Phillips and Mestre Rally to Win Senior Four-Ball at Williamsport
Oscar Mestre and Ken Phillips pose with the Champion crystal
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - Down four strokes after the opening round of the 25th Pennsylvania Senior Four-Ball Championship, the team of Ken Phillips and Oscar Mestre knew they had to get off to a good start. A front nine score of 30 (-6) at Williamsport Country Club certainly fit the bill, leading them to complete the comeback with a second round score of 63 and a 36-hole total of 132 (-10) to win the championship, which was presented by LECOM.
"The fast start was the key," said Mestre, a member of Overbrook Golf Club. "We made a lot of birdies and some crucial par saves."
The round began with a pair of birdies by Lancaster Country Club's Phillips. The rest of the front nine at the A.W. Tillinghast design saw birdies by Mestre on No. 4, Phillips on holes 6 and 7, and Mestre on the par-4 eighth. All of a sudden, the duo was in contention.
"We really ham and egged it well out there," Mestre said. "There were a lot of times where we had two looks at birdie where we could get more aggressive with the second try, and that's the key in an event like this."
Despite the scintillating 6-under par start to the round, Mestre and Phillips hit a bit of a lull, with four straight pars and then a bogey to begin the back nine. Not knowing where they stood in the championship, they knew that the 15th hole had to begin their run.
"I figured we had to make a move there," Phillips said of the 15th. And he backed up his words with a birdie on that par 3. After a par on No. 16, Phillips faced a difficult downhill put for birdie on the par-3 17th. But the eight-foot breaking putt dropped into the hole and pushed the team to 9-under par for the championship.
"That could have been a bogey and all of a sudden it goes into the hole," said Phillips, who serves on the Pennsylvania Golf Association's Executive Committee in the role of Vice President.
His partner concurred, saying that the duo managed to keep their composure while not making any red numbers early on the back nine.
"We really hung in there," Mestre said. "In the second half of today's round, we had nothing going on but we didn't lose much, and that permitted us to pull off the big comeback."
Finishing just one stroke back were a pair of teams. Lehigh Country Club's Bob Beck and LedgeRock Golf Club's Chip Lutz followed up an opening round 66 with a second round 67 to finish tied for second place at 133 (-9). That score was matched by the duo of Bob Crnjarich and John Rodney of Diamond Run Golf Club, who led after the opening round with 65 and shot 68 in the second round. Of the four players on those two teams, three had a look at eagle on the last hole of the championship that could have forced a playoff with Phillips and Mestre, but they could not convert.
Rounding out the top five at 6-under were the team of Thomas Bartolacci, Jr. (Huntingdon Valley Country Club) and Roc Irey (Lookaway Golf Club) and the pairing of Ron Weaver (Bent Creek Country Club) and Scott Mayne (Deer Run Golf Club). Weaver and Mayne were the 2015 champions in the event. Defending champs Ed Chylinski and Thomas Hyland finished in a tie for sixth place.
The Pennsylvania Golf Association would like to thank the staff and membership of Williamsport Country Club for their support and hospitality during the event.