The 1oth green at Hannastown Golf Club, host of the 2022 Spring Stroke Play Championship.

29th Spring Stroke Play Championship to be held at Hannastown
By Mike Dudurich • May 30, 2022

Mike is a freelance writer and host of The Golf Show on 93.7 The Fan Saturday mornings from 7-8 AM. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeDudurich.

There’s no truth to the rumor that the West Penn Golf Association’s Spring Stroke Play event will be renamed the Nathan Smith Open.

Even though the Brookville native has won the event 9 times in the 28 years it’s been held, Smith is proud of his accomplishments and isn’t looking to see his name attached to a trophy.

“Obviously, that’s been a good tournament for me,” Smith said. “Always one of my favorites. They were always a lot of fun.”

The Spring Stroke Play tournament was designed to be the kickoff of the championship season and while there are a few events that precede it, the Stroke Play remains the first of the big events on the WPGA schedule.

In its’ early years, the Stroke Play was limited to club champions only. Now it is a full-field, open competition with club champions of WPGA member clubs having exempt status to the field.

Sean Knapp has the second-most number of wins in the event, three. Rick Stimmel has two. They are the only other players with multiple victories.

“He won how many, 9?” Knapp said. “That’s really unbelievable. But I’ve believed this for a long time: Greatness has a way of clarifying things and Nathan made things very clear over his career.”

Smith’s domination of the event came clusters. He won in 2015 (Sunnehanna), 2016 (St. Clair) and 2017 (Nemacolin CC). He also won back-to-back titles in 2012 (Nevillewood) and the Field Club in 2013. He also went back-to-back in 2009 (Williams) and 2010 (Wildwood).

“It was a great competition, and it was always a lot of fun,” Smith said. “For a lot of guys, it was the first time seeing each other in the New Year. I don’t know. I just have great memories about the Stroke Play.”

It’s always easy to have great memories when you own not only 9 wins, but you own the scoring record. He posted rounds of 68-66—134 in his win at Williams in 2009.

An interesting side note is that Smith’s wins came at nine different courses.

The 36-hole event will be held at Hannastown Golf Club on Monday.

Because of a business commitment, Smith won’t be hunting for his 10th win this year.

About the WPGA
Founded in 1899, the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association is the steward of amateur golf in the region. Started by five Member Clubs, the association now has nearly 200 Member Clubs and 33,000 members. The WPGA conducts 14 individual competitions and 10 team events, and administers the WPGA Scholarship Fund.