There's no letup in the ever-growing interest in state team golf.
What was started as a Sunday afternoon social outing in the early years of the Maryland State Golf Association has blossomed into one of the keenest competitions on the schedule.
Just to show how much attention the matches are getting, Piney Branch Golf Club of Hampstead had qualifying trials for its team last fall.
Piney Branch professional Jeff Zachman said the idea of earlyteam selection was just one more attempt at producing the club's best possible lineup.
"The state matches always are the first event of the season," said Zachman, "and it was felt a player's ability could better be judged by his performances the previous fall, rather thanin early spring."
Therefore, with most clubs still holding their qualifying rounds, Piney Branch is set with the following lineup: Zachman, Steve Yount, Steve Gailey, Howard Swartz, Roland Nichols, Charles Palmer, Ken Madison, Tim Boyd, John Nesbitt, Phil Bossom, Wayne Gailey and Carol Gailey.
Carol and Wayne Gailey won automatic berthson the team as match play and stroke play champions, respectively, at the club.
For the state matches, each club may enter a lineup of11 amateurs plus its club professional. Six team members play at home and the other six at their opponent's course.
Until the matches were divided over two courses some 30 years ago, all 24 contestants played the same layout. As expected, those teams drawing matches at home won almost every time.
The changed format also introduced a newtwist of strategy for the competition.
"It's an old belief," saidBill Horney, captain of the Wakefield Valley team and a pro at the club, "that it's possible for an underdog team to pull an upset by keeping its six strongest players at home. But this system can backfire,too."
Assured of berths on the Wakefield team are match play titleholder Mike Myers and stroke play champion Todd Eckenrode, along with runners-up Gerry Eckenrode and David Bittner.
Wakefield and Piney Branch lost in the second round last year.
Fees have been announced for play at the new Oakmont Green golf course in Hampstead, set to open Memorial Day. Daily fees are $18 on weekends and holidays and $14 during the week, with cart fees of $9 per person.
Season membership is $900 for one person and $1,300 for a husband and wife.
Bear Creek Golf Club north of Westminster is launching a new Senior League this season. Head professional Greg Long says seniors will tee up Tuesday mornings for a charge of $16.
Bear Creek's regular-season play starts Saturday with an "ice-breaker" four-man scramble. Extension of several tees and additional cart paths were established over the winter.
The second tournament for the new Liberty Park Golf Association was held at Patuxent Greens. Top prize in the two-man team event went to Walt Carter and Doug Miller with a score of 57. Second place went to Dave Kubulis and Bill McNiel with 58.
Net scores of flight winners were: Class A, Larry Anderson 68; Class B, Walt Carter 65; Class C, Lora Fioretti 69 and Tony Repko 71.
Craig Herwig is the new assistant pro under Steve Jones at Liberty.