By Robbin Kiser
July 13, 2014
TROY — Four players have been added to the Troy Bicentennial Golf Classic set for Aug. 4 at the Troy Country Club.
Three-time U.S. Open champion Hale Irwin and two-time tour winner Frank Lickliter are the featured pros. They’ll conduct a 1 p.m. clinic and play 18 holes with area pros and amateurs.
The event is open to the public. Tickets, $20, are on sale at the golf courses in Miami County and proceeds will go to Hospice of Miami County.
Long-time Piqua Country Club pro Mark Robart and Troy Country Club pro Kyle Courtright will join Irwin and Lickliter, along with Troy CC club champions Gareth Johnston and Michael Walker.
Other area amateurs will be added later to each play nine holes with the pros.
This is just one of many events celebrating the city’s bicentennial. Fifty years ago the sesquicentennial golf exhibition featured grand slam champion Gary Player and the 1964 PGA champion Bobby Nichols.
Robart has been the director of golf at Piqua for 30 years. He grew up in Fort Wayne, Ind. and began his career as an assistant at Pine Valley CC in Fort Wayne. His wife, Debbie, works for Unity Bank in Piqua.
Courtright came to the Troy CC as an assistant in 2006 and took over the golf shop operations when long-time director of golf Paul Fobian retired in 2012. Club manager Nate Combs also is a PGA member.
Johnston has won the TCC’s women’s title 24 times over a 50-year-plus period. She first won as a junior player in 1963. Her 24 victories puts her among the leaders in the country.
She’s won the city title 17 times and is well-established as the best female player ever in Troy. She honed her game practicing behind her late father’s vet office north of Troy near the fairgrounds. Her son, Jason, has maintained the practice (Miami Acres).
She’s a realtor with Berkshire Hathaway in Troy.
Walker has won the TCC men’s championship 12 times, two more than the late John Lorms of Ohio State, the 1945 men’s NCAA champion.
He played in every tournament all four years while in college at Ohio, winning twice.
He was a two-time Academic All-American, first-team All-MAC, team captain and the MAC long drive champion (342 yards) his senior year.
He teamed with Brad Via to win the ESPN national team challenge in Las Vegas in 2006 and played in the 1997 U.S. Amateur at Cog Hill in Chicago, won by current tour star Matt Kuchar.
Irwin and Lickliter will conduct a clinic at 1 p.m. Troy grad and national award-winning golf writer Dave Shedloski will be the MC.
The four pros will play 18 holes after the clinic with selected amateurs who each will play nine holes. Pairings will be announced when the field is complete. There will be two foursomes on each nine so fans will have a chance to go back and forth and see all the players.
There will be limited parking at the club and additional parking at the now-closed driving range on Swailes Road beside the sixth tee. The event is open to the public and tickets will be available at the gate in addition to the various locations in the county — Troy CC, Piqua CC, Miami Shores in Troy, Echo Hills in Piqua, Hole Hunter Golf in Troy, Troy Sports Center and For All Seasons Boutique in downtown Troy.