Monday, July 31, 2006

Championship Match Photos

Rex Whitney, whose birdie on 18 clinched the morning round for the champions, hits out of the sand.
Jake Obar, who would end the match with a birdie on the 21st hole of the afternoon match, shows his power game.Butch Plimpton of Rutland chips while teammate Jody Larson looks on.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Final Brackets

Obar and Whitney Win Out

Hanover -- Call it Survivor: The Golf Edition.
Former Hartford High School standout Jake Obar and Quechee Club assistant Rex Whitney battled Rutland's Jody Larson and Butch Plimpton for 20 up-and-down holes Sunday afternoon before claiming the championship match of the 31st Tommy Keane Invitational four ball tournament on the 21st hole at Hanover Country Club.
Obar, the Hanover club champion, clinched the match when his 60-degree wedge from 55 yards on the uphill par-4, 307-yard third hole stopped within gimme range and first Plimpton and then Larson couldn't convert birdie putts.
"It was a long day out there," said Obar. "We didn't exactly have our best game. We hit some good shots but it wasn't always pretty. At times it looked like the winner was going to be whoever didn't mess up as much as the other guy."
Whitney -- a former Hanover High School standout who teamed with older brother Bart to win the 2004 TKI -- wasn't about to disagree. "It feels a lot different than it did two years ago," he said. "Then it was birdies on the last five holes I think. There were a lot of holes won with pars today. On the back nine and the first couple of playoff holes everyone was grinding pretty hard."
The grind started early for Obar and Whitney, who were down two holes to Mike Pollard and Chris House after 11 holes of their morning semifinal and then down two holes in the championship match with three to play.
"I think coming back the way we did in the morning gave us confidence we could come back in this match," Whitney said.
The way they started it didn't seem as if they'd have that problem.
Obar and Whitney grabbed the early lead in the championship match by winning the second and third holes before Plimpton putts on 7 and 8 leveled the match.
The Rutland duo took its first lead when Larson canned a 15-foot birdie on 10. When all four players found a greenside trap on the steep uphill 11th hole and only Larson and Plimpton could get up and down, the lead was two. "We're all leaking oil," Obar cracked to the ever-growing gallery at that point.
The Larson and Plimpton still had a two-hole lead heading to the 16th hole before both Rutland players hit the ball into the trees on the left side and they had to settle for bogey.
"I made par to win the hole, which seemed to happen on quite a few holes," Obar said with a smile.
That may have been true, but Obar won the tricky 17th hole in style, following a good tee ball and second shot with a 60-yard approach that set up a 6-foot birdie putt.
After seeing its lead disappear, the Rutland team had a chance to win on 18 after a great approach left Plimpton with a solid birdie opportunity on the 471-yard par-5. When the ball refused to drop, the Upper Valley pair had another life.
"That's was tough one for Butch but a gift from the golf gods for us," Obar said.
The teams then halved the first and second extra holes before Obar's pin-seeking missile on the 21st hole left Larson and Plimpton needing to dunk putts of 10 feet and 13 feet to extend the match.
"I thought Butch's was in," said Larson, who had almost the identical putt just seconds later. "His went one way and mine went the other. I couldn't believe it."
Obar and Whitney -- a late entrant whose only tournament golf in the past two years has been in the TKI -- advanced to the championship round with a 1-up semifinal victory over Pollard and House in the morning by winning the last two holes.
"I parred the 17th to win it and Rex won the match with a birdie on 18," Obar said.
It would be Obar returning the favor on the final hole six-plus hours later. "Most of the weekend it was me riding along with Jake," Whitney said. "It was me watching him hit unbelievable shots around the green and making great putts."
In other TKI action, Roy and Mike Hathorn defeated John Donnelly and Rowland Hazard to win the first flight 1-up; Roger and Tag Demment upended Jeff Frechette and David Potter in the second flight, 1-up; and Chris Lincoln and John Freeman took a 4-and-3 win over Tim Winslow and Andy Mello in the third flight.
The Tommy Keane Invitational honors Keane, the Hanover Country Club head professional (and Dartmouth golf coach) for 45 years.

Sunday Afternoon Brackets

The Championship flight match pairing the Hanover team of Whitney/Obar against the Rutland team of Plimpton/Larson will tee off shortly. The brackets for each flight have been updated below. Check back later today for the final brackets and a story about the Championship flight final.

Sunday -- Stay Tuned

I'll be out on the course following the Championship Flight match this afternoon and will have a full story up this evening.

If I can get the brackets updated before the Championship match begins, I'll post them. If not, I'll have everything up at some point tonight.

By the way, the weather looks good. For now ;-)