Pro teams, senior golfers join efforts for charity
Bruce Vaughan hits off the first tee to begin a practice round Tuesday in anticipation of the first round Thursday of the Constellation Senior Players Championship at Fox Chapel Golf Club.
Share with others:
Even on the golf course, the local professional sports teams steal the show.
All three major professional teams were represented in a three-team, three-man competition for charity Tuesday at Fox Chapel Golf Club. On the Penguins team was professional golfer Jay Haas and former Penguins player Phil Borque. The Pirates had former pitcher Kent Tekulve and pro Tom Lehman, while the Steelers had former safety Mike Wagner and pro John Cook. Local media personalities rounded out the teams.
The goal was for each team to hit their shots as close to the hole as possible. The Penguins, choosing to putt, won the first round. The Steelers chose a shot on the first patch of rough on the right side, and they won that round.
The final round had the Pirates heading right near a bunker -- "We're going to where I'm used to playing," Tekulve said.
There, the Steelers won again and rallied to win the challenge.
"I'm always competitive," Wagner, who had three great shots, said, "whether it's business or little games like this."
Wagner said he plays a couple of days a week in the summer.
"This is about the time when my short game gets good, honestly."
It was on display Tuesday, and Wagner added that it could not have been a better day for golf.
"Well, let's see -- 75 degrees, partly cloudy, out at a country club. Tough way to spend an afternoon, isn't it?"
Chuck "The Hit Man" Hiter entertained in a half trick shot, half comedy routine. Despite weighty winds, Hiter was able to perform many difficult shots all well telling jokes.
E Portis, 12, of Monroeville, participated in the spectacle by balancing a golf ball as Hiter struck it while riding a unicycle.
"I thought it was pretty cool. He did mostly impossible stuff," Portis said.
And when Hiter rode the unicycle to hit the ball?
"I was nervous," he said, but then added that he trusted in Hiter.
Many players in the Constellation Senior Players Championship got a feel for the course Tuesday. Jay Haas was one of them, and he praised Fox Chapel after the professional team challenge.
"The greens are immaculate," he said. "What a gem this is."
The winds Tuesday likely would have affected scores, Haas said. He added that even without the wind, he was not sure what type of score it would take to win the title.
"I'm not a good prognosticator," he said. "I doubt anyone gets more than 10 under. If they do, more power to them."
Jason Hurwitz, course superintendent at Fox Chapel, said the stretch of hot, dry weather has been perfect for his preparation of the course.
It has allowed Fox Chapel to play firm and fast, making the layout of 6,696 yards play even shorter.
"I almost have to pinch myself," Hurwitz said. "This is really good weather; it's playing to our favor. It's working with us. We're really able to produce fast and firm conditions right now. I really hope it continues."
Hurwitz said the plan is to roll the greens at "12.5-plus" on the Stimpmeter, which will make some of the more undulating surfaces such as Nos. 3, 6, 8 and 13 even more slippery.
"It's a major on the Champions Tour and, for that reason, we'll give them a good test," Hurwitz said. "If the weather cooperates and we got sunny skies, we'll have the greens very fast and very firm, very much accustomed to what golf fans have seen at other clubs in the area."
First Published June 27, 2012 12:00 am