LEBANON – There are many elements that make the W.B. Sullivan Better-Ball-of-Partners a great golf tournament. One of the biggest is that it attracts talented players and teams from up and down the east coast.
Historically, that draw has always created a natural competitive conflict between the locals and the out-of-town teams – one that is adversarial in nature, but lacking in animosity.
On a hazy Sunday at the 6,361-yard, par-72 Lebanon Country Club, the Baltimore team of Jeff Castle-Billy Wingerd convincingly defeated local hopefuls Stu Hanford-Jon Moles 5&3 in the final duel of the match-play championship flight, to capture the championship of the 76th edition of the prestigious Sullivan event. Castle and Wingerd never trailed and the match ended on the 516-yard, par-five 15th hole when Castle chipped to within a gimme birdie.
For Castle, it was his third Sullivan championship with a third different partner. Previously, he had won the coveted title in 2016 with Jimmy Green and with Michael Tydings in 2006.
Hanford, a Lebanon Country Club member who claimed the 2020 W.B. Sullivan crown with Brian Blalock, was attempting to repeat with Moles. The last four Sullivan championships had been won by teams with ties to Lebanon County.
“It’s great to have the local support,” said Hanford, “but we didn’t capitalize on it and convert it into a win today. I would love to see a Lebanon team win it to keep the trophy at home. But these are great guys. There was never a moment of any animosity at all (during the final match). They just won it.”
“I’ve been coming up here since Michael Tydings and I won it in 2006,” said Castle. “I’ve just kept coming back. I told Billy that sometimes when you go to these events out of state, the local people are not rooting for you. That’s not the case here. Up here, they just want to see good golf.”
After trouncing Bailey Sophy-Nick Hand 4&3 in their Sunday morning semifinal, Castle-Wingerd went to work right away against Hanford-Moles, with Wingerd’s 18-foot birdie at LCC’s par-four opening hole. Then, Castle-Wingerd won three straight holes to open a comfortable four-up advantage.
Castle two-putted for birdie at the 491-yard, par-five seventh hole, Wingerd chipped in for birdie at the 433-yard, par-four eighth hole and Wingerd drilled a ten-foot birdie putt at the 178-yard, par-three ninth hole.
“We did really well the whole weekend,” said Wingerd. “We had opportunities on a lot of holes, and when you do that, eventually they’re going to go in. There wasn’t a lot of pressure on each other. We applied pressure to our opponents.”
“We made a lot of birdies,” said Castle. “There weren’t a lot of holes where one of us was out of it. When you’re making a lot of birdies, even when you lose a hole, you feel like you can get it right back.”
For Hanford and Moles, perhaps the highlight of the final match was Hanford’s birdie at the 491-yard, par-five tenth hole. That cut their deficit to three holes.
But after a key exchange of birdies at the par-four 11th hole, Castle ran in a 12-foot birdie putt at the 192-yard, par-three 12th hole. Castle-Wingerd were four holes up with six to play, and Hanford-Moles were running out of time.
Through 15 holes, Castle and Wingerd were eight-under-par on their better ball.
“There is more pressure when you’re behind, because you’re trying to force things, to make better shots, to make birdies, to make up ground,” said Hanford. “But they played well. We got beat today. All the credit to them.”
“Jeff had won twice before, so I just had to make sure I held up my end,” said Wingerd. “Jeff’s a great player. There’s a reason his name is on the (championship) board three times. He’s a great partner.”
“I just know how to pick partners,” Castle responded.
Hanford-Moles had reached the final match of the championship flight with a 2&1 triumph over Kyle Barlow-Justin Foster in the semifinals on Sunday morning.
