Fletcher & Hathway Win N.Y.S. Men's Senior Amateur Titles
FAYETTEVILLE, N.Y. -- On the second playoff hole, at the beautiful Onondaga Golf and Country Club, Tom Fletcher knocked down a birdie to surpass two-day leader Don Enga and became the 59th New York State Men’s Senior Amateur Champion.
Fletcher, a Syracuse native who plays out of Tuscarora GC, started off the day with bogeys on holes two, three and four. Things almost slipped away from him on the 5th hole, but he was able to get up-and-down from a bunker and then stuck a 9-iron to about 3 feet on the par-3 6th to build momentum.
“I got off to a bad start, but I played the last fourteen holes 1-under,” Fletcher said. “I played really solid.”
When asked about his thoughts going into today’s final round Fletcher stated, “I said to myself, if you can shoot maybe one or two over you’re probably going to be there”.
Fletcher started the day fifth on the leaderboard, four strokes behind Enga (2015 NYSGA Associate Member). He carded a 2-over 73 in the final round for a 54-hole total of 7-over 220 (75-72-73).
Enga made the turn at 2-over and seemed to be battling fellow competitor Stew McGough (Bellevue CC) for the Bill Stark Trophy. McGough was 2-over through nine as well and just two strokes back of Enga. A few bounces didn’t go Enga’s way on the back and he finished the last four holes 3-over to post a 77, which forced the playoff.
The playoff began on the 18th hole, which is an uphill 350-yard par-4. Both contenders bogeyed the hole and made their way to #1, a short downhill par-4. Each player had a chance for birdie, but Enga just slightly missed the hole and Fletcher knocked down his 10-footer. “It felt nice to make a putt I needed to win.”
McGough finished tied for third with Matthew Haefele (Stafford Country Club) and Joe Valvo (2015 NYSGA Associate Member) after 54-hole totals of 221, one stroke shy of the playoff.
Haefele, who won the title in 2009 at Stafford CC, posted the best two consecutive rounds of the tournament. After an opening round 78, he made up a lot of ground with an even-par 71 on Wednesday and tied today’s low round of 1-over 72.
John Hathway bettered competitor and two-day leader, Woody Arnold, in the final round to win the 20th New York State Super-Senior Amateur Championship. Hathaway posted a final round 6-over 77 for a 54-hole total of 225 to inch past Arnold by 1-stroke. Arnold carded a 9-over 80 in the final round.
Hathway (2015 NYSGA Associate Member) from Brantingham Lake, was sitting two strokes behind Arnold after both of the first two rounds. His only birdie came on the very first hole. He then made an up-and-down for par on the brutal uphill par-4 2nd. This early confidence, gained from those initial holes, was enough for him to persist through the tough final day layout.
“I try not to focus on the people I’m playing. I try to play only the golf course,” said Hathway.
Hathway has finished in the top-10 at the Super-Senior in the last two years. He closed tied for 10th at Normanside Country Club in 2013 and was tied for 5th at Cedar Lake Club in 2014. When asked about the difference between past years and this year, he replied, “I’ve had some good days and I’ve had some bad days. I was able to play steadily for three days, which really helps.”
Hathway played steady for most of his 54-holes, except for the par-4 5th which he doubled the first day and tripled the second. “I really wanted to blow the fifth hole up after the first two days, but I parred it today.”
Arnold (Park Country Club) had a troublesome front nine with two doubles and four bogeys, sitting 8-over at the turn. He didn’t find a rhythm until the final two holes where he dropped consecutive 25-foot and 35-foot birdies in stunning fashion. Unfortunately, the strong finish was not quite enough to force a playoff decision.
Defending champion Randy Young (Bellevue CC) was in the lead group just two strokes back to start the day, but finished the tournament in fourth at 229 (74-74-81).
Alan Foster (Bellevue CC), one of only three players in NYSGA history to win the N.Y.S. Men’s Amateur (1975), Mid-Amateur (1992 and 1995) and Senior Amateur (2003), finished in third after improving each day; he carded a 77-76-74 for a 54-hole total of 227. Foster won the Super-Senior title in 2009 at Stafford CC.
Dan Thompson, NYSGA Intern