By Mike Dudurich, Freelance writer and host of The Golf Show on 93.7 The Fan Saturday mornings from 7-8 AM – Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeDudurich
The WPGA has retained Mike Dudurich to write a blog for its website. The opinions and observations contained within are his own and do not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of the Association.
Yes, it’s darn near mid-September and there is still meaningful golf to be played in Western Pennsylvania. One of the most fun, emotional and meaningful on the West Penn Golf Association schedule will take place Thursday at Latrobe Country Club.
The 20th annual Palmer Cup matches named for golf’s greatest ambassador ever, Arnold Palmer, will once again pair the best amateurs from the WPGA against the best pros from the Tri-State PGA in morning singles and afternoon Four-Ball matches.
There are great matchups throughout the event, which gets underway at 8 a.m.
Some of those include: Sean Knapp vs. Roy Vucinich (8:45); David Brown vs. Jason Martin (8:54); Nathan Smith vs. Kevin Shields (9:12) in the singles. In the afternoon, how about Sean Knapp and Nathan Smith against the Oakmont Country Club duo of Director of Golf Bob Ford and Golf Professional Devin Gee? Or Jimmy Ellis and Rick Stimmel against Allegheny pro John Aber and former assistant and now South Hills pro Tony Traci?
It’s a great day of golf, highlighted by Palmer making an appearance, getting pictures taken with both teams and just soaking up the atmosphere, something he really enjoys doing.
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Fast forward to the end of the month to a couple days of highly competitive and important golf at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington.
On Monday, the 28th, the 74th West Penn Four-Ball & 5th Senior Four-Ball Championships will be played on the Mystic Rock Course. Chuck Nettles and Jimmy Ellis are the defending Four-Ball champions while the dynamic senior duo of Bob Allshouse and Dave DeNezza of Greensburg are the defending champs in that division.
And then the next day, sectional qualifying for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship for both divisions will be held on the same course.
Interest in that event, which debuted in May, has skyrocketed across the country. That’s especially the case in western Pennsylvania after golfers and golf fans watched Nathan Smith and his partner, Todd While, win impressively at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.
Two teams from Nemacolin will advance to the national championship.
A dozen amateurs are scheduled to tee it up Monday and Tuesday in the Pennsylvania Golf Association’s 22nd Mid-Amateur Championship at Huntsville Golf Club in Dallas, Pa.
Sean Knapp has won the event three times since 2004 (2004, 2009, 2013).
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Just over a month from now, the West Penn Golf Association will induct the third class into its Hall of Fame.
This year’s event will take place at Chartiers Country Club Oct. 14 at 6 p.m.
The class of 2015 includes: Eben Byers, Bobby Cruickshank, Judy Oliver, Sam Parks Jr., Donald “Doc” Giffin, Sean Knapp and Nathan Smith. Byers, Cruickshank, Oliver and Parks Jr., will be inducted posthumously.
The event includes of a 2015 champions celebration, dinner and induction ceremony. It is open to the public for $100 per person.
Registration is available on the WPGA website.
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Speaking of Arnold Palmer, in case you missed it, The King observed his 86th birthday on Thursday.
As usual, he received messages, phone calls and well-wishes from the around, but from his own back yard, here’s another one, even though it’s just a bit late.
Hope you had the greatest of all birthdays, Arnold. We here in Western Pennsylvania will forever be grateful to you for the career you had, for the great things you’ve accomplished off the course and how you’ve made Western Pa. your home base. Thanks for taking us on a great ride.