Jamie Lukowicz (RIGA photo)
THOMPSON, Conn. (July 30, 2018) – The championship hardware in Rhode Island Golf Association events is beginning to pile up for Jamie Lukowicz.
The Metacomet star from Coventry added another major title to his growing list on Tuesday and did it in dramatic fashion. He rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt on the last hole to finish 54 holes at Quinnatisset Country Club with a 7-under 209 total in the 35th Stroke Play Championship.
He needed that putt since he and Chris DeLucia were tied going to the final hole after a daylong battle. The two not only played in the same threesome, but rode in the same cart. Several others, including first-round leader Brad Valois and Will Hall, made runs at some point to get to the top of the leaderboard.
But over the last few holes, Lukowicz and DeLucia pulled away and made it a head-to-head showdown. The lead changed hands several times as both mixed birdies in with bogeys until Lukowicz won it with one last bird on the par-5 closing hole.
"That was a lot of fun,’’ Lukowicz said. "We had a lot of changes during the day. I was glad to make that last one."
Lukowicz has been one of the Rhode Island Golf Association’s best players over the past two decades, but went years without being able to break through for a major championship. He won the Mid-Am in 2014. Then he won it again in 2015. He was the low amateur in the Rhode Island Open several years ago, and just last year he was the runner-up to Billy Forcier in the State Amateur.
Lukowicz showed again on Tuesday that he has learned to win. He closed this one out in style as he put together three under-par rounds of 70-69-70 on the 6,537-yard, par-72 course.
Lukowicz was pin high in two on the 512-yard closing holes, but had a difficult chip over a mound. His chip rolled 10 feet past the hole. DeLucia, who has challenged for titles several times since the Connecticut courses became members of the Rhode Island Golf Association four years ago, had pitched his third shot about 20 feet past the hole.
DeLucia’s birdie putt rolled over the left edge of the hole. Lukowicz thought back to the morning’s second round as he lined up his putt.
"I had pretty much the same putt this morning,’’ he said. "I had about three feet longer and just a little higher, but it came hard at the end. So I knew that if I hit it about a ball out it should break and right at the end it came hard."
It dropped in.
DeLucia, a former UConn star, got off to a rough start in the morning round but then had a stretch from the end of that round to the start of the last where he birdied six times in a seven-hole stretch. Three college stars, Jeff Giguere of Middlebury, Will Hall of Rollins and Jason Short of URI tied for third at 3 under.
The senior division battle was just as tight. In fact, it ended with 2017 champion Dave McNally, Metacomet’s Darren Corrente and first-timer Mike Arter all tying at 2-under 214. Corrente won with a par on the first playoff hole.
That made it a sweep for the friends from Metacomet. Lukowicz and Corrente have a standing Friday afternoon match at Metcomet. They compete against each other often. They have become such good friends that they played as partners in the prestigious Havemeyer Memorial Championship held each year at Newport Country Club. They won that title, too.
"He’s made me a better player from playing with him and competing against him, sometimes even for a little money," Corrente said. "I’m so happy we both were able to win here."
ABOUT THE Rhode Island Stroke Play
Format: 54 Holes - Stroke Play. Eligibility: Handicap
index of 12.0 or less. Member of RIGA member club.
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