by Scott Silvey, courtesy San Luis Obispo Tribune
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- There would be no extra golf played this year at the Straight Down Fall Classic. Jeff Brehaut made sure of it.
Tied for the lead at 12-under, Brehaut’s approach from 130 yards off the 18th hole’s rough went to within three feet of the cup. Brehaut, a PGA Tour veteran who led the 2009 U.S. Open after the first day, would birdie to give him and partner Todd Barsotti a one-stroke win at the San Luis Obispo Country Club. The duo finished at 13 under.
“I knew a birdie was going to be a potential winner,” Brehaut said. “I saw my partner was in good position to make par so I went for it and it came out perfectly. When I walked up the hill and saw (how close the ball was to the hole) I knew I couldn’t miss it.”
The win netted Brehaut $25,000 and Barsotti $3,000.
A year after their four-hole playoff had to be called a tie due to darkness, returning co-champions Tim Fleming and Alan Bratton finished in a tie for second with Mark Sherman and Jeff Wilson at 12-under.
Sherman and Wilson joined Brehaut and Barsotti in the second-to-last group, but by the start of the back nine, the two teams had distanced themselves at 10-under, two shots ahead of the field.
Wilson, Brehaut and Barsotti were all college teammates at Pacific, so while the stakes might have been high between the teams, tension was light.
“They were college teammates and I played a lot against their rival school,” Sherman said. “We’re all pretty good friends. We were joking around and talking a lot. I think that helped us stay pretty loose the whole time.”
Still, as the two teams battled down the back nine, the joking and talking stopped. “We did joke after the round that coming up 18 it got awfully quiet,” Sherman said. “Tension picked up a little bit.”
Both teams had a number of opportunities to take control of the tournament late.
After Brehaut birdied on the 13th to give his team a one-stroke lead, Sherman narrowly missed a long birdie putt on 15. Brehaut just missed a 20-yard chip attempt at birdie on 16 that would have given his team a commanding lead.
Instead, both Brehaut and Barsotti bogeyed the 17th, creating essentially a one-hole playoff. “After we bogeyed 17, I said, ‘We need to do something on 18,’ ” Brehaut said.
He was true to his word.
After the birdie on 18, Brehaut and Barsotti watched with the crowd as Fleming and Bratton both missed long birdie putts in an attempt to force a playoff.
Loren Roberts, a San Luis Obispo native and winner of the 2009 PGA Champions Tour final standings, finished four shots back after shooting a 5-under 65 with partner Ed Cuff.
After finishing Day One of the tournament at 2 under, Atascadero High graduate and PGA Tour member Roger Tambellini and his partner Mike Rowley came on strong on Sunday.
The three-time tournament champions were within one stroke of the lead midway through the day, and after shooting a 9-under 62, they finished just two shots back in a fourth place tie.
All benefits from the tournament were to be donated to the ALS Association. Rowley and Straight Down officials decided on the charity after 2006 winner and San Luis Obispo resident Don Woodward was diagnosed with the Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Rowley said that early estimation of the proceeds this year topped $15,000, a number very satisfying to those who know Woodward.
“We’re doing this for our great friend Don Woodward,” Rowley said. “That’s what this is all about.”
View results for Straight Down Fall Classic Golf Tournament