Final: #1 Jeff Castle-Billy Wingerd def. #10 Stu Hanford-Jon Moles, 5&3
Semifinal: #1 Jeff Castle-Billy Wingerd def. #4 Bailey Sophy-Nick Hand, 4&3
Semifinal: #10 Stu Hanford-Jon Moles def. #11 Kyle Barlow-Justin Foster, 2&1
2021- Jeff Castle-Billy Wingerd
2020 – Stu Hanford- Brian Blalock
2019 – Dan Brown-Jason Troutman
2018 – Chris Gebhard-Noah Firestone
2017 – Chris Gebhard-Noah Firestone
2016 – Jeff Castle-Jimmy Green
2015 – Chad Stine-Drew Patterson
2014 – Brady Goodling-Kyle Deisher
2013- Scott Mayne-Derek Price
2012 – Andy Gibbons-Jimmy Gardner
2011 – Dan McCreesh-Anthony Campanile
2010 – Dan Brown-Brian Auman
2009 – Darren Zendt-Jim Rattigan
2008 — Ben Rowe-Robby Gilbert
2007 — Brian Golembiewski-Chris Schultz
2006 — Michael Tydings-Jeff Castle
2005 — Ira Cohen-David Kaplan
2004 — Chuck Tait-Scott Mayne
2003 — Ira Cohen-David Kaplan
2002 — Jim Gardner-Jim Calhoun
2001 — Dan Brown-Brian Auman
2000 — Gary Mankulish, Sr. – Gary Mankulish, Jr.
1999 — Jim Gardner-Jim Calhoun
1998 — Gary Mankulish, Sr.-Gary Mankulish, Jr.
1997 — Larry Fulkroad-Steven Shrawder
1996 — Lance Oberparleiter-Bill Kennedy
1995 — Jonathan Clark-Sean Duffy
1994 — Mike Reitz-Joe Records
1993 — Mike Reitz-Joe Records
1992 — Scott Orr-Marty Dorminy
1991 — Mark Ditzler-John Gross
1990 — Dennis Toomey-Steve Krall
1989 — Jim Douglass-Dave Johnson
1988 — Jim Douglass-Dave Johnson
1987 — Roger Karsnitz-Jay Hileman
1986 — Byron Whitman-Chuck Scally, Jr.
1985 — George Connolly-Drew Devan
1984 — Greg Lesher-Mark Ditzler
1983 — Pete Gebhard-Dave Kurtz
1982 — Bill Grove-King Knox
1981 — Hugh Vaughn III-Stu Ingraham
1980 — Hugh Vaughn III-Stu Ingraham
1979 — Hugh Vaughn III-Stu Ingraham
1978 — Hugh Vaughn III-Stu Ingraham
1977 — Rick Hirp-Charles Springfellow
1976 — Bob Kreider-Marlin Detweiler
1975 — Bob Kreider-Marlin Detweiler
1974 — Dr. John Gadd-Dr. Pete Richter
1973 — Don DeAngelis-Eric Stevenson
1972 — Wayne Jacobs-Sherman Keeney II
1971 — Bill Shoop-Joe Faller
1970 — Wayne Jacobs-Sherman Keeney II
1969 — Wayne Jacobs-Sherman Keeney II
1968 — Bobby Huber-Chuck Schmidt
1967 — James Dolan-Joseph Durante
1966 — Jim Taylor-Bob Tibbons
1965 — King Knox-Gerald Book
1964 — Jim Meyer-Larry Feldman
1963 — Earl Mumma-Charles Springfellow
1962 — Don Chornak-Jim Taylor
1961 — Bob Bierne-Bill Davidson
1960 — Charles Fink-G.J. Moeschlin, Jr.
1959 — Mike Karapcik-Wano Thompson
1958 — Joe Spesak-William Rakow
1957 — Marvin Serber-Henry McQuiston
1956 — Marvin Serber-Henry McQuiston
1955 — Al Rabold-Larry Shaw
1954 — Bob Batdorf-John Yocum
1953 — Stan Knight-Harry Offut
1952 — John Markel-Stan Ross
1951 — Serio-Stortoni-Bill Johnson
1950 — Jack Binswanger-Robert Gilbert
1949 — George Robotham-Leo Heller
1948 — H.H. Haverstick Jr.-I. Richard Herr
1947 — George Robotham-Leo Heller
1946 — Buddy Lutz-Billy Eben