Golf: Atomic City Invite opens with qualifying round

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By The Staff

Lee Sanchez returns to defend his title in for the 2009 Atomic City Invitational tournament.

The ACI, which is hosted by Los Alamos Golf Course, will open Wednesday with its championship flight qualifying round. The tournament, which continues through Sunday, is the oldest match-play competition in New Mexico.

Qualifying starts at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Sanchez, a member of the most famous golfing families in northern New Mexico — Marty Sanchez, another member of that family, has a links course in Santa Fe named after him — is a 3-time ACI champion, winning two straight contests in 1997 and 1998 before his outstanding title run last year.

Right off the tee, Sanchez will meet his 2008 finals opponent, Jason Norman. Norman will be grouped with him and 2007 ACI champion Brett Hollander in the qualifying threesome teeing off at 8 a.m.

Norman and Sanchez had one of the most exciting finals contests in ACI history last year. Norman came back from a 3-hole deficit with just six holes to play to tie the score at the end of the 27-hole match.

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