ROCHESTER, N.Y. (Sept. 20, 2014) — The duo of Nick Palladino (right) and Oliver White (left) went wire-to-wire at the John R. Williams Four-Ball Invitational, held at the East Course of Oak Hill Country Club.
Palladino, of Highland Heights, Ohio, and White, of Lower Gwynedd, Pa., shot rounds of 66, 68, and 71 to shoot a five-under par total of 205 over the 54-hole championship to win by seven shots. The pair led by a shot after the first round and extended the lead to six after Friday before finishing it off on Saturday.
Palladino finished his senior season at the University of Rochester in 2013 while White played collegiately for Allegheny College, also finishing in 2013. Palladino's home course for the University of Rochester was, conveniently enough, Oak Hill.
Thinking of turning professional soon, Palladino told tournament director David Fries that he decided to postpone turning pro to play one last competitive event at Oak Hill. It turned out to be a victorious decision.
Finishing alone in second place were John Sawin and Jason Gerken, who slowly climbed up the leaderboard. Their 69 on Friday was the second lowest round of the day behind the leaders' 68 and a 71 on Saturday allowed them to finish three shots ahead of a slew of teams tying for third place.
Don Padgett III and Adam Thomarios, who were only a shot back at 67 after the first day, struggled in the final two rounds, shooting 79 and 82 to finish 23 shots back in 29th place.
Defending champions Dave Poteet and Mike Cromer had a respectable showing in their attempt to repeat. Rounds of 70-72-75 placed them in a tie for seventh place — 12 shots back but only two shots out of third.
In the Senior division, second-round leaders Brian Harris and Gary Van Sickle ran into trouble on the last day, shooting 82 after shooting two-under 69 the previous day.
Taking the title were Oak Hill members Tom Blank and Mark Dugan, who showed consistency throughout the week. Their rounds of 71-72-73 gave the pair a two-shot win over two teams — James Castagna and Tim Krause, and Doug Ritter and Russell Olson.
The East Course at Oak Hill has hosted six USGA events, most recently the 1998 U.S. Amateur. It has also hosted a Ryder Cup (1995) and three PGA Championships. Jason Dufner captured his first major, winning the PGA at Oak Hill in 2013.
Williams’ week began on Wednesday with the traditional Will-Am and dinner, this year featuring guest speaker Tim Rosaforte.
Just prior to Tim taking the podium, immediate past Williams’ chairman, Tom Blank, addressed the overflow crowd in the ballroom. He expressed his gratitude towards the Williams’ committee for helping out his long-time Williams’ partner, and close friend, Mark Dugan.
Dugan's son, Michael, was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 23 the day after he graduated from the Ohio State University. Mark spoke of how the game of golf and the friendships he has made through golf have helped him so much during this difficult time. It was a powerful story that captured the hearts of so many in attendance. With his son on his mind all week, Mark and Tom would then go on to win the senior division title for the first time. Upon learning of their victory, while waiting for his flight to Scotland, Tim Rosaforte then took to Twitter to send out his well wishes and heartfelt congratulations as well.
ABOUT THE John R. Williams Invitational
54-hole two man best ball format. By invitation only.
Entrants must have a
handicap of 3.4 or less, with the team total not to
exceed 5.5. Both members
of teams in the Senior Division must be 55 years of
by the first day of
the tournament. Senior index requirements are 4.4
individual and 7.2 team.
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