It’s the Greatest time of year in the Valley


Staff report

YOUNGSTOWN

The ninth annual Greatest Golfer of the Valley tees off Sunday with the juniors division taking to Pine Lakes Golf Club for an 18-hole qualifier match.

Nearly 40 area high schoolers are expected to open the season in the first of six qualifiers that lead to the Greatest Golfer junior championship July 20.

Veteran junior competitor Joey Vitali of Howland will tee it for his last summer in the junior ranks.

“For me, time is flying. I can’t believe I’m playing in my last junior season. I have made some great memories and learned some great lessons that I will never forget. I’m looking forward to finishing strong,” Vitali said.

Greatest Golfer is a championships-driven golf program managed by The Vindicator in partnership with Farmers National Bank, Covelli Enterprises and Coors Light.

Nearly 3,000 golfers will compete this summer in the five-county region in Greatest events that will yield champions in four junior groups, 15 adult groups, a team scramble, ladies 2-person and long drive. The program directly engages 15 golf courses and indirectly impacts all others.

The first charity scramble in the Coors Light Championship series tees off May 21 at Tippecanoe Country Club. There will be 26 scrambles all summer. The winners of each charity scramble compete in a season-ending, prize-filled scramble championship.

All information about Greatest Golfer can be found on vindy.com/golf.

Registration for Sunday’s opening junior event will close at noon on Friday.

Several changes are afoot for the ninth annual Greatest. They include:

• A ladies 2-person team match has been added.

Teams will compete Aug. 15 at Trumbull Country Club. Competition will include net and gross scoring with the ladies teams involving top pairs from area courses.

• In our long-drive event at Tippecanoe, we will give the over-60 crowd a stage to let it rip in the fun event.

• Five new divisions in the original Farmers National Bank adult tourney will expand the competition.

New this year will be two ladies divisions, two seniors divisions and one men’s division.

One of the first players to sign up this year will also come from the furthest distance. Valley native Rance Garrett will again return from California to play in the annual event.

“GGOV is truly the ‘Greatest.’ It’s fun to play. It’s competitive. It’s memories,” Garrett said. “What better way can a person spend time doing something that allows you to create memories, compete, and have fun doing it?”

“Greatest has exceeded our expectations,” said event co-director Todd Franko. “Year eight was our best year, and we never planned for anything but a year one. Everything since has been a response to the enthusiasm and loyalty of the golf community and our sponsors.”

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