Senior Porter Cup: Sovik Defends Title
LEWISTON, NY (September 11, 2009)--When Ray Sovik swivels back into a full golf swing, he exposes large black bands wrapped around each elbow. The Columbus, Ohio, senior insists he might be to play without them, but while tangling with a golf course as difficult as Niagara Falls Country Club, he doesn’t feel like provoking a long-standing case of tendinitis.
But something about Lewiston and its surroundings soothes any ails Sovik brings north, even to his golf game. For the second straight year, Sovik took the Senior Porter Cup championship, using a final round 72 on Friday for a three-round cumulative total of 1-under-par.
Sovik, who staved off a run by Rich Morrison, said he couldn’t be happier to hoist the title again. Last year, he nipped tournament organizer Fred Silver in a playoff hole, but this year, Sovik gave Silver some of the credit.
“Fred does such a wonderful job and the club is so welcoming, I just feel very comfortable here,” Sovik said.
Morrison pulled to within two strikes on the back nine, but Sovik responded with a pair of birdies to widen the lead. On No. 16, a par-3, Sovik made par, while Morrison — who finished as the event’s runner-up — made double-bogey after finding the back bunker, then flubbing a chip.
Sovik said he didn’t play the final two holes any differently because he wasn’t sure where he stood among the leaders.
“You never know who’s in on the leaderboards. You just never know,” he said. “I just try to shoot a good score. If I shoot a good score, the rest will take care of itself. I really wanted to shoot even-par today, but even though I didn’t (2-over-par), I played pretty steady.”
Morrison, who said he was happy with his efforts since he hadn’t been playing well prior to the event, said Sovik didn’t display a weakness during the three-day tournament.
“He does everything well,” Morrison said. “He’s a good ball-striker, he’s got a short game and he’s a good putter. And you can tell, he’s got the little bit extra that makes him a good player.”
Meanwhile, the Super Senior winner was Gary Cloutier, who led the event from wire to wire. Cloutier, of Northville, Mich., had struggled off the tee the first few days, but kept it straighter on Friday.
“I hit the ball much better today, tee to green, and didn’t score as well as the first two days,” Cloutier said. “And I didn’t putt badly. But I didn’t have any chip-ins, and didn’t make as many birdies.”
Cloutier was getting pressure from Skip Snow, but he also took advantage of 16, dropping a birdie putt while Snow bogeyed.
“That was the comfort zone I really wanted to have going into 17, which is a long hole for a short hitter like myself,” he said. “I’m ecstatic. Fred puts on such a great tournament here. This is the Porter Cup. It’s a big huge event. These are quality players. It’s a thrill to be in the field with these guys.”