Tak­ing home a crys­tal tro­phy

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Twit­ter: @SOMDhab­s­fan

No. 14 and made par but still thought I would have lost one [stroke] there be­cause it’s an easy par-5 to birdie. But then I was able to hit it to within a foot on 15 and that kind of bal­anced it out to keep me in it.”

Val­land­ing­ham drained a 20-footer on No. 17 and then drilled his tee shot on 18 to get it close to seal the deal.

“I hit a lot of greens and that gave me a lot of looks for birdies,” said Nie­mann, who grad­u­ated from North­ern High School in 2008. “I didn’t hit them all [for birdies] and I made a few and a cou­ple silly mis­takes gave Tracy a chance and he cap­i­tal­ized with a few birdies. And that was the dif­fer­ence be­tween us two. He’s a re­ally good player and he’s a lot of fun to watch.”

Nie­mann led at the turn, but bo­geys on Nos. 10 and 11 opened the door for Val­lanand­ing­ham.

“He con­tin­ued to hit fair­ways and greens and he started mak­ing putts,” said Nie­mann, who has three top-5 fin­ishes the past four years. “It’s kind of hard to catch a guy who’s do­ing that. I made a cou­ple birdies com­ing in, but it wasn’t enough when he wasn’t let­ting off the gas pedal.”

Mark Cu­sic of Cal­i­for­nia and Tyler Koch of Is­sue, who held a two-stroke lead at the 14th hole, each fin­ished with a three-day score of 217. Cas Dick­er­son of Bel Al­ton and Bill Jen­ner of La Plata were two shots back at 219.

“I didn’t re­ally putt the ball very well all week,” said Dick­er­son, who grad­u­ated from McDonough High School in 2012 and just grad­u­ated from Tow­son Uni­ver­sity. “I hit it ver y good for 54 holes but did not putt the ball I way I should have to keep my­self in con­tention. Not re­ally sure [why] to be hon­est with you; I just didn’t feel very good over the putts. I hit it very well for three days; just didn’t putt it ver y well.”

Robert Vanni birdied three of his first seven holes on the day to fin­ish with a 216 and win the first flight.

“I knew if I came in here and played my game I’d have a chance to com­pete and I did,” said Vanni, who grew up in Bryan­town, grad­u­ated from St. Mary’s Ryken High School in 2011 and re­cently grad­u­ated from Florida Gulf Coast Uni­ver­sity. “I left some putts out there, but I haven’t played a tour­na­ment in a while so it felt good I could play at a good level.”

Tall Tim­bers res­i­dent Jay Dove grabbed sec­ond place with a 222 and Rusty Hall of Wal­dorf was six strokes back in third place.

Corey Gates of Me­chan­icsville won the sec­ond flight thanks in large part where he birdied four holes in a six-hole span on the front nine on Sun­day to fin­ish with a 227. Port Repub­lic’s Christo­pher Simp­son (231) and Erik Koch of Is­sue (232) were sec­ond and third, re­spec­tively.

Brian Gar­ner of La Plata shot a 37 on the back nine Sun­day to win the third flight with a 239, five strokes ahead of Tommy Bowes of Val­ley Lee. Michael Vanni of Vi­enna, Va., took third (247).

The fourth flight was claimed by Colin O’Neill of Cal­i­for­nia af­ter he fin­ished with a 255, one stroke bet­ter than run­ner-up Stephen Mun­ley of St. Ini­goes. Prince Fred­er­ick’s Ray Sim­mons carded a 265.

The clos­est flight was the fifth where five strokes sep­a­rated the top-3 fin­ish­ers. Leonard­town’s Peter John­son won with 265, while Chris Dyson of Hol­ly­wood (267) was sec­ond and Eric Kerig, also of Leonard­town, was third (271).

If there’s such a thing as win­ning at the wire in golf, Joe Fen­lon did ex­actly that to win the Se­nior Cham­pi­onship. The La Plata res­i­dent trailed Jim Hicks by a stroke head­ing to the 18th tee but pulled out the win when he birdied the hole and Hicks bo­geyed it.

“It’s awe­some,” said Fen­lon, 62, who has won six cham­pi­onships, in­clud­ing the last two. “We have a good se­nior team that plays in lo­cal tour­na­ments so to play and beat those guys that many times is an honor.”

Fen­lon, a re­tired po­lice of­fi­cer who plays three times a week at Bre­ton Bay, had four birdies on the fi­nal day, in­clud­ing the crit­i­cal one when he carded a four on No. 18.

De­spite the loss, Hicks won the first se­nior flight with a 221, three strokes bet­ter than run­ner-up Layne Pon­der of Lex­ing­ton Park.

Wayne Clarke of Hol­ly­wood took third with a three-day to­tal of 229.

Leonard­town’s Steve Wolfe shot a 242 to win the se­nior sec­ond flight by eight strokes over Mike Fos­ter of Edge­wa­ter. Wil­liam Dip­pel of Loth­ian was a stroke back in third place.

Tom Phe­lan of Hol­ly­wood (Se­nior Flight 3, 270) and Dick Stearns of Cle­ments (Su­per Se­nior flight, 248) also chalked up wins.

Ryan Stearns of Leonard­town won the ju­nior flight with a 247, one stroke bet­ter than DJ Lit­tle­ford of Me­chan­icsville.

STAFF PHOTO BY MICHAEL REID

Jim Hicks of White Plains chips onto the green on his way to a win in the Se­nior Divi­sion’s Flight 1 Sun­day at the South­ern Mary­land Am­a­teur Golf Tour­na­ment at Bre­ton Bay Golf & Coun­try Club in Leonard­town.

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