Rain cuts seniors short at Cattail Snead is declared winner of invitational

August 14, 1996|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

No sooner had the final round of the inaugural Toyota Invitational been canceled because of rain than tournament director John Mathews was thinking about next year.

Behind him were more than two years of preparation for the $200,000 event involving players from the Senior PGA Tour, Middle Atlantic PGA pros and an assortment of amateurs.

What was expected to be a dry run for a possible tour event became a washout after Cattail Creek Country Club and the surrounding Howard County countryside was inundated with more than three inches of rain in a 36-hour period.

"We waited until after 7 o'clock [yesterday morning] to make the call," Mathews said of the cancellation. "At that point, it was raining, the course was so wet we would have had to keep carts on the paths, and the public parking facilities [grass fields] were in bad shape."

J.C. Snead was declared the winner; he tied the course record Snead with a 66 in Monday's first round. Jerry McGee was second at 70, followed by Bruce Summerhays, Jim Dent and Hale Irwin at 71.

Mathews expects to sit down with representatives of the title sponsor, the Central Atlantic Toyota dealers, within the next couple of weeks to discuss plans for next year.

Later will come feedback from Senior Tour officials. Although the tour's 1997 schedule is full at the moment, changes are possible.

More likely is the chance of a tour event here in 1998. If the tour doesn't come until 1998, another invitational involving the Senior pros would be held next season.

"Everybody we talked to -- players, agents, people who see and run tournaments around the country -- was highly complimentary," Mathews said.

This despite the weather, a clubhouse that is still under construction, and some minor glitches that come with every first-time effort.

"The golf course was in great condition and the players couldn't get over the fact that it had the look and feel of a tour event," Mathews said. "Before leaving, many of them told us to keep pursuing our goal, and they looked forward to coming back in the future."

Lee Corrigan, vice president of marketing for the tournament's NTC managing company, Columbia-based EMCEE Sports, said, "Our cost was about $500,000, and from the original $200,000 purse for the Senior pros, we paid about 75 percent. We paid out 50 percent off the prize list, but each of the 21 got at least the guaranteed minimum of $5,000."

Mathews added, "Although our inability to complete the event ranks as a major disappointment in my life, I think we came away with at least two positives: We did get in one day of play, and we learned a lot."

Fans who had Tuesday-only tickets can receive a refund, be given a ticket to next year's event or use their purchase as a charitable contribution. Two-day ticket holders can be refunded partially. The tournament office address is: Toyota Invitational, EMCEE Sports, 10630 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 129, Columbia, Md. 21044.

Pub Date: 8/13/96

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