Junior circuit planned for July

Park Hills head pro Rich Conwell is spearheading a new junior golf program for area youth this summer – the Altoona Junior Golf Tour – along with the help of other local club pros.

The Tour will include events at four area clubs – July 11 at Park Hills, July 17 at Summit Country Club, July 24 at Sinking Valley and July 31 at Iron Masters.

Each event will include competition for two age groups – ages 10 to13 and 14 to 16 – for both boys and girls.

To enter, just call the respective course prior to each event in order to set up a tee time (tee times begin at 9 a.m.). Each event will feature individual competition and prizes, with all participants receiving an MTO coupon from Sheetz.

I know that one of the reasons I play golf today is the fact that I was fortunate to participate in a junior golf program when I was young.

More than 30 years ago, local pharmacist and standout golfer Tom Treese put a tremendous effort into organizing a tournament series for your golfers in our area. I was one of many young golfers who definitely benefited from his efforts. Treese is currently enjoying his retirement in the Williamsburg, Va. area.

Conwell is looking for a good response to this year’s upcoming youth program.

PineHurst No. 2 – Ladies Turn

For the first time ever, the Women’s U.S. Open will be held on the exact same site as the men have played – just one week later.

After a spectacular performance last week by Germany’s Martin Kaymer, the ladies are currently competing for their own top prize at the historic Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina.

There are definitely logistical concerns in having two major tournaments at the same site in consecutive weeks – plus, legitimate concerns that the course might be too ‘beat up’ for the women after a long week of tournament play by the men.

Any of these concerns should be overshadowed, in my opinion, by the strong interest and publicity this event seems to be getting. There has been a lot of ‘buzz’ waiting to see how the women will play this difficult Donald Ross-designed course – which yielded only three sub-par scores to the men.

My pick for this week America’s Stacy Lewis.

Erik Compton

Though he finished second, eight shots behind eventual winner Martin Kaymer, Erik Compton’s accomplishment at last week’s U.S. Open was still amazing and inspiring.

Compton has received his share of headlines in the past several years as a successful athlete, despite two heart transplants – the first at age 12 and a second at 28.

The 34-year old Florida native is currently enjoying his best year on the PGA tour. Last week’s runner-up finish was Compton’s best in any tour event – earning him an invitation to next year’s Masters.

Life is especially good for Compton at the moment. He and wife Barbara welcomed a baby daughter within the last year, and – after family and golf – one of Compton’s biggest satisfactions in life is visiting and sharing his story with other transplant recipients.

It was fun rooting for one of golf’s ‘good guys’ last week.

Woods watch

There are reports that Tiger Woods has stepped-up his recovery routine by practicing his full swing recently – even using his driver.

I would be surprised if Woods doesn’t make a return to play by next month’s British Open at Royal Liverpool – where he won his third title in 2006.