Kittanning Country Club gears up for Classic
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Bragging-rights season at Kittanning Country Club begins this weekend, as members will pair with guests to compete in the first of the club's three major golf tournaments.
Twenty-four member-guest tandems will participate in the Kittanning Country Club Classic, which opens with practice rounds Thursday. Competition starts Friday and continues Saturday with round-robin action. The five-team, playoff-style final is Saturday evening.
"What's kind of cool about it is, for a little amateur tournament, we end up with two teams playing on the final hole and a nice-sized gallery," Kittanning Country Club general manager Greg McKelvey said. "For the average, Joe Blow golfer, it's a pretty big deal to play out there in front of a crowd like that."
There will be four flights with six teams in each for the round-robin phase -- flight groupings are based on team handicaps. Teams play three nine-hole matches with best-ball shot formats on Friday and play two more on Saturday. Winners of the four flights advance, along with the wild-card team with the most match points.
In the finals, partners alternate between shots instead of following a best-ball format. One team is eliminated after each hole until the champion emerges.
Predicting a championship favorite is a difficult task, McKelvey said, because team handicaps serve as equalizers. And because of the handicap factor, members have some flexibility in whom to choose for partners.
"The vast majority are longtime friends or family," McKelvey said.
Last year, Kirk Lorigan won the Classic with his father-in-law, Chuck Shoop. Lorigan entered the tournament with a 15 handicap. Shoop had a 19 handicap.
"We were not the best golfers out there by any means," said Lorigan, who also reached the finals with Shoop in 2009. "We kind of ham-and-egged it last year. When he didn't play well, I did. And when I didn't play well, he did."
Lorigan, who participated in the tournament the past five years, praised the Classic for its competitive yet congenial atmosphere. This year, Lorigan, West Shamokin High School's principal, will partner with the high school's athletic director, Tom McClaine, who has a 6 handicap.
"(Kittanning Country Club) has beautiful, fast greens," said McClaine, who has played the course just a few times. "Compared with other courses I've played in Western Pennsylvania, they're among the fastest."
A win again this year would give Lorigan bragging rights that extend beyond Kittanning Country Club. Lorigan's former partner, Shoop, will team up with Lorigan's brother-in-law, Rick Ford. Another of Lorigan's family members, Pete Shoop, also is in the tournament. The three teams are in different flights.
"It'd be pretty far-fetched for all three of us to make it to the finals," Lorigan said. "But if we did, that'd really be quite a thing."
Kittanning Country Club's other two major tournaments are scheduled for August. The club championship is Aug. 7, McKelvey said, and the member-member team tournament is Aug. 20-21.
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.