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Summit has solid reputation in local golf community

By Ken Love

For the Mirror

Despite being the youngest of the five Altoona-area best-ball tournaments, this weekend’s Summit Invitational has certainly cemented its reputation as one of the best golf tournaments in the region.

During the 1980s, Summit Country Club hosted a few two-man best-ball events, but it wasn’t until the arrival of head pro Randy Repko in 1994 that the tournament became a local fixture.

As an ambitious young pro at the time, Repko wanted his club to host its own significant best-ball event, just as the other local clubs had done for decades.

“I was fortunate to get a lot of help from our golf committee and other members,” Repko said. “They were very instrumental in helping to get our tournament off the ground.”

In order to get off to a fast start, Repko set the initial tournament as a competition in two divisions, net and gross.

With a nice turnout that first year, the Scotch Valley team of Mark Kleiner and Rich Morrison outlasted the field and took home the tournament’s first championship trophy.

As the event grew in size through the 1990s, Repko eventually switched the format to separate flights, typically six, that were pre-determined by handicap.

Another significant change that occurred over time was moving the date of the tournament. Originally scheduled for mid-June, the tournament eventually switched to its current late-July or early-August time slot.

“In the beginning, I believe we were scheduled during the same week as Down River’s tournament,” Repko said. “But after moving to our new date, we line up with the other local events very well.”

Through its 28-year history, the Summit tournament has attracted some of the best golfers in central Pennsylvania.

One of the teams that dominated the event’s early years was the duo of John Zack and Frank Frontino.

“John and Frank are such great athletes,” Repko said. “They were a favorite here for many years, and they both continue to come out to play.”

Zack and Frontino’s early dominance resulted in seven championship trophies during the first 12 years of the Summit Invitational.

Later on golfers like John Handrigan, Jimmy Gillam, Artie Fink Jr, Chris Perry and Mike Macionsky would win multiple titles.

As play is set to start this weekend, in this year’s 28th annual Summit Invitational, the strong team of Artie Fink Jr. and Anthony DeGol will be the team to beat as they are back to defend their title from last year.

In fact, the team is looking to extend their current winning streak to five consecutive championships.

With a strong field ready to compete, Repko is excited to showcase the Summit links this weekend.

“Our course is in the best shape I’ve seen it in years. First-year superintendent Eric McCartney has done a fantastic job,” Repko said. “We’re looking forward to everyone having a great experience this weekend.”

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