Teamwork keeps Eckenrodes on top

GOLF

May 24, 1992|By GEORGE TAYLOR

More than talent is needed to win with a two-man golf team.

Compatibility, understanding and patience are important, too. Those virtues beyond pars and birdies have enabled Wakefield Valley's Todd and Gerry Eckenrode to be the most successful golf combination in Carroll County golf history.

When the Eckenrodes -- who are not related -- captured Wakefield Valley's 1992 two-man team championship last weekend, it marked their seventh triumph in this 36-hole scratch event. Their titles came in 1981, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1989, 1990 and 1992.

The two have a wealth of credentials. Todd has won five individual match-play titles and two stroke-play crowns at Wakefield; Gerry twice has won the club's stroke play championship. Although Todd holds more titles, it was Gerry who eliminated Todd in semifinals of the individual match play event last year.

"It's respect these two have for each other on the golf course that makes them so effective," said head professional Bill Horney.

"They accept each other's high and low spots during a match with equal understanding. Even in the state 12-man team matches, we always keep them together."

In this year's two-man team test at Wakefield, the Eckenrodes turned back Dave Bittner and Mike Myers in a close struggle.

The lead changed three times in the final round before the Eckenrodes posted a 142 total against 144 for the formidable Myers-Bittner combination. Myers is the club's individual defending match-play champion.

Flight winners at Wakefield's two-man team event included:

First flight: 156 -- Charles Walker and Greg Leppo; 156 -- Steve Harry and Joe Rhodes.

Second flight: 161 -- Bob Heltibridle and Tom Zgorski; 164 -- John Penzer and Walker Ragsdale.

Third flight: 164 -- Jim Larimer and Jim Case; 168 -- Mike Larrick and Bob Thomas.

Fourth flight: 168 -- Mike Holland and Bruce Coyle; 168 -- Steve Holland and Craig Holland.

Fifth flight: 168 -- Dave Kopp and Dale Smith; 184 -- Wes Blakesby and John Naurot.

*

Carroll County will be represented by four players in this week's Maryland State Amateur Championship. They are Wakefield's Bittner and Myers and Piney Branch's Carol Gailey and Bob Schmid.

Because of ever-increasing fields for the state amateur, officials are introducing double qualifying rounds to establish the 32 players who will vie in match play June 11 at Hagerstown's Fountain Head Country Club.

Baltimore-area entries will compete in the first-round qualifying trials at Hillendale in Baltimore County Tuesday, while Washington-area players will tee off at the Glen Dale course. The leaders from each group will be paired for the opening round of match play in Hagerstown.

Starting times at Hillendale Tuesday include Bittner, 8:35; Myers, 9:24; Gailey, 12:19 and Schmid ,1:22.

It was in 1986 that Gailey defeated World and Walker Cup player Marty West in the early rounds of the Maryland State Amateur.

"I don't know if I can pull that off again," said Gailey, "but I'll have fun trying."

*

Following are results of the spring two-player tourney at Piney Branch.

(Men) Low gross: 142 -- John Merkle and Paul Sullivan; 145 -- Ken Mattison and Jeff Smelzer. Low net: 128 -- John Stout and John Shields; 129 -- Ed Tobias and Frank Hale; 129 -- George Fanshaw and Ray Shaffer.

(Women) Low gross: 173 -- Debbie Stricker and Julia Weinstein. Low net: 136 -- Susan Roche and Louise Evans; 137 -- Audrey Zink and Jean Hess; 139 -- Nancy Gailey and Jana Zachman.

*

Hampstead's new Oakmont Green is expected to open June 1. Formal ribbon-cutting will be later in June.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

May 24-25: Memorial Day events at Wakefield Valley, including a shoot-out, 876-6662.

May 24: Mixed tournament at Piney Branch, 239-7114.

May 24: Bear Creek Memorial Day Tournament, 876-GOLF.

May 25: Memorial Day Tournament at Bear Creek, four-person scramble, 876-GOLF.

May 29: Pro-Am at Piney Branch, 239-7114.

May 29: WMC Alumni Tournament at Western Maryland. 857-7667

May 29: Piney Branch women in Mason-Dixon match at Chambersburg. 239-7114.

May 30: Grace Community Church group at Western Maryland. 857-7667

May 30: Stableford Point System Tourney at Bear Creek. 876-GOLF

May 30-31: Man-Lady Tournament at Piney Branch, 239-7114.

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