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How do you win a golf championship?

Strangely enough, for CarrollCounty golfers, the formats are pretty much the same. And it mattersnot whether you're talking about stroke or match play competition.

Qualifications for these championships are the same at Wakefield Valley, Piney Branch and Bear Creek.

While most clubs throughout Maryland consider their match play championship as the most important,the stroke play version continues to gain in stature. There is even quarrel in some corners that stroke play is a truer test of golfing skill.

For match play at both Wakefield and Piney Branch, championship hopefuls are assigned to qualifying berths, based on the 32 lowest handicaps. Eliminating rounds of 18 holes are conducted over three weekends with the final round scheduled at 36 holes.

Todd Eckenrode holds the match play crown at Wakefield and Wayne Gailey is the head-to-head champ at Piney Branch. In the case of Bear Creek, a flight of 16 is set aside for the low handicap players. Bob Blubaugh is defending champion.

Thirty-six hole totals decide the stroke play winners at all three courses, with two 18-hole rounds over the same weekend.

Current stroke play winners are Todd Eckenrode at Wakefield, Steve Yount at Piney Branch and Ron Rogers at Bear Creek. Eckenrode isthe only golfer to wear both titles at his club.

Winners among Carroll County women golfers are: in match play, Janet Heltibrildle at Wakefield and Connie Henderson at Piney Branch; and in stroke play Barbara Linder at Wakefield and Sue Roche at Piney Branch. The young Bear Creek course will conduct its first women's championship this season.

While there is a sameness to the Carroll County tourneys, there is a wide variety of formats at clubs elsewhere. For example, Sparrows Point County Club in Baltimore County has its men's stroke play winner decided over a 54-hole route with 27 holes scheduled on consecutive days. Other clubs decide qualifiers on a single round and some use a point system, based on the number of pars, birdies and eagles recorded in the round.


Bob Schmid's 141 score won low gross honors in the President's Cup event at Piney Branch. Carol Gailey and Charles Palmer tied for second at 145. Bill Hedrick won low net with 129, followed by Ed Cashman's 137.


Jack Skilling, assistant proat Columbia Country Club, scored 68 to win the Piney Branch pro-am for the second straight year. Other pro leaders: Brian Lehnard 69, JimEstes 70 and Charles Briggs 70. The top amateurs were Charles Palmer70, Howard Swartz 72 and Bob Lutz 72. Low net went to Mike Boden with 92-29-63.

The winning foursome, with a gross score of 64, included Piney Branch players Jeff Zachman, Wayne Gailey, Steve Yount and Charles Palmer.


The "Thelma Richards" tournament at Bear Creekwas headed by the foursome of Audrey Brown, Doretha Greene, Sarah Martin and Barb McLaughlin. They had a gross score of 66. At 69 was theteam of Debbie Retzer, Marion Bass, Rose Vango and Aileen Santos. The winning net team was made up of Bev Phillips, Margaret Myers, BettyWinte and Donna Easton.


Leighton Thomas, an assistant pro atWakefield Valley Golf Club, passed his playing test Monday at the Suburban Club in Baltimore County.

The on-the-course test, combined with two business schools, makes Thomas eligible to become a head professional.

His 155 over 36 holes in the Middle Atlantic Professional Golfers Association-Northern Division assistants championship Monday allowed him to qualify. Two other area assistants --Tim Butler of Bear Creek and Westminster resident Mike Amtsberg of Glade Valley in Frederick County -- just missed passing the test.

Darrin Schildt, an assistant at Wakefield, also turned in a 155 Monday, but was not taking his qualifying test.

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