournament and playing enough golf to stay sharp has been a challenge, but Windom said it has mostly been “fun.”

“The tournament committee does most of the work,” Windom said. “They take a lot of the work off me. People don’t realize the pride they take in running this tournament.”

Windom, of course, would like nothing better than to guide one of his two teams to the tournament championship.

“I’ve been playing pretty decent,” Windom said. “I’ve been making some birdies. And that’s what it is all about in a tournament like this.

“Hopefully on Sunday we’ll be there to have a chance.”

Windom has a tough Pot o’ Gold act to follow.

Sunset teams have won the Pot o’ Gold just three times in the first 50 years of the tournament and Smith was the pro on two of those occasions.

Smith led Jon Ladson, Jack Croyle and Andy Blanton to the tournament title in 2001.

Three years later, the amateur trio of Ladson, Ernie Venet and Chad Eunice claimed the title.

Richard Hatcher led Eunice, Billy Edwards and his brother Neill Hatcher to Sunset’s first championship in 1997.

Both of Windom’s teams have tournament championship experience.

The Sunset A team will include Eunice, Ladson and Venet, the same trio of amateurs that won in 2004 and the same group that played with Smith last year, finishing third, six shots back.

His B team has Blanton, the veteran of the 2001 championship, Grady Clements and Pax Clark.

Windom said his teams should be ready.

“Everybody’s starting to play pretty good,” he said. “The weather has been good for us to get some practice in.

“Hopefully, everybody will come together at the same time.”

The tournament will feature a full 58-team field, including the Valdosta Country Club team that won the tournament last year.

Valdosta Country Club professional Rob Williams, who also led his team to the 2002 Pot o’ Gold championship, will have the same trio of amateurs — GuyWhidby, Sam Hogan and Nic Daugharty — that he brought to Moultrie last year.

The field also will include some new professionals this year, including Scott Curiel from The Standard Club in Duluth; Scott Hamilton of the Cartersville Country Club; Steve Hatch, from St. James Bay in Carrabelle, Fla.; Brian Stubbs, from the Country Club of Columbus; Allen Thompson from Eagle’s Landing Country Club; and Jeff Peck from Charlotte, N.C.

A number of familiar names are in the field, including Stephen Keppler, who owns eight overall Pot o’ Gold titles, including last year’s low professional championship.

Keppler, from Marietta Country Club, shot a 214, the only professional under par last year. He also won the low pro titles in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998 (tie with Bill Robinson of LaGrange) and 2001.

His team won the team championship in the rain-shortened 2004 tournament.

The rest of the field includes teams led by professionals Rob Allen, Ray Barr, Mike Bennett, Jim Bishop, Tommy Brannen, Randy Brooks, Dale Brown, Richie Bryant, Gary Burns, Tommy Burns, Tommy Carlton, Gary Clark, Robert Cole, Billy Connally, Richard Crawford, Brian Dixon, David Epps, Ed Everett, Sam Funderburk, Walt Garvin, David Gerstenberger, Mike Gill, Daryl Goble, Jim Grant, Richard Hatcher, Randy Hedgecock, Glen Herrell, Fred Holton, David Hoover, Tommy Korytoski, Brent Krause, Tim Lawson, Greg Lee, J.R. Leonard, Jon Leonard, Steve Lyles, Louis McHughes, Charlie Moller, Stan Moore, Chirs Murman, Lee Newsome, Don Perno, Drew Pittman, Patrick Richardson, Bill Robinson, Jim Tipps, Don Williams and Greg Wolff.

Pot o’ Gold events will begin on Thursday with product demonstrations from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. The annual long drive competition will be held at 3:30 p.m. and traditional champions dinner will be held that night.

Tournament play will begin on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 8 a.m.

React to this story: