SYRACUSE – It’s happened before, and the golfers of the Wawasee Warrior Open are likely used to it by now.
For the fourth time in a row, rain interfered with at least a portion of the golf fundraiser at South Shore Golf Club, which did manage to keep the golfers on track this time around. A torrential downpour split the morning session down the middle, some golfers managing to get back out to finish, others not so lucky.
The afternoon session saw much better weather and not much in terms of water obstacles, which gave a better ending to the 23rd annual outing that benefits the general Wawasee athletic fund.
“The first rain that hit, everybody stopped and paused, and we got the people back up here,” Schutz said at the South Shore clubhouse. “Basically, we spent an hour and a half, two hours up here (in the clubhouse) trying to wait it out. We had some get in a hole or two, but then had to come back in. It was just a mess. The rain was coming down ridiculously hard. Lightning and thunder. We lost a couple teams that couldn’t wait it out, which is a bummer, but overall, we finished up OK.”
The event, which rotates between South Shore and Maxwelton – both courses home to Wawasee golf, South Shore to the boys and Maxwelton to the girls – saw nearly 30 teams enter per Schutz. Both flights saw plenty of opportunity to go for broke with hole-in-one opportunities to win a SeaDoo and Chevy Malibu on back-to-back holes on the front nine. A chance to win $10,000 and plenty of closest to the pins, longest drives and putting contests added to the fun.
“We’ve got a lot of local support from the businesses in the community, which is great for everyone,” noted Schutz.
The odd number years have been very rainy in recent vintage, with the 2015 event completely rained out and the 2013 and 2011 sessions both experiencing at least half the day filled with heavy rain.
The all athletic fundraiser goes to the general athletic fund at Wawasee, which benefits all 21 programs at the school, all of which were helping in some capacity on Monday.
“I’ve tried working with the coaches with their wants and needs for different equipment and uniform needs, which was a goal of mine,” Schutz said, overseer of his first Open heading into his second year as athletic director at Wawasee. “Trying to make sure teams get what they need. We’ve got a few teams who will have new uniforms and some nice additions. We’ve got the kids out here working as usual, great participation, especially this morning with all the bad weather. Having the kids out here is fun, and it helps them see the other side of what being an athlete at Wawasee is about.”
Whether looking at the Open as the end of the 2016-17 calendar or the beginning of the 2017-18 campaign, the athletic contingent at Wawasee is ready to get things going.
“I’m excited for the season and for a lot of our teams,” Schutz added. “I think a lot of our coaches are really excited with what they have coming in, and I know football and both soccer teams are ready to get on that new turf field.
“Any time that you get to a new year, there is a new spring in your step and everyone is ready to go again. It’s exciting. I think if you start strong in the fall it just flows into the rest of the year. I’ve seen a lot of positives already this summer and we’re ready to jump into a new year and see what happens.”
Event winners for the Open included the morning team champions of Ron Everingham, Reagan Eakins, Jon Everingham and Randy Smith and the afternoon team champions of Scott Hetrick, Mike VanDiepenbos, Nate Kline and Kevin Parker. Morning closest to the pin on 14 was Clint Beasley and afternoon was Ed Beckner. Morning longest drive on 3 was Seath Lauer and afternoon was Roy Hamer. Morning longest putt on 18 was Mike Barger and afternoon was Joe Leach. Bobbie Torrance had the women’s longest drive on hole 2. Of note, Lauer is a veteran of both the Canadian PGA and Web.com professional tours.