Miniature golf tournament is fun for all

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— Clint Gabbert, 13, Matt Herschberg, 12, and Jimmy Howe, 11, had just finished their round of 18 holes at the Bear Creek Classic miniature golf tournament when they sat down for their complimentary ice cream.

"I can't remember what my best hole was," Gabbert said. "It was all just fun."

That sort of comment is what owner Joan Snyder likes to hear from her tournament-goers.

"We started the tournaments to increase interest," she said. "But we try to make it more fun than competitive."

The first trio to complete the tournament agreed they wanted to come back and play more after the Bear Creek Classic.

"It gives me something to do during the day," Gabbert said.

"I have baseball at night but nothing during the day," added Howe.

The tournament was open to ages 6 and older and took place Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday evening.

"We have it two different days at different times for people who are busy during the day or night," Snyder said. "Usually, we have about the same number for both days."

Two hours into Tuesday's tournament, nine golfers had been all the way through the challenge of the Little Bear Valley course.

Last year's tournament had more than 50 participants, and while pre-registration was low this year, Snyder said she thought the numbers would be similar.

"I was a little worried about the weather," she said. "But it looks like it cleared up just for us, and the interest is high."

The weather was one of the deciding factors for Howe to come out and play. When he found out about the tournament, he invited Herschberg.

"He told me and then I told him," Herschberg said, pointing from Howe to Gabbert.

After the coolness of the ice cream stimulated their brains, all three could remember their best holes on the course.

"I had a 3 on Big Joe," Howe said.

Big Joe is on the back nine and is an uphill hole that sends a putter's ball into a small pond of water if he or she doesn't hit it just right up the hill.

Some consider it the hardest hole. Not Howe.

"Yesterday, I had a 2," he said.

"We both had 2s on the second hole," Gabbert said, speaking for himself and Herschberg.

The golfers knew their best holes but they didn't know who did the best overall. Scores are kept a secret from competitors until the tournament is over.

"It's something we've always done to keep the suspense," Snyder said.

Trophies were given to the top three in each age group as well as to any golfer who hit a hole-in-one. The age groups were 6-9, 10-13, 14-18 and 19 and older.

The winners were:

n 6-9 age group: Jeysen Coleman, first; Brenden Spencer, second; (tie) Christopher Kling and Tristen Fredrickson, third.

n 10-13: Mark Docksteader, first; Nick Moyer, second; Scott Docksteader, third.

n 14-18: Chance Buckner, first; Evan Hertzog, second; (tie) Andy Sperl and Kaleb McKey, third

n 19 and older: Kevin Field, first; Kirk McKey, second; Cory Speaker, third.

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