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Sending plenty of love on down to Huntingdon

By Ken Love

For the Mirror

Huntingdon Country Club hosted the area’s first two-ball Invitational last weekend with the team of Matt Young (Huntingdon) and Kyle Kyper (McKees Rocks) taking home the championship trophy by defeating the father-son duo of Lantz and Luke Thompson in the final match.

Every time I visit Huntingdon Country Club, I’m amazed at the number of high-quality golfers who call this course home. Despite the modest population of Huntingdon and surrounding areas, the club boasts an unusually high number of single-digit handicappers.

There is also an undeniable competitive camaraderie that lingers in the air at Huntingdon.

From their Wednesday club matches, to the “Battle for the Belt” and “Route 22 Cup” matches, Huntingdon members seem to find new opportunities for friendly competition all the time.

No doubt, some of this legacy can be traced back to three longtime members who were teammates on the same Huntingdon golf team during the late 1960s.

Ed Strickler, Tom Miller and Steve Huston were not only standouts on their championship high school team, they each went on to captain separate Division I college golf squads before returning home to Huntingdon.

As a final tournament recap, I want to mention just how well run last week’s tournament was.

Kudos to Huntingdon’s general manager John Cook, who has been in charge of running this event in recent years. Cook comes across as very knowledgeable and extremely thorough. He’s someone who seems to get every detail right.

Congratulations to Huntingdon CC for hosting a great tournament.

U.S. Open preview

One of the best things about this week’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego is the fact that everyone here in the eastern United States will be able to enjoy live golf until late in the evening.

A few other things I’m looking forward to this weekend include:

n A return to narrow fairways and thicker rough. In recent years, the USGA has experimented with wider fairways (especially notable at Erin Hills) and a graduated cutting of the rough, but by all accounts conditions at Torrey Pines harken back to a time when driving your ball in the fairway really meant something.

n A return of fans. Over recent weeks, there has been a steady increase in the amount of on-site fans at PGA Tour events, and this week’s U.S. Open should see that trend continue. It surprised me to realize just how much more exciting a tournament can be when there are thousands of fans close in attendance, cheering on their favorite golfers.

Another one for Phil?

Last month’s storybook finish at the PGA Championship was almost too good to be true.

Phil Mickelson’s victory was a win for the ages, but if he were able to follow it up with a victory this weekend, completing golf’s grand slam at the age of 51, in his own hometown, it would be one of the greatest stories in the history of sport.

Weekend schedule

Weekend Golf Area golfers will descend on Everett’s Down River course Saturday and Sunday for the club’s annual best-ball event.

Defending champs Anthony DeGol and Artie Fink Jr. took home the title in this event last year.

If you’re not planning to play golf this weekend, a great place to watch some spectacular action will be at Johnstown’s Sunnehanna Country Club.

Saturday will be the final round of this year’s Sunnehanna Invitational, and the public is welcome, free of charge.

Ken Love covers local golf for the Mirror. He can be reached at gltr777@atlanticbb.net.

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