Golfers scramble to sectional


— Twelve amateur golfers and three professionals from area golf courses will represent the Yampa Valley at the Buick Scramble Sectional golf tournament Aug. 20 at Riverdale Dunes Golf Course in Thornton.

The tournament winner in Thornton will receive an invitation to play in the Buick Scramble national tournament at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

Haymaker staged the final local qualifier for the Buick Scramble sectional tournament Saturday. Scott Quick, Rick Marchewka, John Waddick and Mark Witcher shot a 62 gross score and a net score of 54, using their tournament combined handicap of 8, to win the event in a scorecard playoff.

Frank Adams, Dan Huber, Jim Fagan and Ray Jackson shot a 65 gross and 58 net at the Sheraton on July 16 to win its open qualifying tournament.

Cody DeGuelle, Richard Padon, Bud Bower and Greg Neal shot a gross of 60 with a net of 57 to win the Yampa Valley Golf Course's open qualifier July 20.

Staged by Oldsmobile for 18 years, the scramble was picked up by Buick two years ago, and has grown into one of the most popular local events in the nation.

There are 2,000 Buick Scramble qualifiers held across the country. In the local qualifiers, groups of four amateurs team up in a best-ball format tournament. Depending on the size of the qualifier, the first through the third-place team can advance to the sectional tournament. Sectional champions advance to nationals.

At the sectional tournament, each amateur team adds a professional from the golf course that hosted the local qualifier.

Tim Fuhrer will join the foursome from Haymaker, Gary Crawford will join the qualifying foursome from the Sheraton tournament, and Chuck Cobb will team up with the foursome from the Yampa Valley Golf Course for the sectional championship in Thornton next week.

The winner of the sectional tournament advances to Orlando, where a touring pro will be added to the group of five, rounding out the team of six.

Based on the number of teams that played the Steamboat regional qualifiers, local golf courses were allowed to send one team each.

"Our long-term goal is for the three golf courses to generate more teams to create more opportunities to go to Florida," Haymaker pro Hank Franks said. "That's ultimately why everyone plays in these tournaments."

Most participants enter the regional qualifiers expecting to win, but Franks said that likely wasn't the case with the winners of the Haymaker tournament Saturday.

Unlike other teams, representing states such as Arizona, Wisconsin and Florida, that hold open auditions in an effort to form the best teams possible, the team of Quick, Marchewka, Waddick and Witcher was a late entry.

"It was exciting for everyone here," Franks said. "They were a popular winner."

Quick and Marchewka serve on Haymaker's maintenance crew. Waddick and Witcher are season pass holders at Haymaker.

Fuhrer, a pro at Haymaker, couldn't be more excited about teaming up with the winning foursome from his course next week in Thornton.

"This is my second year playing the event," Fuhrer said of the sectional tournament at Riverdale Dunes. "It's a great golf course and a really well-run event."

The key is to not only play well, but to shoot low -- as it is a best-ball format with a group of five.

Another enjoyable part of the Buick Scramble is the opportunity to win a Buick Rendezvous for shooting a hole-in-one. There were some close calls at Haymaker on Saturday, but no aces.


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