LEBANON – Directly through the front. Nowhere near the back door.
Won. Not lost.
If Brian Auman was ever going to win his first Lebanon County Golf Association individual event, he was going to have to earn it. Nothing was going to be given to him.
A 20-foot eagle putt in a four-man sudden-death playoff certainly fit the bill.
On a steamy Friday over the 6,361-yard par-72 Lebanon Country Club layout, Auman captured his initial Lebanon County Senior Amateur tournament championship in dramatic fashion, draining a lengthy, but straight putt on the second playoff hole, the 507-yard, par-five Number Two. Auman’s decisive stroke was set up by a booming drive and a well-placed fairway wood.
The sudden-death playoff was necessitated when four competitors – Auman, Dan Brown, Greg Adams and Craig Kliewer – completed their medal rounds with identical one-under par scores of 71. Auman, Brown and Adams, who were playing partners during regulation play, had advanced to the second hole of the playoff with pars.
Jeff True fired an even-par 72 to finish fifth, while Kerry Wentling carded a 74. Another shot back was defending champion Bill Massar, Jr., and Dave Albright counted 78 strokes.
“You can’t say they gave it to me,” said Auman. “I still have the drive to win.
“I thought I made that putt on Number One (a 12-footer for biride that would’ve won it a hole earlier),” continued Auman. “But it started in the fairway. I hit my Sunday best (drive) and Dan (Brown) was ahead of me. I told myself that I was just going to keep it (his second shot) between the bunker. I said to Dan, ‘I guess I have to make this, because you’re going to make your birdie putt.’ I didn’t want to go to another hole.”
For Auman, the title was especially gratifying because of the number of runner-up finishes, specifically at the Lebanon County Amateur tournament, he’s endured over the years. It was also Auman’s first ever appearance at the Lebanon County Senior Amateur event, as well as his first competive tournament in nearly three years.
With his triumph, Auman became the 11th different winner of the Lebanon County Senior Amateur in the last 11 years.
“Do you know what?,” said Auman, 55. “I’ve been fighting Dan all my life. The times I’ve finished second is too many to count. But it all turned out for the best. I do love this course.
“I could play Dan ten times, and he’d beat me nine,” Auman added. “Golf is lightning in a bottle.”
The playoff really took shape on the last hole of regulation, when Brown birdied the 423-yard, par-four 18th, Auman parred it and Adams bogeyed it. Kliewer had been the first player with 71 in the club house.
“We were all jabbing at each other all day,” said Auman. “To get in a playoff and beat him (Brown), it’s a great thing. Playing with these guys is just a dream come true. We play together, but we all play competitive.”
Thanks to a bogey at the par-four fifth hole, Auman made the turn at one-over par, three or four shots behind Adams and Brown. But Auman made most of that deficit back with medium-to-short-range birides at the par-four 13th, the par-three 14th and the par-five 15th.
“That’s why I didn’t play in it a lot of times,” said Auman of the stigma attached to the ‘senior amateur’. “I didn’t have any expectations coming in, at all. I don’t want to put the time in like I did before. But now that I’m older, I’m playing better, not overswinging, taking what the course gives me.
“I called Dan to see how he did at the Sullivan (last weekend),” Auman continued. “I told him the senior amateur was this Friday. He said, ‘I’ll run a check over, and you and Greg and I’ll play.”
Brown struck for birdies at the 125-yard, par-three third hole and at the 493-yard, par-five seventh hole and made the turn at two-under par. But he gave ground with bogeys at the par-three 14th hole and the par-four 16th hole.
Adams registered an eagle and a birdie on LCC’s two par-fives on the front nine. He was still at three-under par through 15 holes.
Kliewer made the turn at even-par, then registered eight pars and one birdie – at the par-four 13th – over the back.
Meanwhile, the Super Seniors competition went to John Hacunda and his 78.
Lebanon County Senior Amateur Past Champions
|Bill Massar, Jr.||2019|
|Bill Massar, Jr.||2013|