BY JEFF FALK
NORTH LEBANON – Like a fine vintage. Bill Massar, Jr. gets better with age. OK, that might be a little bit of a stretch.
But Massar does continue to age gracefully.
On a warm Friday, at Pine Meadows Golf Course’s 5,734-yard, par-72 layout, Massar added another notch to his stellar career accomplishments by winning the 32nd Annual Lebanon County Senior Amateur Championship. After he and Randy Kohr had finished their rounds in a dead heat with matching one-under par 71s, Massar emerged victorious with a par on the third playoff hole.
In overtime, Massasr and Kohr each bogeyed the par-four first hole and parred the par-four second hole. But it was Massar who was able to convert his five-foot par putt at the 388-yard, par-four third hole to win it.
Tim Leeper fired a one-over par score of 73 to finish third, while 2017 champ Jeff True came in fourth with a 74. A group of five players – Chuck Schwab, Bill Beasley, Tony Deraco, Logan Sheetz and Jeff Hoke – finished in a tie for fifth place with matching 76s.
Last year’s champion, Eric Boltz, decided not to defend his title
For the 56-year-old Massar, it was his second county senior amateur championship and first on his home course. Massar is also a two-time Lebanon County Amateur champion.
“Right now, my game is almost as good as it ever was,” said Massar. “I think I hit my driver now better than I ever have. I’m suprised at how far I can still hit it.
“I was a really good scrambler back then,” continued Massar. “When I started, I hit irons and greens, but I forgot how to chip. Now I’m playing with the young guys and I’m keeping up with them. I don’t feel like I’m 56. I try to stay in shape.”
“Bill has a lot of firepower,” said Kohr. “It’s hard to beat him. I knew the playoff was going to be tough. Bill’s usually a really good putter. I think I sort of lost it (the playoff). I missed two shorter par putts. That’s basically what it was.”
Both Massar and Kohr missed on opportunities to win the golf tournament in regulation.
Massar took a bogey at the par-five closing hole, after experiencing a similar fate at the par-four 15th. Massar had gotten his round to three-under par with short birdies at the par-four 11th and the par-four 12th.
“Coming in, I thought I was going to win. I really did,” said Massar. “After the county amateur, I was practicing, I found something and it clicked. I feel like my game is really close to being really good, except for my putting. I feel my game’s there, but I have to practice my putting. From six feet in, I’m having issues. But I’ll get it.
“I played really solid, except for my putting,” added Massar. “My putting was very shaky. It’s been like that for a while.”
Massar birdied three of his first five holes – the 247-yard, par-four second, the 301-yard, par-four fouth and the 471-yard, par-five fifth – from short distance to get to three-under par early in his round. But he gave two of them back, with bogeys at Numbers Seven and Nine.