By Lynn Saternow
Herald Sports Editor
THEY SAY THAT “The best things in life are free.” Well, one of those “best things” is the annual Herald-Tam O’Shanter Junior Golf Championships every summer.
The event, which has been free to boys and girls in the Shenango Valley since it’s inception in 1949, will be held Thursday and Friday at Tam O’Shanter Golf Course in Hermitage.
It has been the premier youth tournament for decades and some of the top players ever to come out of this area have participated. But you don’t have to be a great young golfer to take part. It’s a wonderful opportunity for every youngster to get a free round of golf on a great course, which is in immaculate shape this season.
The Kerins family — which has been graciously donating the course for the event every year — and Herald publisher Sharon Sorg would like to encourage any valley boy or girl to come out and play.
The lone restrictions are that you can’t turn 18 years of age before Sept. 1 and you are a resident of the Shenango Valley.
Parents and students need to register at the course before the deadline at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Billy Colbert of Hermitage has won the last two seasons and will be shooting to become a rare 3-timer later this week in the two-day tournament. In fact, he has a chance to become a 4-time champion, something only one other player has done in the long history of the tourney.
Michael Klaric III won titles in 2002, ’03. ’06 and ’07. The Kennedy Catholic High golf star went on to a standout career at Cleveland State University.
Two players won three titles — Dave Chuba (1981, ’83, ’84) and Bob Thomas (1961-63).
Grabbing a pair of crowns were: Dante Vetica (1009-10), Mike Kasula (1998-99), Pete Sirianni Jr. (1996-97), Lew Rosa (1992-93), Brent Blaus (1987-88), Denny Dolci (1976, ’78), John Zebroski (1972-73), Andy Klutcher (1967, ’69) and Pat Rielly (1951-52).
The tournament was the brainchild of Tam O’Shanter owner Jack Kerins and Herald Sports Editor Johnny Pepe and the first winner in 1949 was Bob Wise. Many of The Herald-Tamie junior winners went on to great amateur careers and several became professionals and have served as club pros at various courses. Pat Rielly, one of the early winners, went on to become president of the PGA of America, one of the loftiest positions in golf in the United States.
Girls have become an intricate part of the tourney over the last several years. And while none have won the title yet, it will happen one day. The girls programs are getting better in this area and some of the girls who participated in The Herald-Tamie tourney have gone on to college golf careers.
Remember, “The best things in life are free.” So every young boy and girl golfer should take advantage of this opportunity this week to play in the prestigious tournament. Make sure to register at Tamie before 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Lynn Saternow is sports editor of The Herald. He can be reached at email@example.com.