Four selected for induction to the Western Pennsylvania Golf Hall of Fame

Posted April 26, 2016 - Western Pennsylvania Golf Association - Contact

The Western Pennsylvania Golf Association’s Hall of Fame Committee has selected four outstanding champions and contributors to the game from the region for induction into the Western Pennsylvania Golf Hall of Fame. The Class of 2016 includes John Birmingham, Bob Ford, Frank B. Fuhrer, III, and Marino Parascenzo. This year’s induction ceremony will be held at Oakmont Country Club on October 6.

John Birmingham, one of the area’s top amateurs for nearly two decades, won a total of twelve WPGA titles. A longtime member of Oakmont, Birmingham won three straight West Penn Amateurs from 1966-68, the 1964 and 1972 West Penn Open, and the Tri-State Open in 1966. He also won the Pennsylvania Amateur in 1961 and 1965. In 1977, he won both the Fred Brand Foursomes and Four-Ball championships with fellow inductee, Frank Fuhrer, III. His record in WPGA partner events includes victories in the 1994 Father & Son, the Fred Brand Foursomes in 1968 and 1977, and the Four-Ball in 1965, 1971, 1977 and 1980. Birmingham qualified for 15 U.S. Amateurs, finishing tenth in during its stroke play era, and one U.S. Open. Nationally, he won the 1970 Dixie Amateur, and was runner-up in the Porter Cup in 1962. As a member of the Duke University men’s golf team, he was runner-up in the 1960 ACC championship. The West Penn Mid-Amateur trophy is named in his honor.

Bob Ford, the Director of Golf at Oakmont, was the club’s head golf professional from 1979-2015. He qualified for three U.S. Opens, finishing T-26 in the 1983 U.S. Open at Oakmont, and ten PGA Championships. Ford has won every major event locally, nearly twenty in all, including the 1979 West Penn Open. He won the McKay Trophy for best scoring average seven times from the Tri-State PGA Section, and was the section’s Player of the Year on six occasions. A winner of the PGA of America’s National Stroke Play Championship in 1988 and 1993, Ford also won the Pennsylvania Open in 1977, 1981 and 1993. He was awarded the Professional of the Year in 1987, Player of the Year in 1988, and Merchandiser of the Year in 1985 and 1997 by the PGA of America. Ford also served as president of the Tri-State Section from 1996-1998.

Frank B. Fuhrer, III, won his first WPGA title at the WPGA Boys Championship in 1973, and went on to win six different WPGA championships and eleven total. In 1976, he won the West Penn Junior and also reached the quarter-finals in the U.S. Junior. He won the C.R. Miller Memorial Match Play Invitational in 1974, the 1977 West Penn Four-Ball with fellow 2016 inductee, John Birmingham, the West Penn Amateur in 1978 and 1979, the West Penn Open in 1986, the West Penn Mid-Am in 1993 and 1997, and the West Penn Fred Brand Foursomes in 1977, with Birmingham, and in 1996. Fuhrer is the only player to win our regional grand slam in his career - the West Penn Amateur and Open, and the Pennsylvania Amateur (1977 and 1992) and the Pennsylvania Open (1986). A long-time member of Oakmont and the Pittsburgh Field Club, his amateur career was highlighted by the 1981 season when he was ranked as the country’s #2 amateur by Golf Digest. This season included winning the Western Amateur, the only area player to do so, and competing on the Walker Cup team. Fuhrer played professional golf for nearly a decade, including seasons on the PGA Tour. He also reached the quarterfinals in the 1996 US Mid-Amateur. An All-ACC and All-American at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, the Association’s award for the region’s outstanding collegiate player is named in his honor.

Marino Parascenzo began covering golf for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1975 and continued for three decades. His numerous accolades include more than twenty national awards. Augusta National Golf Club presented Parascenzo with the 2015 Masters Major Achievement Award during the 2015 Masters Tournament. He also received the Tri-State PGA’s Distinguished Service Award in 1997. In addition to his tireless presence at local events, he covered all of golf’s major championships, and has covered the game in nearly a dozen countries. His writings include a history of Oakmont Country Club written for its 2003 centennial. Parascenzo’s articles have appeared in publications such as Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and the USGA’s Golf Journal.

Edit: The article was corrected to add John Birmingham's victories in the 1964 West Penn Open and 1966 Tri-State Open, and Bob Ford competing in ten PGA Championships. The Western Pennsylvania Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony has been rescheduled for Thursday, October 6, at Oakmont Country Club.