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Golf: Carroll County Amateur tourney getting a revival

The picturesque, par-3 seventh hole at Piney Branch Golf Club in Hampstead is pictured. Piney Branch is hosting the Carroll County Amateur, which is back after a four-year absence.
The picturesque, par-3 seventh hole at Piney Branch Golf Club in Hampstead is pictured. Piney Branch is hosting the Carroll County Amateur, which is back after a four-year absence. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

Jeff Zachman kept getting questions about the fate of the Carroll County Amateur golf tournament, which ran for 20 years at Wakefield Valley Golf Club in Westminster.

The amateur hasn't been held since 2011, however, and when Wakefield closed in the fall of 2013 the annual tournament all but vanished from being an annual summer event in Carroll.

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Until now.

Zachman is reviving the tournament, which is scheduled for Aug. 1 at Piney Branch Golf Club in Hampstead.

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The head professional at Piney Branch tried to restart the 18-hole, stroke-play tournament last summer, but lack of a sponsor and word of mouth, mixed with the daily tasks of operating Piney Branch, doomed its chances.

"They were looking for somebody to pick it up, and things got busy and, you know, it just doesn't happen," Zachman said. "We decided it's time to start it. I had guys asking me, and a couple guys said they'd help run it. So we're going to try to pick it back up and get it moving again."

The amateur started in 1992 and was last held five years ago, when former Francis Scott Key standout Ray Sheedy won a record sixth championship. Westminster native David Bittner won the inaugural Carroll County Am and has five titles, followed by Charlie Palmer's four. Palmer is a longtime member at Piney Branch.

The tournament was 18 holes from 1992-2008, and a 36-hole, two-day tourney from 2009-11.

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Zachman said this year the criteria for playing won't be as rigid as in years past. Anyone who has played a public golf course in Carroll County is eligible, he said, as well as any county resident and member of a county golf club.

"And if it starts to get big like we hope it will, like it used to be, then we may go to changing that," said Zachman, who has Farmers & Merchants Bank as a sponsor this year.

This year's amateur has four flights — men's championship, men's amateur, men's senior, and ladies' amateur. The men's senior flight tees off at 9 a.m., followed by the men's amateur at 9:45, ladies' amateur at 10:30, and men's championship at 10:45.

"It was one of those things that Wakefield kind of owned, and they always had a bank sponsor it over there," Zachman said. "I got Farmers & Merchants to help sponsor this, that's why I definitely want to make sure it's a success."

The men's championship will be played from Piney Branch's blue tees, meaning the course is 6,493 yards long.

There will be a sudden death playoff to break ties for first place in each division. The entry fee is $70, and that includes golf, carts, prizes, and lunch.

The deadline to accept entries for the amateur is July 25.

Zachman said he knows it might take some time before the amateur generates a lot of interest and gets back to it once was. But he's happy to help give the county's golf community a boost.

"We want to get it back on the calendar," Zachman said. "I want to make this something that Carroll County can be proud of again."

NOTE: Anyone interested in playing can call 410-239-7115 for more information.

410-857-7894

Carroll County Amateur winners

Year Winners Score

2011 Ray Sheedy 151*

2010 Ray Sheedy 144*

2009 Ray Sheedy 149*

2008 Jon Walker 72

2007 Ray Sheedy 72

2006 Ray Sheedy 74

2005 David Bittner 72

2004 J.D. Byers 74

2003 David Bittner 76

2002 Bob Rosenberger 74

2001 Ray Sheedy 70

2000 David Bittner 74

1999 Charlie Palmer 74

1998 Charlie Palmer 76

1997 Howard Tiger 73

1996 David Bittner 78

1995 Scott Brennan 77

1994 Charlie Palmer 74

1993 Charlie Palmer 76

1992 David Bittner 73

* = Two-round total

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