As a spectator last season, Bob Merette watched the final round of the Glendale City Golf Championship unfold at Oakmont Country Club.
After watching the competitors walk off the 18th hole and receiving some background information on the event, Merette decided he wanted to be a part of the tournament this year.
Merette will be among those in the field of 121 scheduled to participate in the tournament’s third rendition, which will begin at 8 a.m. Wednesday at Scholl Canyon Golf Course.
“It will be my first time and it’s for a great cause,” said Merette, who has been a member at Oakmont for 18 years. “I watched part of the final round last year and it’s a nice way to give back to the community.
“You get a lot of very good golfers who will be playing.”
The two-day event, sponsored by Trusted Choice, will begin with a qualifying round Wednesday. The qualifier will feature four flights based on the low index of the past 12 months. The event is geared for amateurs with a maximum handicap index of 24. All proceeds will benefit the Glendale Parks and Open Space Foundation, a non-profit organization.
The low 16 in the championship flight and the low eight in the other three flights (Verdugo, Deukmejian and Brand) will advance to the championship, which will take place at noon Monday at Oakmont Country Club. In addition, a women's division flight will be conducted. However, with only three women set to participate, the ladies championship will be decided on Wednesday at Scholl.
There’s been plenty of drama during the tournament’s first two years.
Chris Russo of Thousand Oaks, a member of the Arizona State University men’s golf team, won the event last season, carding a one-over-par 72 and topping Keith Kinsel of Glendale by one stroke. Jon Levitt of Covina bested Glendale's Kris Hons in the fourth hole of a playoff to win the championship flight in 2012.
Ian Martin, a Burbank resident, said he’s eager to make his third tournament appearance.
“I’ve been a Burbank resident my whole life and Glendale is in our backyard,” Martin said. “It’s a great event to help keep the open parks going in the Glendale area.
“We all have busy lives and sometimes you forget about the open green spaces. There’s some challenges to playing Scholl and Oakmont. At Scholl, you need to have a real good short game. At Oakmont, it can stretch you in a lot of ways from the long fairways to the trees. Everybody has got a shot [going into the tournament].”
Rick Dinger, the tournament’s chairman, said the event continues to gain traction.
“We are tracking a few more players each year,” Dinger said. “A lot of the players keep coming back, but there’s been a good buzz throughout.
“We get high school and college players and others who just want to come out and have fun. There’s a pretty high level of competition.”
Last year, 108 golfers competed in the event and 86 took part in 2012.
Among those expected to participate are Glendale Mayor Zareh Sinanyan, city manager Scott Ochoa, returning Duekmejian Flight champion Jerry Butt, returning Verdugo Flight champ Bill Ree, reigning Brand Flight titlist Malik Basurto, St. Francis High’s Johnny Brandt and Crescenta Valley’s Cody Renfro and David Holeman.