---- — Joe Leavitt is not quite sure how he’ll handle the title of defending champ.
But it certainly won’t change his mentality as he preps for the third annual Joseph F. Healey Memorial Golf Championship, coming up June 26-29.
Leavitt, who’ll be a sophomore at the University of Rhode Island in the fall, took the Healey a year ago in a powerhouse summer of amateur golf.
Last year’s tourney was in July, in the heart of the stretch. He’s hoping that this year’s tourney will kick-start him into another huge season.
“I’ll be ready for it,” said Leavitt, the former Eagle-Tribune Golfer of the Year in 2011. “I expect another talented field of golfers to come after the championship, too.”
In three years, the Healey continues to grow, absorbing the history of its predecessors — the Allan B. Rogers Memorial and the former Lawrence City Championship.
All the while, it evolves under quality leadership as the game changes with the times.
“We’re doing our best to bring out the best in area amateur golf from our region,” said tourney director and Atkinson Country Club head professional Peter Doherty. “In the process and in Joe Healey’s memory we look to continue to help young people around the game in their college endeavors.”
Last year, the Healey handed out three $1,000 college scholarships, one which coincidentally went to its champion.
On course, the tourney provided amazing final-round drama as Leavitt hooked up in an epic playoff with Bradford’s Nick Maccario.
Maccario, who plays at Saint Anselm College, will again be back to challenge for the title.
“We’ve moved the dates and the days to better help accommodate the players and the host clubs,” said Doherty. “We hope this will only improve the level of this championship.”
The 54-hole Healey Championship will open on Wednesday, June 26 with Round 1 at the recently-renovated Crystal Lake Golf Club (formerly Crystal Springs) in Haverhill. Thursday, June 27, Round 2 moves to Haverhill Country Club. After the cut is made, the title will be decided on Saturday, June 29, at Atkinson Country Club.
Members at the region’s participating clubs … Atkinson, Crystal Lake, Bradford, Haverhill, Merrimack, Renaissance, Ferncroft and Indian Ridge … will vie for one of each club’s 10 spots in the field. In addition, Windham Country Club and Far Corner Golf Club will host open qualifiers on June 15 for any unattached players looking to attempt to qualify.
All qualifying will need to be completed by June 17.
Like last year, the popular team championship and senior titles will also be up for grabs, making it an action-packed weekend on three of the region’s top courses.
2013 JOSEPH F. HEALEY MEMORIAL GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP What is it: A three-day, 54-hole golf tournament for the best of the best, the top amateur golfers in our region. When/Where: June 26-29 -- Wednesday, Round 1 at Crystal Lake Golf Club; Thursday, Round 2 at Haverhill Country Club; Saturday, Championship Round at Atkinson Country Club. Who can qualify and play: Members at local participating clubs -- Atkinson, Crystal Lake, Bradford, Haverhill, Merrimack, Renaissance, Ferncroft and Indian Ridge -- should speak to their host pros about qualifying. Unattached players and members at Far Corner Golf Club and Windham Country Club, should speak to pros John O'Connor or Joanne Flynn about public, open qualifiers that their clubs will host on June 15.