SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — Just when the trend appeared to be veering toward the elimination of former champions, the tide turned.
Former Lima City Men’s Golf Championship winners Phil Trueblood and Joe Whittaker were among the eight players who moved on to today’s quarterfinals in the Championship Flight of the tournament on Thursday at the Shawnee Country Club.
But around an hour before Whittaker went 20 holes to beat Brad Shaffer 1-up and Trueblood defeated Clay Bryan 1-up, a pair of two-time city champs, Todd Burkholder and Chad Grey, were beaten. Brock Howe was a 2-and-1 winner over Gray and Mike Garlock won 4-and-3 against Burkholder.
The reward for the two winning former champs is that they get to play each other in match play today.
It’s a matchup Whittaker says they’ve been looking forward to for a long time.
“Tomorrow is the match we’ve been waiting five years for. We’ve always talked about it but it’s never been set up,” he said. “We played in high school but we haven’t played since.”
Trueblood said a strong finish got him through to the next round
“I started off and played pretty well on the front. Nothing great, I just didn’t feel like I had my best game today. I usually have one match like that and I just know I have to hang on and try to make something good out of it. I was able to at the end,” he said.
“I had a run of about three holes where I hit some of the worst shots of my life. But coming down the stretch, I hit some good shots on 17 and 18 to finish it off.”
Howe’s win came in his first year of playing in the city tournament, a year in which he signed up for the championship flight.
“None of my buddies would let me do open flight and get my feet wet. They said you want to compete against the best, just go do it. So I just jumped right in,” he said. “I was nervous in the beginning and it took about three holes to settle down a little bit and start playing better. I played much better on the back than I did on the front.”
Garlock’s win over Burkholder was only the second time they’ve faced each other and the first time since 2001.
“I played him the first year I played in it and he tuned me up at Lost Creek. He beat me pretty good,” Garlock said.
“I strung together a lot of pars on the front and got up quick and made a couple birdies and held on from there. In order to win it you have to go through people. It’s nice to get that next step,” he said.
In the other Championship Flight matches, Dillon Klein won 1-up over Scott Geier; Thomas Leidy beat Brandon French 2-and-1; Dave Kortokrax was a 3-and-2 winner over Michael Franks and Andy Connell beat Randy Stocke 3-and-1.
Today, Klein will play Leidy; Howe will face Garlock; Kortokrax will play Connell and Whittaker and Trueblood will be matched up.
The winners in the Senior Championship Flight were: Bob Hollar 4-and-3 over Dan Jones; Dan Garlock 3-and-2 over Willie McGuire; George Hakin 5-and-3 over Joe Smith; Tom Mulcahy 2-and-1 over Willie Cox; Steve Creps 5-and-3 over Larry Sidener; Richard Groves 4-and-2 over Larry Lewis; Ron Bell 4-and-3 over John McDonald and John Gronas 2-up over John Allen.
Winners in the Super Seniors Flight were: Jim Odenweller 1- up over Tim Windau; Ron Magee 2-up over Gene Dugan; Pete Hubbell 3-and-1 over Vince Ozier; Rick Cheney 5-and-4 over Jeff Ducey; Tony Hobensack 2-and-1 over Todd Stump; Dennis Medeiros 3-and-2 over Ken Sweeney; Paul Masters 5-and-4 over Kevin Mangas and Bill Lumpkins 1-up over Matt McGraw.