Summer festivities extended to the golf course|Annual tournament was held at country club

Published 2:19 am Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Staff Writer

While children and families were riding carnival rides, indulging in cotton candy and candy apples and dancing to the sounds of the 360 Degree Band at the Washington Summer Festival, a group of over 100 golfers were braving the heat at the Washington Yacht &Country Club's annual Summer Festival golf tournament.
The tournament, started over 30 years ago in conjunction with the Festival, is an individual stroke-play tournament with flight (group) level based on handicap.
Even when the Washington Summer Festival was moved to mid-July, the tournament continued to be held the second full weekend of June. When the Festival was moved back to the second weekend of June several years ago, the tournament was helped greatly.
"It's been really, really good for us," said Jeremy Shadle, the country club's head golf professional and tournament organizer.
Holding the tournament in conjunction with the Festival makes sense for several reasons. Most importantly, it gives the golfers' families something to do while the players are out pitching wedges and making 10-foot putts.
"It makes the trip a whole lot easier on your wife and children," Shadle said.
Turnout for the tournament peaked last year with 158 participants, while this year's attendance of 132 players dipped only slightly considering the slumping economy, according to Shadle.
"The economy probably played a role in some of the downturn, but I think the players still realize the golf tournament is a bargain for what we can get," he said.
What players got was three full days of golf, perks and catered parties for less than $200.
The tournament kicked off Friday with a practice round, followed by a dinner buffet party. Saturday morning, the tournament was in full swing, as the first group of golfers teed off. By the end of the tournament on Sunday evening, the players and their families had gotten their fill of golf and festivities, according to Shadle.
B.J. Marsh came out the overall winner in the tournament, taking the Championship Flight with a total score of 149. Scott Crocker, of Kinston, finished second after beating Tim Shadle, of Ayden, in a playoff hole. Both finished the tournament with scores of 150.
Chris Martin, of Bath finished first in First Flight with a score of 157, while fellow Bath native Willis Kirk took second with a 159. Belhaven Mayor Adam O'Neal rounded out the top three with a 160.
Eric Slade, of Bath, took the Second Flight with a score of 152, while Kevin Cutler, of Bath, finished second with a 153 and Mike Hicks, of Washington, grabbed third with a 155.
Rounding out the winners from the rest of the flights were: Charles "Duck" Stuckey, 161, Third Flight; Ned Hill, 167, Fourth Flight; Frank Johnston, 162, Fifth Flight; David Wagner, 167, Sixth Flight; Mort Congleton, 175, Seventh Flight; James Gautreau, 171, Eighth Flight; Rodney Moore, 171, Ninth Flight.
Each flight had a pay out of $450, with $200 going to the first-place finisher. The winners from each flight also received a crystal picture frame trophy, according to Shadle.
Shadle said he expects to see a lot of the same players at the tournament next year, many of which come from out of state.
"I had people from Mississippi, Louisiana, New York, Florida," he said. "Guys make an annual pilgrimage here for the Summer Festival golf tournament."