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Zoeller, Petty among featured competitors

CHIP SHOTS

Fuzzy Zoeller will host the first Fuzzy and Friends Edgewater Golf Classic Sept. 17 and 18. The dinner and skins game will feature Zoeller competing against former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty and former Carolina Panther Frank Garcia with one more participant to be named in the near future. Billy Packer will serve as emcee.

A dinner event will be Sept. 17 at the Hickory Tavern in Ballantyne. Tickets are $100 with all proceeds going to local charities. Tickets to the golf event, which begins with a 10 a.m. clinic on Sept. 18, are $20 with proceeds going to area charities. For ticket information, contact Phil Lobeck at phillobeck@pga.com.

Former Charlotte 49ers golfer Corey Nagy qualified for the Knoxville News Sentinel Open on the Nationwide Tour this week. Nagy shot 66 Monday and survived a 10-man playoff to land a spot in the event which includes John Daly and Rich Beem, among others.

When the Champions Tour makes its two-week swing through North Carolina starting in late September, both tournaments should have strong fields. Bernhard Langer and Fred Funk are the latest to commit to play in the SAS Championship in Cary Sept. 24-26 while the Ensure Classic at Rock Barn the following week has 18 of the top 20 money winners on the commitment list.

Golf Magazine's latest ranking of the Top 100 Courses You Can Play in the United States includes 12 within a four-hour drive of Charlotte.

The list includes the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort (No. 4); Pinehurst No. 2 (No. 7); Harbour Town Golf Links (No. 14); Caledonia Fish and Golf Club at Pawley's Island, S.C., (No. 28); The Dunes Club at Myrtle Beach (No. 48); The Highlands Course at Primland, Meadows of Dan, Va., (No. 49) among the top 50.

The second 50 includes Pine Needles Golf Club in Southern Pines (No. 52); Linville Golf Club (No. 61); May River Golf Club in Bluffton, S.C., (No. 62); Barefoot Resort Love Course at Myrtle Beach (No. 86); Tobacco Road in Sanford (No. 97); and Pinehurst No. 8 (No. 100).

Pinehurst Resort will hold Military Appreciation Day on Sept. 7, offering active duty military and their spouses free golf and other discounts. Last year, more than 300 military members took advantage of the free golf and 50 percent off services at the spa. If you're interested in the golf on course No. 8, call 910-235-8760.

OBSERVATIONS

The great cell phone experiment last week at the Wyndham Championship was a success, if that's what you want to call it. No one's phone rang when Arjun Atwal was standing over the 6-footer to win the tournament. No one's 'Free Bird' ringtone interrupted play.

There were plenty of people walking around with their cell phones in hand, even using them away from the designated call areas (concession stands) but most seemed careful to move away from the action.

My guess is cell phones will soon be allowed at all tour events (not counting the Masters, which isn't likely to change its strict policy). Like it or not, the times have changed and if you're trying to draw spectators to a golf tournament, telling them they have to be disconnected from their lives for five or six hours is a turn-off. So to speak.

The USGA paid close attention to how things went last week and is considering allowing cell phones into the U.S. Open in the future. Maybe not next year. But perhaps the year after.

Traditionalists cringe and it's understandable. But it's a different world today. Wimbledon allows cell phones. Why not the Honda Classic?

The Charlotte golf community lost two good men recently with the passing of Donald Littlejohn and Stan Overton.

Littlejohn was a two-time City Amateur champion and one of the city's top players for many years. He was a part of the local golf scene and a friend to many.

In 1989, Littlejohn became the first African-American to win the Charlotte City Amateur, a title he also won in 1991. He worked 38 years at Cochrane Middle School as a football coach and athletic director. He won the Parbusters championship 11 times over four decades, was a member of the Carolinas Golf Association advisory board and, despite his battle with pancreatic cancer, was still playing golf earlier this summer.

"He was a pioneer and a man who educated a lot of young people," Littlejohn's friend, John Love, said. "And he loved to play golf."

Overton was general manager of Westport Golf Club and is the man credited with revitalizing the course, which had been left to wither away a few years ago. Westport "was his life," said Lee Rendleman who worked with Overton, who took over the course in 2006 and restored its condition and popularity.

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