Swartz, 45, hasn't lost his winning ways Triumphs in return to amateur play


July 16, 1993|By GEORGE TAYLOR

At 45, Piney Branch's Howard Swartz wonders if he can rekindle his days of championship golf.

It was in 1977 that Swartz, despite an impressive record in area amateur golf, backed off from tournament play and took on a new priority -- helping his wife raise a family of three children.

"I have no regrets at that decision," said Swartz, "but as the children grew it has crossed my mind to try and again sharpen my golf game."

Included in Swartz's golf background was a victory in the Baltimore City Amateur Championship when he was just 19.

Swartz's idea of a comeback received a boost when he won his club's 36-hole stroke play championship last weekend. He won in a playoff against Charles Palmer.

They had flip-flop rounds with Swartz posting 72 and 77 for a 149 total. Palmer had the same score with 77-72. During the second round, Swartz appeared on the verge of a runaway win. After building a four-stroke advantage, and paired in the same grouping with Palmer, Swartz appeared to slam the door when he curled in a 70-foot birdie on the fifth green.

Palmer, however, rallied with a 35 on the back nine to force a playoff. Included in the stretch run was a three-stroke swing on the 14th hole.

On the first playoff hole, a par 4, Palmer drove in the right rough. Swartz, making sure to avoid any trouble, hit a 4-iron off the tee. It resulted in a shot down the middle, leaving only a wedge to reach the green.

Palmer pulled his second shot into a left-hand, green-side bunker. His third shot left him with a 15-foot putt for a par. %J Swartz completed the hole in par and Palmer missed his attempt to extend the match.

Swartz has been near perfect in Piney Branch stroke play with two firsts and a second in three appearances.

Because of the Piney Branch victory, Swartz received an invitation to play in the 1993 Baltimore City Amateur on July 24-25.

Third-place finisher at Piney Branch was Wayne Gailey with 141. He was followed by Carroll Gailey, 154; Russ Wenderoth, 157; Jim Staymates, 159; Joe Nagy, 160; Joe Feinrod, 162; Steve Yount, 162; and Tim Boyd, 162.

Winners and runners-up in other flights were: first flight -- Dave Heiberg, 155, and Dan Rask, 156; second flight -- Tony Sneska, 157, and Ray Shaffer, 167; third flight -- Finbar Murphy, 162, and Dick Titus,168; fourth flight -- Peck Rhoten, 175, Bill Scott, 181, and Guy Tregoe, 181.


The club's husband-wife championship was captured by Charlene and Guy Merson, scoring an 81 gross total. The winning teams were Rose and Ralph Maganell, 65, Annette and Chuck Husman, 67, and Eurith and Bob Bowers, 67.

Entries are being received for the second annual Carroll County Golf Championship. The event is scheduled at Wakefield on Aug. 2. Dave Bittner of the host Wakefield course captured the title in 1992, posting a 73.

This year's format is expected to have the championship flight contested over 27 holes. All other flights, including those for men and women, will be played at 18 holes.

Wakefield's assistant pro, Leighton Thomas, made the cut in first-round play of the Maryland State Open earlier this week at Crofton. However, he shot an 83 in the second round and did not reach the third round of the 54-hole event.

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