The Gaston County Amateur Golf Tournament tees off at 8:30 a.m. Friday at Catawba Creek Golf Course in Gastonia. This is the 44th year of the event, which began in 1970 and, after a brief three-year hiatus, has been held every year since 1983.

Proceeds from the event benefit Cancer Services of Gaston County, an organization which works to provide information and assistance to local residents fighting cancer. Last year, the golf tournament raised $60,000 for Cancer Services of Gaston County. Here are five storylines we’re watching this year. 

1. More drama?

We’ve had a great two-year run of down-to-the-last-shot finishes at the Gaston County Amateur. In 2015, Avery Price defeated his then-Forestview High School teammate Madison Duffie by one stroke. Last year, the tournament went to a playoff for the first time since 2004, and Alex Cauble came out with the win over Patrick Horneman. We’ll see if this year’s tournament can match the late drama Sunday at Gaston Country Club.

2. Former champs look to rack up more titles

The field features some golfers who know what it takes to win this tournament. Todd Stafford is always a threat to take home a title. He won his first championship in 2005 by four strokes, then added first place finishes in 2008, 2011 and 2012. His son Nick is now an All-American golfer at Belmont-Abbey.

Cauble, the defending champ, is back in the field, as is 2007 champion Mike Crumbley (who beat a young Harold Varner III that year), 2004 winner Jonathan McDonald and 1991 champ Larry Beaver.

3. Brad Mulkey hopes for his breakthrough

Mulkey has finished as the runner-up in the tournament twice, most recently in 2014. In the last two years, he’s been near the top of the leaderboard heading into Sunday, but hasn’t quite been able to pull out that elusive win. He’ll go after it again Friday morning when he tees off on the first hole on Catawba Creek.

4. Joe Davis on a roll 

Davis has taken three straight senior titles, and will look to make it four in a row this year. He’ll have to contend with a field that includes Tom Polito, the 2012 and 2013 senior champion, as well as Beaver, the ‘91 Amateur champion. 

5. Gary Robinson continues his remarkable streak

This is consecutive year number 32 for Robinson, whose streak started in 1986, just four years after the tournament returned from its hiatus. Since then, 17 different golfers have won a Gaston County Amateur championship.

 

Jack Flagler: jflagler@gastongazette.com. Twitter: @jflagler