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Rock Barn adjusts to shift from October

It's been a quick turnaround for the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn, which will be played for the second time in eight months when it begins Friday in Conover.

The event shifted away from its October date and what was a two-week North Carolina stop for the Champions Tour (in conjunction with the SAS Championship in Cary) for a June date because of reshuffling of the seniors' schedule.

Despite the relatively quick turnaround time, tournament director Jim Correll said the switch has been a good one for the event, getting it away from football season.

Though officials were disappointed that Fred Couples, last year's runner-up, isn't returning because of back problems, they're content with a field that includes John Cook, Nick Price, Mark Calcavecchia, Corey Pavin, Peter Jacobsen, Charlotte's David Eger, defending champion Gary Hallberg and Kenny Perry.

This will be the seventh Champions Tour event for Perry, who hasn't yet won on the 50-and-over tour.

LONGVIEW 100: Two years ago, Nick Page and a friend decided to play 100 holes on June 21 at Longview Golf Club in what amounted to a personal fund-raising tournament on behalf of the United Family Services in Charlotte.

Last year, Page was one of four golfers who went 100 holes and on June 21 this year, he'll be one of 20 members who will play 100 holes at Longview. It has become a celebration of the game on the longest day of the year as well as a philanthropic undertaking.

"To be honest, we're a bunch of rich guys. We should be able to go out and do this," Page said.

"We'd love to see this get to be big enough that we could challenge some other clubs in Charlotte to do the same thing next year on the same day."

Page said the goal is to help the organization raise the $5million needed for a new shelter for battered women. Though each participant is required to make a minimum $1,000 contribution, most have averaged about $4,000 per player. As the event has grown, so has the fund-raising.

Playing 100 holes in a day, especially in the summer heat, presents challenges but Page said it hasn't been as difficult as he anticipated.

"It's been an absolute blast," he said.

CAROLINAS GOLF HALL ADDS THREE: Long-time golf writer Howard Ward, amateur Larry Boswell and tour player Scott Hoch have been voted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame.

Hoch is the most familiar, having been born in Raleigh and played his college golf at Wake Forest.

Though he's remembered by many for the 2-footer he missed that would have won him the 1989 Masters over Nick Faldo, Hoch was one of the PGA Tour's most consistently good players for years. He won 11 times and was often at his best on tough courses.

Ward has been writing about golf for more than 50 years, mostly for the Fayetteville Observer from which he retired in 1997. He's cared about the big-time players and the not so big, sharing their stories with readers.

Boswell won Carolinas Golf Association championships in five decades, collecting 13 different trophies, third behind Dale Morey and Paul Simson.

The public is invited to the induction dinner Aug. 14 at The Carolina in Pinehurst. Details are available at www.thecgra.com .

CHIP SHOTS:

There's a new course record at Clemson University's Walker Course thanks to Gastonia teenager Victor Wiggins, who shot a 61 last weekend while winning the boys' 16-18 division in the PGA Junior Series tournament. Wiggins, who was 16 under par for 54 holes, broke the record of 62 previously held by Clemson golf coach Larry Penley.

Whitney Wright, who lives at Lake Norman, recently participated in the Golf Channel's Big Break series, to be aired this year. Wright, a former Observer Golfer of the Year at Richmond County High, played at Florida State and is on the Futures Tour.

OBSERVATIONS

A number of players with local connections tried to qualify for the U.S. Open, but only Webb Simpson and Salisbury's Eliot Gealy played their way to Congressional. At least players like Johnson Wagner, Brendon de Jonge, Corey Nagy and Matt Cannon tried, something Vijay Singh decided not to do.

When Betsy King, 55, recently qualified to play in the U.S. Women's Open this summer, she added another chapter to her career story. King, who played at Furman during the golden age of the women's program there, was among the best players of her generation, though she never sought the spotlight.

She earned entry into the World Golf Hall of Fame through her 34 career LPGA Tour victories, including six major championships, and now she'll have a chance - admittedly a long shot - to add to that total.

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