It's getting increasingly hard to finish single-round golf in a single day.
This again was evident at the Middle Atlantic Pro-Amateur at Wakefield Valley. It took three days for directors officially to determine winners.
As darkness fell over Carroll County Monday evening, some golfers at Wakefield were still on the course, with no lighted fairways. The purse had to be held until the last two foursomes returned to finish on Tuesday.
Yet another delay occurred when records and score cards of Monday's play departed with the tournament director, who was bound for another tourney assignment in Northern Virginia on Tuesday.
All the marvels of the fax machine could not get the Monday tourney settled until Wednesday.
Wakefield professional Bill Horney said a change of dates for the tournament and the playing conditions Monday threw things off.
"Our annual pro-am at Wakefield normally is played in June," said Horney. "There never was a struggle to finish. This time, however, we accepted a late-season date and it made almost an hour's difference in daylight."
"Then, too, Wakefield can be treacherous for tournament play when the greens are fast and wind is high. These conditions made it almost impossible for the bulging field of 248 to keep a normal pace."
But the failure of tournaments, both sectional and national, to finish the same day has become commonplace.
Much of the problem can be attributed to the fact that golf tournaments are drawing record fields and pressing officials to get players around before dark.
Also, in the case of weather delays, sponsors have become extremely cautious of thunderstorms, often calling contestants off the course at the slightest hint of lightning.
There is no question that the pace of both tournament and casual golfers has declined. It was not too long ago that four hours for an 18-hole round of golf was considered slow. Now, five-hour rounds are common.
In cases where golf tournaments are shortened by poor weather or lack of daylight, the Middle Atlantic PGA has a policy of accepting the event as official whenever 80 percent of the field has completed the course on the same day.
Any golfers remaining on the course after the 80 percent rule is invoked have the option of returning to finish the next day or
withdrawing without refunds.
Among the pro leaders at Wakefield were Rod Ferguson, Washington Golf and CC, 68; Glen Barrett, Glenn Dale, 69; Mark Spolarich, Crofton, 70; Jack Skilling, Columbia, 70; and Chris Peddicord, Night Hawk Range, 70. Wakefield's assistant professionals, Leighton Thomas and Darrin Schildt, both carded 73s.
Tom Haskell established a course record that might stand a long time at the new Oakmont Greens course in Hampstead.
Haskell, the teaching pro at the club, toured the par-72 layout in 33-32 for a 7-under-par 65. He competed in a threesome with Matt Wooten and Dave Potts. His round featured an eagle 3 on the eighth hole.
Piney Branch's two-man team championship concludes tomorrow. The match play event opened with preliminary rounds yesterday and today. A Labor Day final will be over 36 holes.
Leading net teams in the club's Man-Woman tourney were Russ Arenz and Gloria Barry (129) and Roger Leonard and Joanne Yingling (133).
Low gross leaders were Carol Gailey and Vicky Schmelz (155) and Dave Schmid and Nancy Gailey (156).