“I shot 72-70—142 last year from the back tees so from the way I was playing, I envisioned shooting as well as 5-under this year,” Hartley explained. “And I had that kind of start on Saturday, putting a 69 on the card even though we had as much as 20 miles-per-hour winds. I stood on No. 7 Saturday, 3-under and did not play that poorly on the back although I did start missing putts I usually make. But, I still led by three Sunday morning.”
Hartley admitted to getting off to a shaky start on the final day.
“I parred No. 1 (a par 5 hole) which was not a good omen with my length,” he admitted. “But I hung in there and even made a putt on No. 7, a 10-footer mind-you. Unfortunately, it would be the only decent putt I made until I got to 18.”
Before it was all over, Max Berry would deal himself into the game. He pulled to within one stroke on the strength of an eagle on No. 11. When the three players stood on 12 tee, the two former Redmen were tied and Berry was one-down.
All three had their chances on the way in. Hartley kept either rimming out or just plain missing putts that could have re-built his lead while Pressler bogeyed both 12 and 13. Hartley, however, could not stand prosperity and proved it when he hooked his drive on 17 (He is a left-hander.) into the woods. He salvaged a bogey 5 but then hooked his tee ball again on 18, the 36th and final hole. Somehow he got his third shot into the green-side bunker and wedged it to within 20 feet.
In the meantime, Pressler was also having his troubles but recovered with a near impossible flop shot from the left side of 18 green, the ball stopping two-inches from the hole.
“All I know is I had to get that 20-footer down to avoid sudden death and I wanted no part of that,” Hartley assured. “And all I could think of standing over that putt was this is the guy who couldn’t previously buy a putt.”
This one went down, however. Sudden-death avoided.
Pressler, 21, who plays golf at Malone College and is one year older than Hartley despite the fact that they graduated together, showed 72-70—141 numbers, Berry eventually penciled in his second straight 3-over 74. His problems in the end allowed the steady-playing 52-year-old Rod Bordman to finish third after rounds of 75-72—147.
Meanwhile, the 56-year-old Bleile went wire-to-wire for her seventh title, a win that pushed her past her mother, Carolyn Spaar, for tournament wins.
“I changed my swing plain and was off for four weeks,” Bleile explained. “I started playing last week and really felt good about the change. I saw it as a change in tempo. I feel more relaxed and because of that making better contact.
“Saturday was as good as I can play,” she admitted. “I hit 15 of 18 greens in shooting that 73. My birdies came on 10 and 18, both from around six feet.”
It was not as good on Sunday. She played the front in 3-over but when she missed a three-foot putt on 10, there was some apprehension, a feeling that added up to a 44 coming home, a side that included a triple-bogey on 17 after she cranked out one of her longest drives of the weekend.
“I must have hit the 150-yard stake with the drive because the ball had to have gone into the woods,” she stated.
Bleile had nothing but praise for Schneider.
“She is headed to college where she will hone what is already a very strong game. Before it is over, she will be a force back here at Eagle Creek if for no other reason than her length off the tee. She played much better than what her score indicated.”
CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT – Isaac Hartley 69-72—141, Thomas Pressler 72-70—142, Rod Bordman 75-72—147, Max Berry 74-74—148, Craig Meyer 74-77-151, Brian Roe 77-75—152, Todd Brown 76-77-153, Brayden Nunez 78-77—155, Billy Terry 79-78—157, Roger Tolley 79-74—158, Steve Schneider 81-81—162, Chase Hicks 86-80—166, Mason Berry 89-82—171.
A FLIGHT – Gary Mackay 77-75—152, Mark Crawford 78-78—156, John Ray 78-81—159, Ken Bleile 81-80—161, Tom Sharpnack 84-81—165, (Tie) Mel Holida 86-81—167 and Rob Myers 77-90-167, Brian Guerrier 83-86—169, Alberto Yoguez 83-87—170, Rickard Brooker 86-85—171, Jim Loughton 86-90—176, Eric Schneider 84-96—180, Tim Nickoli 93-90—183.
B FLIGHT – Charlie Brown 84-83—167 (Won on first playoff hole over Rick Brooker (91-76—167), Steve Schenko 85-83—168, Kevin McCrann 89-85—174, Tom Nestor 82-95—177, Eric Bright 93-85—178, Tom Mowery 89-94—183.
C FLIGHT – Al Koontz 89-81—170, Ralph Hedrick 86-91—177, Bill Collins 100-78—178, Steve Pittenger 90-93—183, Chuck Furey 94-95—189, Shane Hicks 101-93—194, Gene Miller 107-88—195, (Tie) Russ Brooker 98-102-200 and Zac Risner 100-100—200, Larry Hanneman 103-101—204, Tom Schubert 101-105-206.
SENIOR CHAMPION – Rod Bordman
SUPER SENIOR CHAMPION – Billy Terry