Off The Tee: Belmont Hills crowns Mehlman Independence Day winners

The Fourth of July means America’s independence and fireworks.

At the Belmont Hills Country Club, it also means the annual Fred and Mary Jo Mehlman Independence Day Tournament.

A large field of 13 teams took part in the event, which used a 2 net, best ball of 4 scoring system.

The first-place prize went to the team of Rick Frio, Chuck Poindexter, Steve Mercer and Joyce Hathaway with a score of 114.

A tie for second place was between the team of Clay Bethel, T.G. Tsoras, Ernie Wilson and Michele Abel along with the team of Clay Wood, Sonny Jacobs, John Estadt and Nick Karras.

The Red Ball winner, which was a 1 net, best ball of 4 was the team of Frio, Poindexter, Mercer and Hathaway.

There were also closest to the pin prizes awarded. Those went to John Jeffries, Doug Brannon and Bethel, respectively.


The annual Niekro Scramble, which was slated for last month at Belmont Hills Country Club and postponed because of weather, has been rescheduled for Saturday, Sept. 16.


Prep golf season continues to rapidly approach and area players continue to hone their games by playing on area junior tours.

The First National Bank Junior Golf Tour held an event at Hickory Flats in West Lafayette late last month.

Barnesville’s Davey Wells was the top area finished with a round of 80. He was a shot better than St. Clairsville’s Jacob Jeffries. St. C.’s Brendan Vucelich finished with an 82.

Buckeye Local’s Emily Holzopfel and Michaela Green both took part in the girls’ 16-18 year old division.

Martins Ferry’s Luke Krol signed for an 83 to finish third in the 13-15 year old division. Harrison Central’s Cameron McIntosh posted a 91.

Barnesville’s Carter Wells and St. Clairsville’s Will Foster took part, too.


The Bob and Patty Hoffman Memorial event was held on July 2. Bob Green captured the 18-hole event with a score of 70. Nick Klamut, who also posted a 70, finished second. Art Lightner, Rich Colley and Tom Mitchell rounded out the top five. All finished with rounds of 73.

In the handicap scoring portion of the event, Gary Mercer prevailed with a round of 65. George Melnik finished two shots back. Paul Alig Jr. was third at 67, while Joe Kosar was fourth with a 67. There was a three-way tie for fifth between Jerry Daugherty, Joe Wurtzbacher and Dave Stauver at 68.



The annual Larry Loew Hilltopper Golf Scramble, which benefits the Hilltopper Athletic Club at West Liberty, was held late last month at the Arnold Palmer Course at Oglebay Park.

Loew died five years ago at the age of 59 after a serious illness. A 1975 graduate of West Liberty, Loew founded the Cornerstone Group and was inducted to the WLU Alumni Wall of Honor in 2011.

A field of 30 teams took part in the event, which was sponsored by Northwood Health Systems, Oglebay Park, Progressive Bank and TJ’s Sports Garden Restaurant.


CORY PALMER of Houston, Pa. recorded an ace on the 165-yard fourth hole at BecWood Hills. Palmer used a 7-iron on the par three. His shot was witnessed by Mike Espen, Aaron Doty and Lance Vicker. The shot was during the Vicker Invitational.



The 146th Open Championship tees off Thursday morning at Royal Birkdale Golf Club. Links golf is something that we in the states don’t always identify well with. Often times, you watch the Open and it’s tough to even tell where the greens are because everything just blends together. The middle of July and seeing the players with sweaters and long sleeves on is also something that doesn’t resonate with us. Regardless, the golf is entertaining, especially when you wake up at 6 a.m. and the tournament is on television already.

As for the tournament itself, Henrik Stenson is the defending champion, but I don’t expect a repeat. I think the trend of first-time, major winners will continue. I think Tommy Fleetwood will hoist the Claret Jug one week from today.



The seventh annual Vance Deihl Memorial Scholarship Scramble is slated for Saturday, July 22 at Cadiz Country Club. The entry fee is $60 per player with checks made payable to Vance Deihl Memorial Scholarship Fund. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and the tournament begins at 8 a.m. The entry fee includes beverages, lunch at the turn and dinner after the round. Deihl was a teacher, coach and trainer at Martins Ferry H.S. for 30 years. For more information, contact Susann Deihl at 740-635-2069.


The event will be held on Thursday, Aug. 17 at Cadiz Country Club, beginning with a noon shotgun start. The entry fee is $100 per player and that includes golf, cart, lunch, dinner and beverages. The field is limited to 36 teams. To enter, please call 740-942-6206.