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Golf Notebook: Schlachter mark noted by Jack

Sunday, April 28, 2002

By Gerry Dulac, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

Paul Schlachter already had owned one course record, a mark he didn't think he could better.

Back when he was a member at Youghiogheny Country Club in the early 1990s, Schlachter shot a 12-under 60 that still stands as the course record. The round included 10 birdies and two eagles.

"And I had a 62 at Wicked Stick in Myrtle Beach during a senior mini-tour event," said Schlachter, an Upper St. Clair High School teacher and a Nevillewood member.

But Schlachter, a former Pennsylvania Amateur champion, went one better last year. In the fall, playing in the senior club championship at Nevillewood, Schlachter shot 13-under 59 -- the lowest score posted at the par-72 Jack Nicklaus-designed layout.

Schlachter was playing from the white tees, which measures 6,332 yards, so the score isn't generally recognized as the course record. Schlachter's round included birdies on the first three holes and then nine consecutive birdies, starting at No. 7.

"When I was walking to the 14th tee, I started to get nervous because I knew I had a shot at 60 or 59," Schlachter said.

Schlachter birdied the par-4 14th from 6 feet and then two-putted from the fringe at the par-5 15th for his ninth birdie in a row. At the par-3 17th, he hit a 5-iron to 2 feet to get to 13 under with one hole to go.

But, because he was playing from the white tees, Schlachter tried to hit an 3-iron off the tee at the 350-yard 18th to play short of the water hazard. He hit the shot fat, leaving himself 232 yards to the pin.

No problem. Schlachter hit a 5-wood on his approach to 8 feet and two-putted for par, though he didn't exactly cozy the ball to the hole.

"I decided to charge it," Schlachter said. "I knocked it 3 feet past [the hole]. I was nervous as heck, but I held it together."

The Nevillewood course record is generally considered to be a 65 by Phil Mickelson in one of the Family House Invitational events. That number was posted from the gold tees (7,189 yards). The score was later matched by Schlachter and former Penguins player Dan Quinn, though not in competition.

Kevin Shields, a Tri-State PGA apprentice professional, has the course record from the blue markers (6,767 yards) -- 62.

Nonetheless, to note his accomplishment, the club presented Schlachter with a framed Nevillewood flag that also included a personal note from Nicklaus.

"He said something like, I heard about your accomplishment, guess I'll see you soon on the Senior Tour," Schlachter said. "It was pretty neat."

Trivia question

Carol Semple Thompson of Sewickley has appeared in 31 U.S. Women's Open championships. Only one player has appeared in more. Who? Answer at end.

Play with Tiger

An unidentified person paid $425,000 last week on eBay to play golf with Tiger Woods at his home course, Isleworth, near Orlando, Fla. Last year, a financier paid $2.1 million at an Irish auction for the same privilege. Just the other day, Charles Barkley paid $200,000 at a live auction to play a round with his good friend.

How about getting to play for free with Tiger?

Trading-card company Upper Deck is giving four fans a chance to play with Woods in a sweepstakes that began this month and will run through September.

Upper Deck randomly has inserted two "instant win" tickets in 2002 Upper Deck Golf trading-card packets that feature a round with the world's No. 1 player. Two other winners will be picked from sweepstakes entry cards and online entries at http://www.upperdeck.com/.

Huston ties for ... second

John Huston is quietly having a solid season on the PGA Tour, making the cut in all 10 events he has played. He is 27th on the money list with $645,701.

The start has allowed Huston to extend to 16 the number of consecutive cuts he has made, tying Nick Price for second among PGA Tour players.

Guess who's No. 1?

Woods, who has made 86 cuts in a row.

Golf vacations discounts

If you're planning a summer vacation to Myrtle Beach, S.C., consider this:

Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday member courses are promoting several special rates and sponsoring a series of Summer Family Golf tournaments, beginning in June. Among the participating courses: Ocean Ridge, Myrtlewood and Barefoot Resort and Golf.

