Rain-Delayed Senior Four-Ball Sees Exciting Finish
ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The 26th Pennsylvania Senior Four-Ball Championship saw a nearly three-hour delay in Tuesday's second round at Lehigh Country Club. But once the storm rolled through, Lehigh's own Bob Beck birdied the 18th hole just before the end of the daylight, earning him and teammate Bill Charpek a tie for the senior division title with Diamond Run Golf Club's Bob Crnjarich and John Rodney. The two teams each shot a 36-hole total of 5-under par 135 to tie for the win in the championship, which was sponsored by LECOM.
In the Super-Senior division, Robin McCool and Craig Scott went to a playoff earlier in the afternoon against defending champions Paul Schlachter and Todd Kennedy. On the third playoff hole, McCool made a five-footer for birdie to clinch the win and a new pair of champions.
"This is a great course, a classic Flynn design, and it's one of our favorite places to play," Scott said. "We're excited to win this championship here."
After an opening round of even par 70, Crnjarich and Rodney posted the round of the day, finishing just before the rain delay started at 4:25 p.m. The duo didn't make any bogeys, which was pretty impressive especially as neither man had played the golf course prior to Monday's opening round.
Their Tuesday round, the low of the day, began when Rodney made birdie on the opening hole. Crnjanich hit his approach to two feet on the 388-yard par four 5th hole and then converted the putt for another red number. On No. 8, it was Crnjarich again with the putt for birdie, this time from 10 feet. On the back side, Crnjarich rolled in a 25-footer on the par-3 13th to get the pair to 4-under par. On that side's other par 3, No. 16, Rodney had an easy time of it after he almost aced the 180-yard tee shot. After a pair of safe pars, the team carded a round of 65 and was in the clubhouse lead.
"This is a lovely course and a lovely club," Crnjarich said. "It was great to be out here the past two days."
For Beck and Charpek, an opening round 69 left them four shots back. Early birdies by Charpek (No. 5) and Beck (No. 6) got them to 3-under for the event. But a setback bogey on the 7th hole left them with a bit of a deficit to make up. That set the stage for a back nine where they had three birdies to tie for the top spot. First, Charpek, of Merion Golf Club, made birdie on No. 10. Beck then got a birdie of his own on No. 14. But heading to the par-4 18th, the pair knew that they needed a birdie as they'd seen the score posted by Crnjarich and Rodney earlier in the day. Beck, the Lehigh Country Club veteran, came through in the clutch, draining a birdie putt and forcing the tie. Due to the lack of daylight after the nearly three-hour delay, both teams were awarded a tie for the championship.
The Super-Senior division finished earlier in the day, meaning that they could have a playoff after a tie for the top spot. McCool, of Saucon Valley Country Club, and Scott, of Huntingdon Valley Country Club, had an opening round 67 but still trailed Don Donatoni and Carl Everett by two strokes. A birdie by McCool on the fourth hole got them into red numbers for the day. They started the back nine with Scott rolling in a birdie on No. 10. Then it was McCool's turn, as he knocked in back to back birdies on the 12th and 13th holes. After a bogey on No. 17, the team was able to bounce back as McCool took advantage of a nice approach that led to another birdie on the 18th to get to 7-under par for the championship.
"Our game plan was to be on as many greens as possible together," McCool said. "We played very well and putted well today."
But to be the champs, you have to beat the champs, and for much of the day, it was unclear as to whether McCool and Scott would be able to accomplish that. Schlachter and Kennedy followed up an opening round 68 with a bogey-free second round. Kennedy made birdie on No. 4 and Schlachter did the same on the ninth. But with three more shots to make up and just five holes to do it, the pressure was on. Schlachter was up to the challenge, though, as he birdied the par-4 14th, the par-3 16th and the par-4 18th to put the team in the clubhouse at 133 (-7).
After each team made pars on the first two playoff holes, McCool's birdie putt from five feet on the third playoff hole ended both the competition and the title defense for Schlachter and Kennedy.
"For two days I'd say we played pretty solid as a pair," Scott said. "I think we only a couple of hiccups out there over the two days of play."
The Pennsylvania Golf Association would like to thank the staff and membership of Lehigh Country Club for their hospitality during the championship.