The county’s top golfers will head to Hobbit’s Glen Golf Club on Tuesday for this year’s Howard County championship golf tournament, which is scheduled to begin with a shotgun start at noon.
Greeting them will be some fairly significant changes to the format compared to years past.
First, the scoring will be stroke play instead of the stableford system that had been used for the tournament in the past.
The old system, which is still used during the regular season, awards players five points for an eagle, four for a birdie, three for a par, two for a bogey and one for a double bogey. Now, the competitors will play old-fashioned stroke play with a maximum score of double par.
The second change is that all competitors are only guaranteed to play nine holes this year. After that point, the scores will be tabulated and the field for both the boys and girls will be cut in half. The remaining players will then be regrouped according to the leaderboard and continue with the nine that they have yet to play.
The field this year is already much smaller than in previous seasons due to the qualifying scores being raised for both boys and girls. Boys had to accumulate at least 54 points from their best three regular-season match scores (up from 45 last year) and girls had to reach 39 (up from 30).
There are currently 35 boys in the field and 14 girls.
River Hill’s Derek Gold (82 points in his best three matches) and Howard’s Jacqueline Cherry (81) are the top seeds for the boys and girls, respectively. Gold posted three rounds of 27 points or better this fall to achieve his position, while Cherry fired five rounds of 26 or better.
The majority of the groups will feature four players apiece and are constructed in accordance to each player’s seed with the only stipulation that no two teammates may be paired together. That rule, for example, prohibits Howard’s Harper Lurie — who should be seeded in the fourth spot — from joining Cherry in the top girls group. Lurie instead headlines group No. 2.
The word is, though, that once cuts are made following nine holes the stipulation of not having more than one player from the same team in the same group will be dropped.
There is once again no team aspect to the tournament and there was no cap on the number of participants per school as long as they reached the qualifying score. Marriotts Ridge once again boasts the largest contingent of players in the boys field with seven players, while Howard has four girls players in the field.
The boys will tee off with a shotgun on the front nine, while the girls will begin on the back.
Follow Brent Kennedy on twitter (@BKHoCoSports) for live updates during the tournament.
The groups are as follows:
Hole 1A: Derek Gold (RH), Jackson Courtney (MR), Branden Nguyen (A) and Lake Lloyd (MH).
1B: Kevin Hickey (RH), John McAuliffe (G), Nick Mejia (MR) and Gregory Sterenberg (C).
9: Brett Pool (Ho), John Szymanski (MR), Hayden Mikk (G) and Liam Hall (MH).
8: David Polefrone (MR), Shashank Gupta (Ho), Jacob Burman (RH) and Max Goron (Re).
7: Alex Pak (MR), Josh Mann (RH), Kenneth Chaplain (C), and Adam Fairbanks (OM).
6: David Stephens (MR), Darian Kassiri (Ho), Trace Teodori (Re) and Richie Abruscatto (G).
5: Isaac Kim (MR), Ty Sams (C), Sam Gigioli (Re) and Michael Forester (G).
4: Noah Chong (A), Tony Mobley (G), Patrick McDonald (Ha) and Ryan Jung (MH).
3: Eric Schneider (WL), Patrick Grimsley (A) and Brandon Writt (G).
Hole 13: Jacqueline Cherry (Ho), Lee Lee Sands (WL), Faith McIlvain (MR) and Isabel Trojillo (C).
12: Harper Lurie (Ho), Isabelle Rathbun (MH), Meg Quinn (MR) and Megumi Fukuzawa (C).
11: Alex Abrams (Ho), Julianna Dorsch (MR) and Abby Green (RH).
10: Logan Lurie (Ho), Alex Stone (G) and Lauren Berg (RH).