By Rob Kiser
Editor’s Note: Much of this story first appeared in August, 2011.
When 16-year old Scott Homan died tragically in a car accident three decades ago, his mother Cindy Homan Walk knew
such a special life had to be remembered.
And there could be no better way to do it than on the golf course, bringing high school athletes together to play the game he loved.
“I wanted to do something that benefited more than one or two kids,” Walk said. “Of course, the scholarships are nice and important. But, I wanted to do something that would benefit a lot of kids, not just one and Scotty loved golf. So, we decided to have this tournament in his memory.”
And while she admits she never had any thoughts of it becoming one of the premier high school tournaments around, that’s exactly what it has become.
Monday morning will mark the 30th and final Homan Memorial at Piqua Country Club.
It has evolved into one of the premier tournaments around.
There have been as many as 24 teams, with 18 teams (Piqua enters two teams) currently participating.
“Honestly, I never envisioned anything,” Walk said. “I am really proud of the way things have turned out. It started out with just the GMVC schools (Piqua’s league at the time) and we ended up adding teams because so many wanted to participate.”
One of the things that has made the tournament so special is the family’s involvement.
There are a number of family members involved, led by Cindy and her son Jason, who also played in the tournament.
“To be honest, I just never thought it could be any other way,” she said. “The family is very involved.”
One thing Homan Walk did envision was a tournament different from any other.
“The other thing is we wanted it to be something different,” she said. “We wanted it to be a scrimmage, so the coaches could walk along with the golfers and help them. Because, that is the only time they can do that. They can’t do that during matches. Larry Hamilton was the golf coach at Piqua when we first started. We had to write the OHSAA and get permission.”
And Walk likes the fact golfers get to meet many of the golfers they will play against during the season.
“The kids get to meet a lot of the golfers they will face during the season, so they know each other when they play during the season, which I think is great,” she said. “I am just really happy with the way everything has worked out.”
Troy won the first eight Homan tournaments and it was particularly special for former Trojan golfer Michael Walker who played in the first two Homans and was medalist the second year with a 71.
“I got to know Scott (Homan) quite well through golf,”Walker said.
“Scott was just a really nice, good guy. We competed against each othe for several years and I always enjoyed that and being around him.
“It was very special for me (for the first to Homan). I continue to try and go back to the tournament every chance I get.
Cindy and her family have done a great job with the tournament and to be able to keep it going. It is hard to believe it has been 30 years.
“Winning that first tournament was pretty special. We were behind and had to shoot a blazing score on the back nine to win.”
Earning medalist honors the second year was particularly memorable for Walker because of the fashion he did it.
After shooting 41 on his first nine, he came in with a six-under par 30 on the back nine.
“I think that might still be the course record for the back nine,” Walker said. “That really was (a pretty amazing nine). It is
great to look back and think about all the guys you played golf with and all the good times you had.”
There have been countless familiar names now in Miami County and the surrounding area that played in the Homan.
The medalist at the first Homan, Jeff Cotner, is now owner of Mulligan’s Pub in Piqua and his son Kyle will be playing Monday as a senior for Versailles. Current Piqua golf coach Andy Johnson played in the Homan all four years of his high school career at Covington.
Jason Jenkins, who has gone on to be a teaching professional, played in the first Homan, as did Greg Snipes, who has coached Lehman to two state titles in volleyball and has had a Hall of Fame coaching career.
Lehman has had two medalists in Rob Wertz (1990) and Nate Fridley (2006), while Miami East’s Shawn Massie was medalist in 1998.
Devin Chrisman was a two-time medalist for Versailles (2003, 2004), while Luke Kunk was the first Tiger to earn medalist honors in 2001.
But, there is no question the highlight for Piqua came in 1997 when the Tom Jenkins coached team of Chris Garrity, Cale Green, Brian Robbins, Jarrett Smith and Josh Seas combined to win the event with a 310 total.
Garrity defeated 1996 medalist, Brad Goffena of Sidney, in playoff to win medalist honors after both shot 74.
“That’s awesome (to be part of the only Piqua team to have won the Homan and be the only Piqua medalist),” Garrity said. “I can’t believe it’s been 30 years since the tournament was started. It was a great way to start the season and compete against other teams from the league, playing on a great golf course. What more could you ask for?”
Garrity won the playoff with a par on the second hole.
“To be honest, I was grinding pretty hard just to shoot a 74 that day. I wasn’t thinking about that (to be the first Piqua
medalist),” he said. “I won on the second playoff hole with a par. I had a chip and a putt.
“The other guy (Brad Goffena) missed the green and was on the other side of the hogsback (in the green). I think he two
putted (for bogey). It is great to think back and recall all the great memories (from his high school days).”
And while the success was great, Garrity understood why he was there.
“I got to know Scott’s brother Jason (Homan) really well. He was working (at Piqua Country Club) when I first started working there and we talked a lot,” Garrity said. The tournament was a great way to celebrate Scott’s life and get the season started. Scott wasn’t just a great guy, but a pretty darned good golfer.
“Piqua Country Club wasn’t our home course, so I never really thought of it as being our tournament, even though it was and has become that. I just saw it as a way to celebrate Scott’s life and play against all the great golfers from the area.”
Robbins also remembers what a unique tournament it was and is.
“It was always a special tournament,” he said. “The family treated us great. They always fed us when we were done. We got to play at Piqua Country Club. It was a tournament we always looked forward too. That and the Troy Invitational at Troy Country Club. You always like to play the nicer courses.”
And that Piqua team was one of the best in recent memory.
“I didn’t play my junior year,” Robbins said. “That was the only varsity match I never played in (during his four years). If I had we would have won, instead we lost by six shots. That was a big goal (winning). I think everyone was pretty excited to have Piqua win. I think that was something they had always wanted.
“We had a great team that year. Our goals were to win the Homan, the GMVC and get to state. We only came up short on one (getting to state). Piqua’s had some good teams since then, but there have been a lot of talented local teams playing in that tournament.”
One thought Walker had sums things about the tournament well.
“I just hope the guys that play in the tournament today understand what the tournament is about and what a special guy Scott was,” Walker said.
Homan Walk makes sure golfers understand why they are there that day — and the golf coaches do as well.
“The coaches do a great job of explaining to the kids why they are there— and I am happy they do that,” she said. “As far as the event being so popular, that is not really anything I ever gave any thought to. Of course, hearing that the kids and the coaches enjoy it so much makes me very happy.
“I am really proud of the way things have turned out.”
And as she would so accurately state, “It has become Scotty’s day.”
And there is no doubt is he smiling down from above on the second Monday every August, seeing all the positive that has come from the event that celebrates his life.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.
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