GOLF: York, Lancaster join forces for tournament
It's been a long time coming, but this year marked the first time that the York County Amateur Golf Association (YCAGA) and its Lancaster County counterpart teamed up to hold a joint stroke-play tournament.
The York/Lancaster Mid-Amateur and Summer Classic was held Sunday at Briarwood East Golf Course. It was the culmination of a few years of discussion between the two neighboring sides separated by the Susquehanna River.
By all accounts, it was a successful first step.
In a field that included around 70 entrants, Lancaster’s John Sweeney shot a 5-under-par 67 to edge his fellow Red Rose golfer, Chris Fieger Sr., by a stroke to capture the inaugural title.
The reaction of many of the golfers who participated Sunday was positive.
“This was just awesome,” said Trevor Pope of Lancaster, who finished with a 1-over 73. “I’m all for having more competition. The more people playing, the better.”
The two sides decided to hold the tournament for exactly the reason that Pope brought up — size. Over the past handful of years, the participation rates in area events has slowly dwindled on both sides. So combining the two fields made sense.
“It makes no sense us having a small field and (Lancaster) having a small field when we can combine them together,” said YCAGA tournament director Sherm Keeney. “And we’re actually trying to get more involved by making it open to other areas. So not just Lancaster and York, but to Harrisburg and Maryland.”
The tournament, which plans to rotate sites between York and Lancaster, also may have built up a little more intrigue between the sides. The two rival counties participate in the War of the Roses Championship, a Ryder Cup-style match-play event, that usually caps the end of the golf season.
Unlike previous years, many of the participants in this year’s War of the Roses will have actually golfed against one another before the War of the Roses event. That can only make the gentlemanly rivalry between the two sides more interesting come late September.
Perhaps the only negative part of Sunday’s tournament was a brief downpour that eventually delayed play for around 20-30 minutes. Just as quickly as it came in, however, it disappeared, with the rest of the event finishing without another interruption.
“It was pouring,” said YCAGA veteran T.J. Ostrom, who played in a pairing with former Red Lion girls’ basketball coach Don Dimoff. “We were soaked and, unfortunately, we tried to keep going.”
So too did Pope, who golfed in a foursome that included Brett Berkheimer and Dan Wolfe.
“The rain really didn’t bother me,” Pope said. “I birdied No. 11 in the driving rain. The hard stuff didn’t catch us until he were standing on No. 12. Unfortunately for me, I just couldn’t get things going after that, but the rain didn’t bother me.”
The rain may have taken some of the wind out of the sails for Berkheimer, who recently won the club championship at Honey Run. Berkheimer started strong Sunday. He was 4 under through the first five holes. But the rain caught up to his play. He bogeyed No. 11 and No. 12 and was back to even par after another bogey on 15. Berkheimer rallied back late with a pair of birdies over his final three holes to finish at 2 under.
Wolfe, who finished in a four-way tie for third with Berkheimer, Kory Trout and Bobby Stiffler, was at even par after the rain before recording an eagle on No. 17 to get to 2 under.
Sweeney never really seemed to encounter any issues. He played a very steady round that included 13 pars and five birdies. Fieger, who won both the Lancaster Open and Senior Amateur titles this year, also carded five birdies for the day. A bogey on No. 5, however, was the difference. He finished a stroke behind Sweeney.
Aces recorded at York County courses: Three golfers recorded holes in one at area courses recently.
Jim Slobozien had an ace on No. 12 at Honey Run Golf Club. He used a 4-hybrid on the 170-yard hole. It was witnessed by Mike Gingerich, Bob Sallador and Bob Weaver.
Kerri Bacha had a hole-in-one on No. 6 at Out Door Country Club with a 9-iron. The witnesses were Kevin Bacha, Bobby Traynham and Karen Traynham.
Dennis Storms had a hole-in-one on Tuesday at Briarwood East Golf Club. Storms used a 6-iron to ace the 139-yard third hole. It was witnessed by Errol Ward, Ken Buckmeyer and Fred Robertson.
Shuman wins Honey Run senior golf title: Matt Shuman won first place in the Honey Run Golf Club Senior Championship recently.
George Flickinger was second and Randy Thompson was third.
Chad March finished first in the First Flight, followed by Dave Smith and Frank Youkers.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.