Most courses are offering a discounted rate for golfers playing after noon and some discount even further after 3 p.m., with juniors playing free of charge when accompanied by an adult.

The 5th Annual Summer Family Golf tournaments begin June 3 and run through Aug. 23, with more than 50 area courses participating. The events are held every weekday in the summer with three divisions -- open, couples, adult/youth. No handicap is needed and there is no minimum age limit.

For more information, go to http://www.golfholiday.com/ or http://www.summerfamilygolf.com/ or call, 1-800-833-8798.

Turf tip

Golfers are not only in need of playing instruction, they also need tips about course conditions and turf management.

Beginning today, we will offer tips each week from different members of the Greater Pittsburgh Golf Course Superintendents Association. The idea is to further educate golfers on how to maintain the way a course looks.

Paul Dunn, superintendent at Southpointe Golf Club, explains why courses have frost delays in the morning:

"The method to our madness is that when a frost occurs, the cell walls of the grass leaf tissue become temporarily frozen. If you step on a frosted area of turf grass, the cell walls of the leaf tissue would be crushed. This, in turn, would cause a "blackened" footprint the very next day. And those marks take time to recover.

"Damage would be more prevalent on shorter-cut turf, such as greens, tees, and fairways. During these situations, cooperation with your superintendent and pro shop staff will help keep a well-conditioned golf course."

Quotable

Hall of Fame inductee Tommy Bolt, remembering his victory in the 1958 U.S. Open at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.: "I felt I could play as well as anybody in the world. I birdied the first hole and I looked back at the clubhouse and said, 'I wonder who's going to finish second?'"

Dissa and data

Hidden Valley Resort in Champion has introduced the GPS Golf System, a global positioning system attached to each cart that provides accurate pin measurements to within 2 yards. The system is programmed to show the layout of each hole with pertinent information and statistics for that hole. Hidden Valley opened for play two weeks ago.

Clarion freshman Matt Guyton of Du Bois, Pa., was named player of the year and Coach Al Lefevre was named coach of the year in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

The Precept Laddie, a spinoff of the immensely popular Precept Lady, had a 1 percent share of the golf ball market in its first month on the shelves, more than any other new ball, according to Golf Datatech, LLC. The Precept Laddie is marketed as the softest two-piece ball on the market, featuring lots of distance without sacrificing soft feel around the green. The price is right, too: Between $19.99 and $24.99.

Someone say Masters TV ratings were down this year? Down from the tournament last year, which was the second-most watched Masters all time. But this year's event was still the third highest in Masters history. The most watched was in 1997. Notice a pattern here? All three were won by Woods.

When Dana Quigley started in the Tradition Thursday, it marked his 177th consecutive start on the Senior PGA Tour. That tied the record held by Mike McCullough. By the way, McCullough wears sandals with fitted soft spikes when he plays. No wonder.

Think the guys on the PGA Tour hit it a long way? Last week's average driving distance for the field at the Buy.com Tour's Arkansas Classic was 301.2 yards.

The purse for the U.S. Women's Open has been increased to $3 million, with $535,000 to the winner, easily making it the largest payout in LPGA Tour history.

The Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando, Fla., recently voted among America's best golf resorts by Golf Magazine, is offering a Grand Golf package for people who don't just want to go to Disney World. The package, which begins May 13 and runs to Sept. 30, is $195 per person, based on double occupancy, and includes garden-room accommodations, unlimited golf, cart and club storage/cleaning on any of the resort's 45 holes. Call, 1-800-233-1234.

Spalding Sports has introduced the latest in straight-flying balls -- Strata Tour Straight -- a multilayered ball designed to reduce sidespin that causes hooks and slices. The result, according to the company: Straighter, more accurate shots. No word yet on correcting a person's swing.

Trivia answer

Marlene Hagge appeared in a record 33 U.S. Women's Open championships. Thompson is tied with Hollis Stacy and Kathy Whitworth.

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