By Devin Golden
Rick Luzar was happy to be wrong about his team’s chances on the final day of the Clay Dykes Invitational.
Luzar thought the strong finish he and teammate John Darr put together for a final round of 6-under-par 66 would be good enough for second place in the annual best-ball senior tournament at The Farm Golf Club in Rocky Face.
But when all the scorecards were turned in, Luzar and Darr’s 8-under 208 for the three-day, 54-hole event was tied with fellow first flight competitors Frank Travetto and Ron Waeghe for the overall championship. Darr and Luzar won the tiebreaker with a better back nine on Friday, with their 31 besting the 37 by Waeghe and Travetto.
Entering the final round, Darr and Luzar were tied for sixth place at 142 with one other team — first-round leaders Bob Varn and Bob Rickman — after shooting a 71 in each of the first two rounds. Travetto and Waeghe started Friday with the lead at 135 after shooting a 66 on Thursday.
Three teams had shared third place after the second round, meaning there were not only seven strokes but plenty of competition in between Darr and Luzar and the championship.
“We birdied holes 17 and 18 and I said, ‘I think that might get us second,’” said Luzar, a Pinehurst, N.C., resident. “But I didn’t think we could come from seven strokes behind. The other team was playing too well.”
With eight birdies and just two bogeys on Friday, Darr and Luzar did just that. Waeghe and Travetto turned in a round of 73 as the last group in, and Luzar had to call his partner — who’s from Gainesville, Fla. — back to the scoreboard to receive the trophy and take a photo after the scorecard playoff netted a victory.
“The first two days, you’re just trying not to lose it,” Luzar said. “The last day, we played not to lose and just started shooting for the pins.”
This is the second time Luzar and Darr have won the tournament, which started in 2001. Jerry Hudgins and Mike Rice won each of the past three years. They also won in 2008, and Rice teamed with Bill Ploeger to win in 2002. Luzar and Darr won in 2009.
“And we finished second, second and second to (Hudgins and Rice from 2010-12),” Luzar said.
The tournament paid out pro shop gift certificates to the top four in each of the four flights. Prizes were $350 to the flight winners, $325 to second, $300 to third and $275 to fourth. Hudgins and Rice’s 209 finished third in the first flight, while Jimmy Chapman and Don Slater ended up fourth at 212.
Stephen Schwartz and Kenneth Stewart won the second flight via tiebreaker after they and Dennis McNeal and Charles Parker shot 221, two strokes better than Chris DeMarco and Ken Walters plus William Bader and Randall Jacob.
Fred Peel and Ronnie Tumlin’s 210 won the third flight, with Billy Hatton and Scott Northey eight strokes back. Gary Brock and David Mansfield finished third with a 225, while C.J. Dodd and Melvin Nichelson shot the same and finished fourth.
Gary Friend and Kevin Gennarelli shot a 219 to win the fourth flight, which was one stroke better than Jud Cuttino and Paul Parker, two better than Chuck Farrell and Jim Weeks and four ahead of Patrick Jenkins and Jeff Tindle.
In super senior competition, Bob Hullender and Richard Tatum shot a final-round 65, the best 18 holes of the tournament, to claim the first flight and overall championship with a tournament score of 205. The team began the day with a 140, one stroke behind David Bennett and Don Hamelink’s 139, but had a hole-in-one on the par-3 11th and an eagle on the par-5 15th. Hullender, of San Antonio, recorded both. Tatum is from Sandy Springs.
“The hole got in the way,” Hullender said. “We had everything going today. We only had one bogey.”
Only the top two finishes in each flight paid out — $300 to the winners and $275 to the runners-up. Deane Hundley and Charlie Busbee shot a 212 to finish second in the first flight. Bennett and Hamelink won the second flight with a 212, nine strokes better than Don Lambert and Ray Darmstadt.