WHEELING - Just before the turn of the century, John Seckman had a vision.
He wanted to put on a golf tournament, but just not any golf tournament.
"His vision was to have a golf tournament like it used to be in the '70s and '80s," said one of the tournament directors, Tim Pasinetti. "He wanted to have a tournament where people would stay around and socialize after they finished for the day. In this fast-paced world, a lot of people play their round now and they leave. He wanted to bring back the atmosphere of the way it used to be, when you stay around, have a drink, have dinner, and watch as the tournament unfolds."
Some 15 years later, the Stoney Hollow Amateur Golf Tournament is just that, and even more.
The 15th annual event, which will be played Saturday and Sunday on both the Arnold Palmer and Robert Trent Jones courses at Oglebay Park's Spiedel Golf Club, is the highlight of the valley's summer golf schedule.
"It's probably the (golf) highlight of the region," Pasinetti said. "Because of the number of states that are represented (the tournament has had as many as 14 states in past tournaments) and the magnitude of the prize money ($15,000 in prize certificates) we have a lot of great golfers who compete and people look forward to the event."
Some consider it among the top amateur tournaments in the country.
All of the champions from the 2013 tournament are back to defend their championships.
Six-time champion Larry Lis Jr. is back to defend his Championship-Division title.
Dave Clarke returns as the Seniors (over 50) champion, Gary Schrickel is the Super Senior (62-and-over) title holder and Joe Hardman was the champion of the first-flight.
Also in the field is four-time champion Bryan Myers , 2005 champion Dave Frey and 2012 champion Bart Mease.
Past Senior Division winners entered include four-time champion Mark Wheaton, three-time champion Bob Clark, 2011 winner Jeff Sparks and 2002 winner Greg Paetzold.
Past Super Senior champions are three-time winner Lynn Martin, two-time winner Ron Helms, 2009 champion John Bailey and 2006 winner Kirk Nolte.
The 2013 Best Ball Champions are also back: Myers and Simonetti (championship flight), Clarke and Mark Mickley (Senior flight) Martin and Ray Sovic (super senior) and Hartman and Jim Tyst (first flight).
New to the event this year is the John Wilson Memorial Trophy, which will be awarded to the Junior Golfer (under age 18) with the lowest score.
The tournament which is sponsored by Stoney Hollow Tire and is run by the Oglebay Park Golf Club, supports junior golf and special golf events for youth in the Ohio Valley.
A full tournament of 300 players is entered in the tournament.