The area's competitive golf season will begin in earnest Thursday with the 32nd renewal of the Belle Haven Four Ball Invitational.

Young and confident collegians Matt Sughrue and Eddie Offerdinger will defend their title in the betterball scratch event.

The final last year had a memorable conclusion. Sughrue and Offterdinger were three holes up with three holes remaining against Dave Wysong and two-time U.S. Amateur champion Vinny Giles when torrential rain struck, forcing golfers and gallery to flee to the clubhouse.

Completing the match that day seemed impossible because, an hour later, with darkness closing in, the hard rain continued.

Lawyer Giles had an appointment in his hometown, Richmond, the following day so playing the final three holes then was out.

Since, being three down, losing seemed inevitable, wouldn't it be logical for Giles and Wysong to concede the match? It was discussed, but getting Giles to concede is like asking Rosie Ruiz to admit she didn't complete the Boston Marathon. "Vinny would never concede," said the tournament chairman, Bob Hanson. So, with the rain still falling, the four sloshed back to the course and Offerdinger brought the match to a quick conclusion on the par-5 16th hole by sinking a 12-foot birdie putt.

Former Belle Haven winner Marty West, who will play in the $400,000 Kemper Open at Congressional at the end of May, will team with Bobby Morris of Montgomery Village in this Belle Haven.

Other strong pairings are airline pilots George Andre and Hal Gould, Henri deLozier and Tony Ciconte, Charlie Holden and Wayne Jackson, Mike Richter and Eric Smith, Dave King and Dave Pelz, and Schoolboy and Worsham winner Webb Heintzelman and brother Wade.

Ralph Bogart, who teamed with Bobby Brownwell to win here seven times, will compete with son Bruce.

Kemper Open chairman Ben Brundred says rumors that the tournament is sold out should be disregarded. Rumors of a sellout before the 1976 PGA at the River Road club hurt sales. Tickets are available at 13 outlets, including the club and the Kemper office at 6400 Golsboro Rd., Bethesda.

In the Kemper fold already are Tom Watson, Gary Player, Lee Trevino and John Mahaffey. Bundred claims Arnold Palmer is on the verge of entering and, "We've got the Spanish ambassador (to Washington) working on getting Seve Ballesteros here."

Jack Nicklaus is doubtful because of the huge work load involved in staging his own Memorial Tournament the previous week at Muirfield Village Ohio.

Larry Nelson, who quietly won $281,000 for second-leading money honors on the PGA Tour last year, again headdlines the $10,000 Fellowship of Christian Athletes pro-am May 26 at Country Club of Fairfax. The Tournament, which debuted in September here last year, has been switched to the more ideal Memorial Day date to draw players coming in to play the Kemper later in the week.

Seventy-year-old Hugh McLellan will retire at the end of May after 20 yers as head pro at Glenn Dale near Greenbelt, but he isn't hanging up his spikes. "I plan to enjoy my retirement and play a lot of golf," said the Scotsman, a pro 50 years.

Tom Smack, scourge of the Middle Atlantic PGA pro-ams who last year broke away for a venture in staging international pro-ams, returns to the area as new head pro of the executive Pine Shore course five miles west of Ocean City, Md.

Mickey Mantlee, Joe Theismann and John Belushi are among those entered to play in the Norm Crosby "Help America Hear" celebrity tournament at Washington June 21-22.