FRANKLIN TWP — The Butler Eagle Amateur Open is on.
The only question is whether the 26th annual single-day golf tournament will take place via tee times or shotgun start.
Lake Arthur Golf Club will host this year’s tourney Aug. 9. As of now, shotgun starts at 7:45 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. will be used for the 18-hole stroke-play event.
Entry fee will be $75.
“We’ve used shotgun starts for the past 16 years or so,” Eagle Amateur committee member Rob Voltz said. “That’s how we plan to proceed.
“The only reason tee times are being considered is the golf course is paying close attention to the CDC guidelines in relation to the coronavirus. We’re OK (with shotgun starts) right now, but we’ll be prepared to adjust if things change.”
Scott Vice is general manager and superintendent at Lake Arthur this year. He carded a 4-under-par 68 to win the Eagle Amateur in 2017, the last year the event was played there.
Vice edged Sean Knapp, considered one of the top amateur golfers in the country and a five-time Eagle Amateur champion, by one stroke that year. He also won the event in 2015.
“If I play this year, it will be as a last-minute entry again, like the last two times,” Vice said. “Weather will have a lot to do with that decision, how much I have to do on the course.”
Knapp has not won the tournament since 2013.
“With the U.S. Amateur and all of the other top national golf events pushed way back this year, I imagine Sean might be playing this year,” Voltz said.
Brent Rodgers, formerly of Cranberry Township, won last year’s tournament at Hiland Golf Course with a 3-under-par 67. He edged Butler’s Jeremy Enslen — the 2018 Eagle Amateur champion at Oakview — by two strokes.
“We’re hoping to get more women in the field this year,” Voltz said. “I’d love to see a lot more high school golfers sign up and play, too. We have plenty of quality high school players in the area.
“If we got 20 or 30 of them out there, it would really add to the tournament. Getting the younger golfers involved helps to grow the game.”
Mars resident Casey Morrow won the women’s division last year with a 72. She won by a seven-stroke margin.
There were 135 golfers in the field at last year’s tourney. There were 149 the last time Lake Arthur hosted the event.
Vice emphasized that CDC guidelines will be followed for the tournament.
“If we have to do tee times, we’ll do that,” he said. “We may not have golfers milling around waiting for results afterward. We may have the golfers go home and get the results out to them later.
“A lot of details like that will be sorted out. A lot can happen between now and Aug. 9.”
“The tournament is always very competitive with good scores at Lake Arthur,” Voltz said. “Scott is doing a great job with that course.
“Since May 1 or so, golf has been one of the few sports people have been able to do. This is a good year for golf and I expect our tournament will reflect that.”
BUTLER EAGLE AMATEUR OPEN Previous Winners
1995-Mark Young, 1996-Jim Hepler, 1997-Bill Black, 1998-Dave Hungerman, 1999-Sean Swidzinski, 2000-Greg Minda, 2001-Chuck Young, 2002-Mark Young, 2003-Chris Morrow, 2004-Mike Toubakaris, 2005-Doug Knox, 2006-Nathan Bilski, 2007-Rob Voltz, 2008-10-Sean Knapp, 2011-Bennett Smith, 2012-13-Sean Knapp, 2014-Mike Marron, 2015-Scott Vice, 2016-Rob Voltz, 2017-Scott Vice, 2018-Jeremy Enslen, 2019-Brent Rodgers