Local golf notebook: Fuhrer Invitational kicks off big week

| Saturday, June 22, 2013, 11:09 p.m.

Fox Chapel becomes the center of Western Pennsylvania golf this week and not just because the Constellation Senior Players Championship is returning to Fox Chapel Golf Club for the second consecutive year.

The area's top professionals and amateurs will play in the Frank B. Fuhrer Jr. Invitational for three days starting Monday at the Field Club. It is a 72-hole event, and Fuhrer again is sparing no expense in enticing players to tee it up in one of the area's more prestigious tournaments.

The purse is $175,000 with the winner pocketing $35,000. Players earn their money; Thirty-six holes are played Monday and 18-hole rounds follow on Tuesday and Wednesday.

David Bradshaw won the event last year with an even-par-280, and he finished first in the West Virginia Open last Friday for the seventh time. Bradshaw is second in career West Virginia Open wins to golf legend Sam Snead.

That caliber of player is what makes the tournament a premier one, and there will be a number of local golfers to watch.

Mike Van Sickle, a former first-team All-American at Marquette, finished second to Bradshaw last year, and the Pine resident will be one of the favorites at the Fuhrer Invitational.

Van Sickle distanced himself from a strong field to win the West Penn Open last week at Mystic Rock by six shots.

Eyes on the prize(s)

Her golf friends tell her to just concentrate on playing in the U.S. Women's Open.

Her non-golf friends tell her to just concentrate on her upcoming wedding.

Rachel Rohanna had both on her mind Saturday afternoon as the Waynesburg resident was making final preparations for the U.S. Women's Open, which starts Thursday in Southampton, N.Y.

Rohanna will play in the Open for the second time after making it through a sectional qualifier last month at Butler Country Club. She was scheduled to fly out of Pittsburgh at 6 a.m. Sunday, and the early start to her week should at least prepare her for a 7:07 a.m. tee time in the first round.

Rohanna, who plays on the Symetra Tour, has been working on all aspects of her game and said she feels sharp heading into the championship at Seabonack Golf Club. She also thinks she is similarly prepared for her wedding, which is six days after the final round of the Open.

Rohanna said she is trying not to put too much pressure on herself on either front.

“These are probably the two biggest weeks of my life, and I want to enjoy everything,” she said.

In the works

The Pittsburgh area has a rich golf history, and the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association will soon honor those who are responsible for that.

A committee has been meeting about starting a Hall of Fame, and West Penn executive director Jeff Rivard said the biggest question is how to induct worthy candidates.

“I really think we have 35 or 40 people that certainly should be in, so it's just a question of how best to package it,” Rivard said.

Rivard said the inaugural class will likely be small and comprised of the biggest names in Western Pennsylvania golf history. He said the Hall of Fame won't be limited to players but others who have also made exceptional contributions to the game.

“We do have some pretty great names,” Rivard said.

Scott Brown is a staff writer forTrib Total Media. Reach him at sbrown@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ScottBrown_Trib.

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