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Golf: Berteotti newest pro on Mt. Lebanon staff

Sunday, May 12, 2002

It's not every day that a nine-hole municipal course has a teaching instructor who played on the LPGA Tour.

But Mt. Lebanon Golf Course, which already boasts one of the top male instructors in Western Pennsylvania (Matt Kluck), has added Missie Berteotti to its staff to do clinics and give lessons.

Berteotti, an Upper St. Clair native who played on the LPGA Tour from 1985 to 1999, will work three days a week at Mt. Lebanon conducting juniors and ladies clinics and also doing individualized instruction.

"I'll teach, play with my students and see how it goes," said Berteotti, who is 92nd on the LPGA Tour's career money list with $1.113 million. "I look forward to doing it and I'll see if I get to like it."

Berteotti gave up playing full time three years ago after she gave birth to her son, Sam. Since then, she plays in a couple of pro-ams and charity events around the country with other LPGA Tour players. But mostly she likes to spend her time here, with her son.

Berteotti said she hasn't given up the idea of trying to rejoin the LPGA Tour and gain some type of exempt status.

"I don't know, I'm still trying to decide if I want to go play again," Berteotti said. "I keep saying, later, later. But this is like my first re-entry back in the game.

"Right now, I still enjoy being with Sam. I love it. I played last week in a pro-am at William & Mary with my friends on tour and they were all running to the airport to catch their flight to the next event and I'm just waiting around to go back to Pittsburgh and see Sam."

Trivia question

What is Fuzzy Zoeller's real first name and how did he get his nickname? Answer at end.

Drastic improvement

When it opened in the late 1980s, Montour Heights Country Club was a rough, hilly layout that was very difficult to enjoy. The course, which was designed by P.B. Dye, featured drastic elevation changes, narrow fairways and elevated greens that sloped into deep bunkers.

Some of the members were so unhappy with their new club they left and re-joined their old one. It was located across Beaver Grade Road in Coraopolis and re-named Cherrington.

But Cherrington is gone -- replaced by an office complex -- and so, too, are the troublesome early days of Montour. Over the years, the course has been tweaked and softened and the conditioning has improved drastically.

Montour hosted the Tri-State PGA Match Play Championship last week and you couldn't find a discouraging word about the layout among the field of 32 area professionals. Many of the pros said Montour was the best conditioned course they've played this year.

"It's really come a long way," said host pro John Mazza.

One to watch

Jonathan Clark, an assistant at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Hurricane, W.Va., did not win the Tri-State PGA Match Play championship, losing in the final to Ed Vietmeier.

But he certainly impressed the other players and gained a legion of admirers with his length and overall game.

Clark, 28, is the defending Tri-State PGA assistants champion, and he followed a 5-under 67 in the qualifier with match play victories against some of the top players in the section, including Oakmont's Bob Ford and aspiring PGA Tour player Kevin Shields.

Clark didn't make it past the 15th hole in three of his matches and didn't play the 18th hole until the championship match, when he lost, 1 up, to Vietmeier.

"Usually guys who hit it that far hit a couple crooked," Ford said. "But he didn't miss a shot."

How far does Clark hit the ball?

On Monday, he hit a sand wedge for his second shot at No. 18, which measures 457 yards. He hit 9-iron at the 183-yard 13th, knocked a 6-iron onto the green in two at the severely sloped 473-yard 14th and knocked his tee shot at the angled 395-yard 11th over the final fairway bunker, leaving him only a 50-yard pitch to the green.

"Everybody has their day," Ford said. "But you watch this kid play and you say, He's got to be on [PGA] tour."

Road to Open begins

The first step on the road to the U.S. Open -- scheduled for June 13-16 at Bethpage, N.Y. -- begins tomorrow with an 18-hole local qualifier at Scotch Valley Country Club in Hollidaysburg, Pa.

There are 50 players -- 31 pros, 18 amateurs and one amateur reinstatement -- competing for three spots. Among the pros: Sean Farren of Totteridge, Joe Boros of Treesdale and former Buy.com Tour player Jason Tyska.

The other local qualifier is Thursday at Quicksilver Golf Club in Midway, where 78 players -- 46 pros, 32 amateurs -- will compete for five spots. Among those at Quicksilver: Mazza, Ford, Shields and former Senior PGA Tour player Roy Vucinich. Four-time West Penn amateur champ Sean Knapp heads the amateurs.

Players advancing move on to the sectional qualifier, the final step before the Open championship. Most area players will compete in the 36-hole sectional qualifier June 4 at Westmoreland Country Club.

Turf Tip

Each week a member of the Greater Pittsburgh Golf Course Superintendents Association provides insight into turf management. John Shaw, superintendent at Rolling Hills Country Club, talks about why courses aerate their greens:

"Aerification is always viewed as a negative practice because it disrupts play and affects playing conditions. In reality, aerification is the single most important job we perform each year.

"Aerification is a mechanical process that creates more air space in the soil, removes thatch, and promotes deeper rooting. That helps the grass plants stay healthier. We aerify to make the game of golf more enjoyable throughout the season."

Quotable

Frank Lickliter on making changes to his swing, a process that began last year during the Tour Championship: "Potentially, I might be ready sometime this year. At the latest, probably the end of my career. It depends on how fast I pick it up."

Dissa and data

The Tri-State PGA Clubs for Kids Day, sponsored by Dick's Sporting Goods, is Saturday at six area locations: Tam O'Shanter Golf Course, Scally's Golf Center, Cool Springs Golf Center, Stoney Creek Golf Center, Ironwood Golf Center and the Island Sports Center. The day is free of charge to juniors, 18 and under, and includes instruction from Tri-State PGA pros. Registration is on-site only and begins at 3:30 p.m.

The Ocean Course at Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head Island, S.C., has retained its designation as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, which is endorsed by the United States Golf Association. The Ocean Course at Sea Pines Resort is one of nine courses in South Carolina and 377 around the world to receive the honor.

The 4th annual West Hills Rotary Charity Classic is Sept.23 at Seven Oaks Country Club. To enter call, 724-947-1234.

Trivia answer

Zoeller's real first name is Frank and his middle name is Urban. His initials are F.U.Z.

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