When the sprawling field of 206 tee off in next week's Maryland State Amateur Championship at Bethesda Country Club, it could bring to an end a single-round qualifying format for this event.
Possibly already attempting to operate beyond capacity, officials must now look at new methods to control the ever-growing number of entries. For example, consider Thursday's 18-hole qualifying.
To get the round completed, the first tee time is 6:30 a.m. The last time is 3:30 p.m. With players forced to compete in foursomes to absorb more entries they could be looking at five-hour rounds. And if it happens to be an overcast evening, they'll have to get out the headlights to finish.
So what can be done to keep the interest growing, yet improve playing conditions?
Among suggestions under consideration is a double qualifier. Perhaps, instead of just one qualifier, preliminary trials could be scheduled at two different sites -- one in the Baltimore area and the other in Washington would be a natural.
In this way there would be approximately 100 golfers in each field. If 50 of them could be designated as first-round qualifiers from each site, the committee would have a more workable field of about 100 battling in the second-round qualifier. In this kind of field, at least, everyone would get a fair shot at gaining one of the prized 32 match-play berths.
Of course, there are problems with making the switch to double qualifying. It would require obtaining two extra courses for the preliminary rounds. What's more these early rounds should be ++ listed on a Monday in order to give the committee time for drawing up pairings and starting times for the usual Thursday qualifier.
Another consideration is the time already consumed by amateur golfers in the State Amateur. As it is now, the finalists face seven rounds covering four days.
Charley Harris of Country Club of Maryland is defending champion. He won the title last year over his home course, defeating Tim Dilly of Hunt Valley in the final.
* There will be 187 competing in the Sectional Qualifying for the Open at Woodmont CC Monday.
Included in the field are most of the contestants competing in the Kemper Open at Avenel this weekend. Because of the size and quality of the field, it is expected that as many as 90 will win certificates to tee it up in the Open itself.
Among those competing is Ben Crenshaw. Those who advanced to the Sectional trials after winning rounds at Wakefield Valley last week are: Jim Watterson, Jack Skilling, Gary Marlowe, Kirk ,, Lombardi, John McNaney and Wayne DeFancesca.
* In a surprise move, George Jakovics has resigned his position as head golf professional and course superintendent at Chartwell Country Club.