Penn Senior Am: Irey prevails by one

PRESTO, Pa. (Aug. 7, 2008)--The Club at Nevillewood produced two champions on a day that threatened sever thunderstorms, and possible cancellation, all morning.

In the end Roc Irey won the 49th Senior Amateur Championship with a two-under-par 142.

"We were lucky to even be playing today (with all of the weather surrounding the Pittsburgh area)," said Irey. "It is very satisfying to play this well with 2 great competitors."

This is the first state Championship for Roc Irey. This was his second try at the State Senior Amateur.

For the Championship Division there was a trio of leaders, all tied at 2-under-par, Paul Schlachter of Nevillewood, Pa., Joe Ruby of Uniontown, Pa., and Roc Irey of Furlong, Pa.

The Club at Nevillewood, par 72, 6833 yards, was a true test for the two-day event. The course played very different from the first round to the second. It was hard and fast the first day, and soggy and long the second.

Paul Schlachter, fresh off of his club championship win on Sunday, started the day off strong moving to 4-under-par for the tournament with a birdie on the 514 yard, par 4, 7th hole. Irey and Ruby never let him out of their sites though. Roc only one shot back at that point and Joe Ruby two shots back.

Irey and Schlachter were tied at one-under-par through 10 holes when Roc three putted the 395 yard, par 4, eleventh, to bogey and give Paul the outright lead.

Roc proceeded to birdie numbers 12, 542 yard, par 5, and 14, 423 yard, par 4, to take the lead.

It all came down to the 18th tee ball. The 415 yard, par 4 leading back to the beautiful clubhouse at Nevillewood, proved to be the hardest hole on the course for the Championship. The stroke average for the two days was 4.78.

All three players put their shots in the fairway, with Irey being the furthest drive. Schlachter placed his approach about 18 feet behind the hole.

"I never really thought I had a grasp on the lead, until the last hole in the fairway," said Irey.

His approach landed just inside Schlachter’s shot, with a little different angle.

Schlachter just missed his putt on the high side and tapped in for a one-under-par 143.

"My putting won this championship. As bad as I was striking the ball, I really scored well," said Irey.

Roc’s first putt went passed the hole about 4 feet, and he didn’t waste any time with the come back. He didn’t want to think about it. He drained it to win the Championship.

"I just wanted to play well, to impress my 9 & Dine Partner," said Roc.

The Super-Senior division was won by an astounding five shots. Phil Saylor of Johnstown, Pa., carded a 1-under-par 71 in the first round, to come into the day with the lead, and he never looked back. He finished with a 1-over-par 145 to take the championship.

Jim Sherratt of Montgomeryville, Pa., and Don Lamb of Pittsburgh, Pa., tied for second place with six-over-par 150’s.

The 2009 Senior Amateur Championship will be held at Huntsville Golf Club, in Dallas, Pa.

--Courtesy PGA

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