GARDEN CITY, N.J. (May 20, 2012) -- Hands stopped at five minutes to midnight, the inexorable march of Big Ben was halted at the 102nd Walter J. Travis Invitational as Long Island's Joe Saladino defeated 2010 Travis champion "Big Ben" Hayes 2 & 0 in the tournament final at fabled Garden City Golf Club. Saladino took a 1-up lead with a 35-foot birdie putt at the par-3 second hole and never trailed, claiming his first Travis championship and erasing the memories of a final-round loss in 2008. Both Saladino and Hayes are 1-1 in championship matches at the Travis and 7-1 in championship bracket play overall.
"It's the greatest win of my life. I've won a lot of events here in the area, but this is the biggest," confided the long-time Metropolitan Golf Association star. "There is so much history in this tournament and at Garden City, and it's such a great competition, this is definitely it, my biggest win ever." Saladino then sat back, smiled broadly, and took a long swig of one of Bob the bartender's vodka Southsiders while the table around him cheered.
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