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Sindelar enjoys following in dad's spikes

From their parents, some children inherit the physical traits of the eyes, ears and nose variety. From his father, Jamie Sindelar also acquired his backswing.

"A lot of people say I look like my dad -- I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing," said Sindelar, 17. "But people say that we play pretty similar, too, so I guess it's OK to learn from your dad sometimes. I hit it like he does. Well, I hit it past him now."

Jamie, son of PGA Tour veteran Joey Sindelar of Horseheads, finished his first round at the International Junior Masters at East Aurora Country Club with a seven-over 78 on Tuesday, good enough to maintain a spot in the top third of the field. Julien Goulet of Quebec and Matt Paterini of Saline, Mich., lead the pack with one-under 70s. Peter Creighton of Kenmore shot the best score of the local competitors with a 75.

A second round of 18 will be played this morning to determine which 32 golfers out of the field of 80 will advance to match play, which begins this afternoon. Tournament officials are expecting the cutoff score to be somewhere around 150.

Joey Sindelar, who won the International Junior Masters in 1974, was in Western New York on Monday for the East Aurora Member-Junior Ham-Am Tournament. Today he'll be in Michigan for the Buick Open, which starts on Thursday.

"It's tough," Jamie Sindelar said of his and his father's conflicting schedules. "He's going to be gone the next three and a half weeks, and I'm going to be playing two of those weeks.

"Seventy-five percent of our time together is golf-oriented, but it's good either way. We share the same passions. We both love fishing."

A highlight in the next month will be Jamie's appearance in the AT&T National in Bethesda, Md., where he'll serve as his father's caddie, a role he said he's filled seven or eight times. For Sindelar, the caddying for his dad has been nearly as beneficial as actually playing.

"From caddying, I learn tips from them on how to take it to the next level. They're so consistent," Sindelar said. "They're not worrying about which fairway they're going to hit it in, they're worrying about what section of the fairway they're hitting it in."

Sindelar said that with a grin, reflecting on some of the early adversity he faced Tuesday on the first hole, where he snap-hooked a 3-wood into an adjacent fairway, then recovered with a chip-in for birdie.

"When that happened I was like, 'Uh oh, anything could happen today.' "

Sindelar, playing in the IJM for the third time, called the round "not totally disappointing," matching the same score he did over the first 18 last year. Sindelar lost his first match in the championship flight in 2006.

"I haven't been playing that well, but I was aiming for something under 75," he said. "I know I can do better, though. I didn't totally shoot myself out today."

Sindelar hopes to continue polishing the golf game that induces spectators to like-father-like-son comparisons.

"Hopefully I'll play collegiate golf and then professional golf after that," Sindelar said. "It's tough for me to say because shooting 78 nobody will want me, nobody will have me. But, if I had my druthers I'd go to Ohio State, where Pops went."

e-mail: jfriedman@buffnews.com

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