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Richardson Invitational

57th ANNUAL RICHARDSON INVITATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SEAWANE CLUB - HEWLETT HARBOR, NY May 5-7, 2005 6, 628 yards - Par 72

23 year old Jimmy Hazen of St. Georges Golf & Country Club burnished an already-bright golf resume by posting a solid victory in the 2005 Richardson Invitational Golf Championship at the Seawane Club in Hewlett Harbor, NY on Saturday. Hazen won the title with a steady 4 & 3 victory in the final match over 2001 winner Matt Corrigan of the Nassau Players Club. The day was sunny, cold and had the usual strong spring south shore wind, but from an unusual direction: the east, with the remains of the previous night’s nor’easter. Hazen had five birdies in the 15 holes, including two right out of the gate to go two up. Corrigan birdied the 291 yard fourth, a match play gem of a hole, to cut the lead in half. The lead returned to two when Hazen birdied the par five sixth, and dropped to one again on the number one handicap seventh, when Hazen bogied. After they traded par threes on the short 8th into the wind, Corrigan posted his second birdie on nine to make the turn all square.

The next three holes gave Hazen an insurmountable lead: he birdied the tenth, sticking a short iron to 10 feet (six inches in the fringe) on the 10th’s frighteningly-shallow green, and Corrigan slightly over-cooked a drawing utility wood on the 186 yard 11th, running his ball just into a high-grassed mound behind the green and being unable to get up and down. Corrigan followed with his second consecutive bogie on the 12th hole’s nasty green and the lead was three.

They halved the unusually-benign 13th out to the point with pars (the hole played downwind for once), and the 210 yard par three14th back into the teeth of the wind was also halved with bogies (Corrigan hit driver on this hole and the 204 yard par three fifth.). The long par five 15th would end the match: Hazen pushed his drive into the rough and mounds area to the right of the fairway, was granted a drop from an area of old netting (which had been used to stabilize the turf on the mounds, installed as part of that hole’s renovation two years ago), and dropped into a deep lie, with the top of the ball below the level of the grass. Hazen then proceeded to muscle a three iron well down the fairway, a shot most golfers would not dream of, and even most high-level amateurs do not have the strength and clubhead speed to pull off. He subsequently hit a precise wedge pitch that checked 15 feet from the hole, and drained the putt for birdie and the championship.

In the morning semi-finals, Hazen and Corrigan both posted two and one wins, Hazen over 1990 Richardson Champion Jonny Doppelt of Fresh Meadow CC, and Corrigan over Steve Ferngren of Glen Cove GC.

In the Senior Masters Division, Steve Rose of Fresh Meadow CC won his second title in this division in the past three years by beating Rick Schmidt of Suffolk Players Club, three and two. Rose, runner-up in last year’s Long Island Amateur Championship, held a lead of three holes through much of the match, but Schmidt played 13 and 14 particularly well to cut the lead back to one. On 15, he received a bad break when his second shot try for the green (after a terrific drive well down the fairway) ran into a back bunker and a bad lie, and the match ended on the next hole.

Friday’s results from the first day of match play: Former Richardson Invitational Champions Matt Corrigan and Jon Doppelt, former LIGA Amateur Stroke Play Champion Jimmy Hazen, and former golf professional Steven Ferngren all advanced through two rounds of match play to the semifinals of the 57th annual Richardson Invitational Championship on Friday. On a cold and raw early spring day on the south shore, they successfully dealt with steady 15-20 mile an hour winds and the superb conditioning and championship set-up of the Seawane Club’s golf course, now finished with a multi-year renovation which significantly toughened it and drastically changed its appearance. The surprise match of the day was the 22 hole struggle between medalist and former US Mid-Amateur Champion (and four time Richardson winner) George Zahringer and 16th seed Hans Albertsson of the Piping Rock Club. Immediately after his hard-fought victory, Zahringer withdrew from his quarterfinal match with Ferngren, stating that he was concerned about aggravating a knee injury. In the Senior Masters Division, medalist and former Richardson Senior Masters Champion Steve Rose and former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Rick Schmidt each won their quarterfinal and semifinal matches.

In Thursday’s opening qualifier, former four time Richardson Champion and 2003 US Mid-Amateur Champion George Zahringer of Deepdale GC was medalist at 71, despite pulling his first tee ball out of bounds into the Seawane Club’s tennis court (he made three on his second ball on the par four hole). Former Richardson Senior Masters Division Champion Steve Rose was medalist in that division with 76. All competitors were effusive in their praise for the course conditions and championship set-up.

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