LANCASTER, Pa. - A true championship course like Lancaster Country Club deserves an event worthy of its pedigree, and the 57th Pennsylvania Senior Amateur Championship certainly lived up to that billing, as Scott Mayne edged Oscar Mestre and a host of others to win the 36-hole event with a score of 145 (+5). It is Mayne's first career win in the event, which was presented by Allegheny Health Network.
"I struggled a bit in the beginning of the round but it was really more about bad breaks," said Mayne, of Deer Run Golf Club. "I had some really rotten lies, had a ball in the middle of a divot and it just seemed like it was one thing after another."
Mayne got it together, though, playing the last six holes in 1-under par to break free of a logjam that included nine golfers finishing within five shots of the lead.
"I felt like I was playing well on the front despite my score," Mayne said. "And then on No. 10 I hit a great drive and a great second shot, and that just got me into a groove."
Heading into No. 18, the 36th and final hole of the championship, Mayne and Mestre, of Overbrook Golf Club, were tied at 5-over par. Mestre was playing in front of Mayne, however, so as Mayne looked at his approach from 150 yards, he wasn't sure where he stood. But he pulled out his 9-iron and smoothly hit to about six feet, and as he walked up to the green, he saw an updated leaderboard that reflected Mestre's result - a bogey on No. 18.
"At that point I knew all I had to do was two-putt from six feet," Mayne said.
And that he did, as he tapped in for his par to win the championship, which was held at the classic William Flynn design for the first time since 1993. Mestre, meanwhile, came into the championship looking to find his way after being out of commission for most of the past month with a torn tendon in his right ring finger. But after an opening round score of 72 and a solid first eight holes in round two, he was at the top of the leaderboard. Even after making double bogey on No. 9 and bogey on No. 10, Mestre still clawed back to reclaim the lead after a birdie on No. 13. But bogeys on No. 15 and then on the final hole ended up relegating Mestre to runner-up status.
"I thought I lost it, then I brought it back, then I thought I lost it again and then I brought it back again," Mestre said of his emotions during the afternoon. "But I hit a lot of good shots under pressure, which is the way to test one's self during competition, so i can't complain."
Mestre's injury may have kept him off the golf course, but that could've fooled a lot of golfers this week, as he was at or near the top of the leaderboard for most of the event.
"If you told me at the beginning of the week that I'd be competitive here after my injury, I wouldn't have believed you," Mestre said. "I just wanted to get out here and compete because sitting on the sidelines has been torture."
For awhile, it looked like it was Glenn Smeraglio's tournament to lose. Smeraglio, of Lu Lu Country Club, shot a 72 in round one and then shot even par on the front nine to top the leaderboard. At that point, he held a two-stroke lead on Mestre as well as Craig Kliewer and J. Kirk Luntey. However, Smeraglio carded five bogeys on the back nine and finished at 147 (+7), just two shots off the pace.
Also tying for third place with Smeraglio were Seven Oaks Country Club's Stan Namola and Briarwood Golf Club's Greg Osborne. Namola bounced back from an opening round of 77 to shoot 70 in round two, which was the low round for the championship. Osborne, meanwhile, made three birdies in round two but had back-to-back double bogeys on No. 9 and No. 10 that proved costly.
Kliwer, of Honeybrook Golf Club, and Luntey, of Merion Golf Club, tied for sixth place with four-time event winner Paul Schlachter of The Club at Nevillewood, at 149 (+9). Schlachter rallied back after Monday's round of 78 to notch three birdies en route to a second round score of 71, but it was too little, too late.
The shot of the tournament belonged to Mike Atkins, who aced the par-3 17th from 166 yards in Monday's opening round. It was the first hole-in-one of Atkins's career.
In the Team Championship, the Senior Division was won by Deer Run Golf Club, consisting of Mayne, William Chase and Edward Knoll. The Super-Senior Team Championship went to Hannastown Golf Club, led by Super-Senior winner Mike McGuire and clubmates Bob Allshouse and Dave DeNezza.
The Pennsylvania Golf Association would like to thank the staff and membership of Lancaster Country Club for their hospitality during the championship.
View results for Pennsylvania Senior Amateur Golf Championship