There had to be pressure on Carroll County's 21-year-old Michael Wah when he stepped on the tee for his bid in the U.S. Amateur Golf Championship last week in Columbus, Ohio.
It was a case of an almost totally inexperienced golfer matching shots with the nation's most proficient amateurs. It is conceded that many in the field would be golf's dominators of tomorrow. He knew he was bucking overwhelming odds. Only the top 64 players from an original field of thousands would make it into match play competition.
What Wah needed at this point was support. And he got it on both sides of the tee.
Standing close enough to hand him a one iron for his first shot in the 36-hole qualifying test was Darrin Schildt, a longtime friend and assistant professional at Wakefield Valley Golf Club in Westminster. Schildt made the trip with Wah and served as his caddy for four days.
Michael's parents, Paul and Jeanne Wah of Union Bridge, were on the sidelines of Jack Nicklaus' Muirfield Village.
Their hopes ran high early in the first round. After 11 holes, Michael was only two over par. But on the next five holes, he suffered three double bogeys, sending his total to an opening 82.
Wah, who served in multiple capacities during his summer job at Wakefield Valley, came back with a 74 in the second round, giving him a highly respectable 146 total.
"It was a huge thrill for me to do that well in my first major tournament," said Wah.
A student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Wah was one of four qualifiers from this section of the country to win a U.S. Amateur berth at his home Wakefield Valley course.
There is evidence that more young players are grooming for stardom at Wakefield, where the junior program is gaining high praise, according to Leighton Thomas. He and Schildt are instructors for the program.
"We were looking for a low-budget formula to attract youngsters without making heavy demands on their busy schedules, said Thomas.
Juniors are charged $3 per group lesson. It is up to the boys and girls to decide how many sessions they will attend.
Instruction in all phases of the game, including rules and etiquette, is offered for both girls and boys, ages 7 and up.
R George Fanshaw is the 1992 senior champion at Piney Branch.
Fanshaw, a former winner, regained the title with a playoff victory over Phil Phillips. After the pair deadlocked with 36-hole totals of 162, Fanshaw dropped a winning birdie putt on the first extra hole.
Winning net scores were: Championship flight, Dave Heiberg 147; first flight, Gene Curtis, 151; second flight, Frank Hale, 141; and third flight, Guy Tregoe and Tom McCaulley, 146.
Connie Henderson won the women's senior crown again with an Flight leaders among the women, with net scores, were Joan Gailey, 74, and Becky Parks, 66.
Junior winners were: Robby Rosenberger, 88, in the 14-17 age group; Adam Rosenberger and Drew Parks, 51, in the 11-13 age group; and Tyler Graham, 45, and Lauren Nesbit, 53, in the 8-10 age group.
Stan Webster edged Walker Ragsdale, 74 to 76, to win the men's senior title at Wakefield Valley. Age class net winners were:
bTC Fred Kestler, 62, Bob Cumberland, 67, Howard Frymier, 68; Bob Fowler, 68, Bob Heltibridle, 68, and Paul Keener, 69, in the 55-60 age group; Bob Eltringham, 66, Al Kirkner, 67, and Jack Winder, 67, in the 61-65 group; George Tears, 67, George Spittel, 71, and Dave Scott, 72, in the 66-70 group; George Grier, 67, Loring Yingling, 69, and Tom Veditz, 71, in the 71-75 age group.
Rita Delia won the women's senior division, with Pat Lichtfuss second. Net winners included Maria Hankin, Doris Barnes, Ida Mae Huff and Diane Blubaugh.
For hole-in-one honors of the year, consider Jon-David Byers.
At age 9, Byers scored an ace on the 179-yard 11th hole at Beaver Creek. He was competing with his father, David Byers, Matt Baier and Earl Schaffer.
Bob Mitchell's 40 won low gross in Bear Creek's weekly twilight league. Low net went to Jesse Mullins with a 36.
In senior men's play at Bear Creek, net winners were Lee Miller, 68, Charles Amereihn, 69, and Bruno Bronkowski, 70.