"This is one of those now-or-never times," said Paukovits, the head pro at Whitetail. "We're kind of under the gun to produce something this season. We're taking this seriously, and I think this is the best team we have fielded."
The Inter-Club, once known as the Tri-City Matches, has been played in various formats since 1963, though it went dormant twice because interest lagged. Now, the courses take it very seriously, to which Whitetail can attest.
Last year, the Whitetail team finished fourth, nearly three full strokes in average score behind Bethlehem, which won for the third time in five years. Paukovits took over as captain and set about building a winner.
Whitetail's head pro recruited some of the area's top amateurs, including Evan Notaro, Justin Hilgert, Bryan Ott, Dominic Schiavone, Zach Fischl and Lehigh Valley Hall of Famer Craig Scott. The group has credentials.
Last year Notaro, a Northampton High junior, became the youngest player to win the Lehigh Valley player-of-the-year title. Hilgert is a three-time club champ at Whitetail, and Ott recently won the Northeast Pa. Stroke Play title (Notaro tied for second, Hilgert tied for fourth). And Schiavone tied for low amateur at last year's Lehigh Valley Open.
"We hand-picked this group, because we got some pressure from ownership to start doing something at the Inter-Club," Paukovits said. "It's a terrific event. It lets players showcase their [home] clubs as well as their individual play."
Elsewhere, Brian Johnson, the event's 2009 medalist, will captain Allentown for the first time. As player-captain, Johnson is competing in his first major event of the season and recruited two of the area's top high school players: Northwestern's Cole Miller, the defending District 11 boys champ, and Parkland's Nick Shoup, whose father, Andy, will be a teammate.
"My main goal when I became captain was to get at least two junior players involved," Johnson said. "I think it's important, because these kids can play. We want as much talent out there as possible."
Bethlehem, the defending champ, features top senior players Tom Egolf and Andy Lykon along with Bethlehem Catholic's Willie Tighe and Gian Turco. Captain Joe Coulson and Lehigh Valley Hall of Famer Robin McCool lead Wedgewood, and Green Pond's roster includes 2010 medalist Jason Wilson and Palmerton High graduate Mike Englert.
The Lehigh Valley Inter-Club begins Friday at Allentown, moves to Bethlehem on Saturday and concludes Sunday at Green Pond.
Golf Channel's Rich Lerner to appear at Lehigh: Golf Channel anchor Rich Lerner, an Emmaus native, will appear at the Mortimer S. Schiff Memorial Golf Tournament on June 4 at Lehigh Country Club.
The tournament, sponsored by the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley, is a Lexus Champions for Charity event.
For information, visit http://www.jewishlehighvalley.org.
Mayor's Charity Classic: Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski's annual Charity Golf Classic will be held June 1 at Allentown Municipal. Proceeds from the tournament, a four-player scramble, benefit Lehigh County Senior Center.
For information, call 610-437-3700 or email Diane Nolan (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Girls golf clinic: The Pennsylvania State Women's Golf Association will conduct a junior clinic June 3 at Bethlehem Golf Club's executive course. Noreen Mohler of Bethlehem, the 2010 U.S. Curtis Cup captain, will be among the instructors.
The clinic is open to girls 7-17, and no golf experience is necessary. For information, call 610-868-5524 or email Mohler at email@example.com.