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ELLIOTT: Only Four or Five Guys Can Win the Stoney, Right?

July 7, 2011
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING - Handicapping the field for 12th Annual Stoney Hollow Tire Amateur, which will be played this weekend on Oglebay's Robert Trent Jones and Arnold Palmer Courses.

Anyone will tell you, there's annually only a handful of guys among the more than 320 to participate that have a real chance to win the Stoney, the premier amateur tournament of its kind on the Ohio Valley Golf Association card, if not the entire east coast.

History bears that, as there have been five winners in the first 11 playings of the event - Larry Lis Jr. (five), Howard ''Po'' Peterson (one), Dave Frey (one), Bryan Myers (three), and Carson Schambach (one).

So, if you're picking the guys who have a shot this year, you'd be wise to start with Lis and Myers.

Lis won four of the first five Stoneys, interrupted only in 2002, when then 65-year-old Peterson ended four decades of personal OVGA frustration by shooting 1-over par and winning by two strokes.

Myers has won three of the last four Stoneys, including last year when he beat Rob Cimarolli on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff.

We would be talking about Myers winning four in six years but, in 2005, he shot the lowest score but wasn't able to produce verification of his amateur status.

That's they year Frey got the new tires.

The only person to disrupt Myers' recent streak is Schambach, who won two years ago by beating Mike Revak on a second playoff hole after Mark Cimarolli eliminated himself on the first one.

So besides those two guys, who clearly know what they're doing when the going gets tough at the Stoney Championships, how do you sift through a list of 320 and find a few more?

Easy, you combine some of the rest of the guys who have done consistently well in this tournament - Schambach, Frey, and the Cimarollis - with some other guys who have played a million competitive rounds of golf recently on the tourney's championship courses in Joey Seabright, Marshall Hone, and Shayne Wilson.

Then you make a wild card pick, like Hurricane's Brian Anania.

Who is he? Well, he's playing in the Stoney alongside good friend and Marshall University teammate Hone this weekend in a scene somewhat similar to the 2007 Stoney when Ryan Waialae brought a friend back from school to compete in the event. That guy was PGA Tour veteran Kenny Perry's son Justin, who finished second.

The only difference is Anania has a history at Speidel.

At the state high school golf championships in 2009, Anania and Hurricane teammate Aaron Barna tied for medalist honors after 36 holes on the Jones Course in cold, windy conditions.

Anania, who had earlier in the tourney swished a hole-in-one on the 202-yard, Par 3 No. 7, said he'd rather have just gone with co-champions, but organizers had them play it out.

He then sank a 5-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to emerge as the Class AAA medalist. His Hurricane team won the title, 24 strokes better than a second-place Wheeling Park team that featured both Hone and Wilson.

Anania, like Seabright, Myers, Trent Schambach, Elie Lambie, Wilson, and Carson Schambach, spent the early part of the week playing in the West Virginia Amateur at The Greenbrier.

He'll be ready. He's got course knowledge. He's played high-level golf for a long time.

So he's my guy.

And if he's not, then it's one of the other guys I mentioned, or perhaps someone who has yet to sign up.

A few openings remain. For information call Tom Gaudino at (304) 277-4030.

Jim Elliott can be reached via e-mail at:

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