Net winners Mark Schaefer (left top) and Jeff Potter
Senior champs Paul Batchelor (lower left) and Steven Ward
BANDON, Oregon (May 4, 2015) -- Both divisions came down to the wire today at Bandon Dunes for today's final round of the AmateurGolf.com Two Man Links Championship.
In the Senior Division, Paul Batchelor and his partner Steven Ward of Canada closed with their second-consecutive 71 to edge John O'Connor and James Schrempf of Arizona by three over 54 holes with a total of 4-over 218.
The victory is no doubt being watched from afar by Batchelor's original partner, Brian McGuire, who had to withdraw after injuring his knee in a fall at Pt. Grey Country Club.
As seems to be the "way things go" in AmateurGolf.com events, players who have late registrations, partner changes, or other stories tend to get good karma on the course, and that's what happened to Steven Ward who made the trip cross continent from Nova Scotia to play with his old golf buddy Paul Batchelor. Batchelor is a former provincial champion of Nova Scotia who relocated to British Columbia to work for the Vancouver Sun newspaper.
Finishing behind Senior runners-up O'Connor and Schrempf (part of a three group contingency from Arizona that also have Canadian roots) was the California duo of D.J. Lee and David Parker, and two-time defending champions Sherman Haggerty and Ben Whipple, who tied for third at 222.
In another close race, Jeff Potter of Rancho Santa Margarita, California and partner Mark Schaefer of Sammamish, Wash. stayed the course and won wire-to-wire despite a strong challenge from several teams, including their final round playing partners Charles and Mason Mazzola. The Mazzolas, a father-son team, got to 6-under after 12 holes and took a two shot lead, but couldn't keep the torrid pace through the final six holes.
Potter and Schaefer, like several teams in the tournament, have moved to different locations but continue to get together for "buddy trips" and tournaments like this one. That kind of camaraderie came in handy down the stretch today at Bandon Dunes.
The previous evening at our tournament dinner, Schaefer demonstrated the skills he honed in a prior career as a headlining Las Vegas magician. He wowed the audience with trick after trick, and still has this writer wondering how the 10 cards in my top pocket turned into 13.
Bart Goldie and Jamie Rector, who like the Mazzola team play out of Oakland, California's Sequoyah Country Club, slid into second place after firing 67 in the last round; the Mazzola's grabbed third. In fourth place was the team of Reggie Griggs and Andrew Zacks (believe it or not, also from Sequoyah) who turned a disappointing front nine of 1-over 37 into a nice 67 by firing a best-ball 6-under 30 on the back nine.
Special thanks to Tournament Director Jake Wiese and the entire staff at Bandon Dunes for making the trip (our fourteenth) so enjoyable. The 15th Annual, tentatively scheduled for mid-May 2016, will be epic, so start thinking about it now.
View results for AmateurGolf.com 2015 Two Man Links Championship