Local putters welcome Great Lakes Tour back to East Suburbs
John Bambling shot 7-under over 18 holes Saturday morning in his first round of a two-day Great Lakes Putting Tour event at Monroeville's Par 2 Golf Courses facility.
"I hit three soft lips and finished at 7 under. I could've easily been 10 under," the Shaler Township resident said. "I hit the ball well but just had a few bad breaks."
Soft lips are when the ball loops around the edge of a hole on a first shot and comes to rest only a few inches from the hole.
Bambling, who has played in amateur and professional miniature-golf tournament events in Monroeville for close to four decades, joined eight of his fellow Park 2 Golf Courses League members and close to a dozen more golfers from Ohio, Pennsylvania and Nevada in the second of two tour stops in Monroeville.
"It's really nice that we get an opportunity to play our home course in an event like this," Bambling said. "Some of us have been playing here in Monroeville for 40 years. It's always great to have a Great Lakes Tour event here and have people come in and see what we have here."
Herb Hull, an Alliance, Ohio, native now living in Las Vegas, knows what its like to find success in miniature golf at the national level.
He became involved with the sport during the miniature-golf boom in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and he won the 1970 World Amateur Putting Championship.
His prize was a seven-week all-expense-paid trip to different countries around the world, and he was a part of grand openings of several miniature-golf courses in Australia and South Africa.
Hull qualified for the world championships that year at the old Monroeville miniature-golf facility on Monroeville Boulevard.
He said he was happy to come back to Monroeville and compete in this event.
"It's a great course. They really keep it well maintained," Hull said.
The winner of the professional side of the 1970 World Putting Champion- ships took home $50,000.
"Most of the guys playing are over 50," Bambling said.
"The boom of Putt-Putt for the national events was a while ago. Now, not as many start playing early like we did. It's unfortunate, but there is still a group of us around the country who still love to play."
Bambling said he will play in a couple more regional events before the Professional Putters Association National Championships Sept. 11 to 15 in Columbus, Ind.
The Golf Channel again will provide coverage of the event.
The Great Lakes Tour is one of five regional tours that make up the PPA, and tournaments are found in states from Pennsylvania, Virginia and New York to Louisiana and Texas.
The golfers in Monroeville played Saturday's four rounds under cloudy skies and in rather cool temperatures.
The course was damp to start, and the golfers had to adjust as the greens dried.
The sun came out for Sunday's event, which feature a pair of three-round tournaments.
Monroeville also welcomed golfers for a Great Lakes Tour stop in April, but Mother Nature wasn't as kind that weekend.
"We all enjoy the game. We wouldn't drive all over the place and spend the money we do if we didn't enjoy it," said Ken Hastings, a Greentree resident and the 2011 PPA Seniors National Champion.
The Great Lakes Tour championship event is Labor Day weekend in Warrren, Ohio, and Monroeville will host the 2013 Great Lakes Tour finals.
Jim Engel, a Cranberry Township resident, won the four-round pro tournament Saturday with a total of 41 under.
Hull captured Saturday's amateur event with a four-round score of 29 under.
On Sunday, Hastings won both three-round pro tournament. He shot 30 under both times.
Hull (23 under) and Braddock resident John Tuite (22 under) claimed Sunday's amateur tournaments.
Par for the course is 36.
"It's really special to have people come from other cities and states to play at our course," North Huntingdon resident Bill Combs said. "Everyone looks forward to coming to Monroeville, as we do going to their cities."
To find out more about the Great Lakes Tour and the Pro Putters Association, visit www.proputters.com.
For more information on the Monroeville Par 2 Golf Courses Golf League, visit www.par2golf.com, or call 412-373-0063.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Founder of Z&M Cycle Sales in Hempfield killed in Florida motorcycle crash
- Starkey: Tomlin lived in his fears
- Steelers receiver Wheaton takes advantage of opportunity in breakout game
- Penguins’ reshuffled top line of Crosby, Dupuis, Kunitz looks familiar
- Increasing player salaries pinch financial flexibility of Pirates
- New Florence man charged with killing police officer
- NFL notebook: Report: No tears in Gronkowski’s knee
- Steelers notebook: Bryant confident in backup Jones if Big Ben can’t play
- West Virginia notebook: Mountaineers could factor into Kansas State bowl situation
- Opening day of deer season draws better crowds than a year ago
- School bus heavily damaged in Homewood fire