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 BY JEFF FALK

 NORTH LEBANON – Some say the most formative lessons come from losing. But there is also a lot be gleaned from winning.

 And winning through adversity, well that might be the best teacher of them all.

 If the goal was a championship and to teach Ryan Woelfling a few lessons that can’t be learned on the driving range, then mission accomplished.

 On a torrid Sunday at Pine Meadows Golf Course’s 6,037-yard, par-72 layout, Woelfling and partner Dan Brown captured the championship of the 28th annual Lebanon County Better-Ball-of-Partners tournament. Brown and Woelfling fired an eight-under par, second-round 64 for a 36-hole total of 127, or 17-under par.

 Brown-Woelfling, who had entered the day as co-leaders on the strength of an opening-roundd 63, earned a four-stroke victory over a trio of runners-up, first-day co-leaders, Tom Kintzer and Jesse Kreiser, who posted a 63-68=131, Bill Massar, Jr.-Tyler Shank, who registered a 64-67=131, and Chris Gebhard-Jim Gardner, who carded a 66-65=131. Finishing fifth was the team of Tony Ebersole-Shawn Preis and their 66-69=135.

 The squads of defending champions Jesse Brown and Mike Potts, and Chuck Scwab and Randy Kohr, recorded identical 68-68=136 totals.

  Woelfling, a 19-year-old college student, earned the title on his first try at the Lebanon County Better-Ball, and in the process became one of its youngest champions ever. Brown, who had garnered the championship at the prestigious W.B. Sullivan Better-Ball-of-Partners with Jason Troutman three weeks prior, won his fourth county better-ball crown, with his third different partner.

 “Ryan tried to qualify for the Pennsylvania Open, which I think is excellent,” said Brown. “What I was hoping is that he would go back to college with a little momentum. Golf is a game of momentum. I was just trying to do a little mentoring for two days, which I think probably helped a bit.

 “It was fun,” continued Brown. “I’m really happy for Ryan. It’s really enjoyable playing with him. It was a good feeling, to bring it home with him.”

  “I think mostly, experience was the biggest thing,” said Woelfling. “I never played in anything like this. I’ve mostly played in individual events and four-man scrambles. I think it’ll be good experience moving forward.”

 It was rewarding because it wasn’t easy.

 On a handful of ocassions yesterday, Brown-Woelfling had to fight off charges from their playing partners in the final group, Kintzer and Kreiser.

 Nursing a single-shot advantage, the turning point came at the 172-yard, par-three 17th hole, where Brown drained a hard-breaking 25-foot birdie putt, while Kintzer-Kreiser were forced to take bogey. Brown’s short birdie at the par-five 18th was simply icing on their championship cake.

  “Seventeen was the back breaker,” said Brown. “We made a ‘two’ and they made a ‘four’. They (Kintzer-Kreiser) birdied three of the first four holes on the back. We bogeyed 13 and they birdied, and that got them within one. Ryan birdied 14, but we bogeyed Number 15 and that got them within one again.

 “It doesn’t take much, a lot of the time, with the birdie-bogey situation,” added Brown. “I told Ryan, ‘It’s still close. We’ve got to keep plugging away.’ After Nine, we had hot dogs and we were cooling down, and it took us a little to get warmed back up.”

 “Once they got closer I said to myself, ‘I’ve got to pick it up,'” said Woelfling. “I had to play good too. That’s tournament golf.”

 With a hot start to their second round, Brown and Woelfling threatened to run away with the trophy.

 Thanks to three Brown birdies and an eagle and birdie from Woelfing, they went six-under par over their first six holes to open a five-stroke lead over the field. Brown and Woelfling made the turn with a four-shot advantage.

 “I personally like it when it gets tight,” said Brown. “I wanted to see a little reaction from Ryan. We were free flying, but then it was like, ‘They’re coming back. We’ve got to get it going again.’

 “Tournament golf is something I do a lot of,” Brown continued. “I don’t play too much recreational golf. The area has a certain level of tournaments. It’s about trying to get better for me, at this point of my life. The more you do it, the better you’re going to get. Golf is a game of repetition. Typical results come from that.”

  “Overall, it was a good experience,” said Woelfling. “I wasn’t necessarily going to play in it. But when he (Brown) asked, I couldn’t really turn him down.”

  Kintzer and Kreiser didn’t record their first birdie on Sunday until the par-four fourth hole, but then proceeded to give it right back at the par-five fifth. Birdies at the par-five tenth, the par-four 11th and the par-three 13th got Kintzer-Kreiser to within a single shot of the lead, but they did not make a birdie over their last five holes.

 “Josh played awesome all weekend,” said Kintzer. “He carried me. After the turn, we put some pressure on them. It was a dogfight. To come that close was amazing.

 “They (Brown and Woelfling) came out and played into us,” added Kintzer. “We were down six strokes going into Number Seven. Most people would think it was over. But it wasn’t over at all.”

 Thanks in part to Massar’s hot blade, he and partner Shank made a back-nine charge with four birdies in five holes. But ultimately they were doomed by a bogey at the par-four 16th.

 “I thought 64 was the number we would’ve needed,” said Shank. “We got it to five (under) for the day. We got it to five (under) with three (holes) to go, and we thought we needed (birdies) all of them.

 “We got off to a slow start,” continued Shank. “That isn’t good out here. The first six holes are scoring holes. But it was a good team effort, between the days. We just didn’t have enough.”

 For Gebhard and Gardner, it also may have been the case of too little too late, after starting the final round with two shots to make up. Gebhard-Gardner carded five birdies on the back-nine, after registering just a pair on the front.

 “I said to Gebby, ‘We needed to flip the script,'” said Gardner. “We needed to shoot 63 to have a chance. I don’t think we were ever in contention. On Seven tee, we were two-under, but we heard Danny and Ryan were four-under after the first four holes.

 “Gebby played fantastic,” added Gardner. “He definitely carried us to our score. I think he made six birdies (on Sunday). He made a bunch of them. I only helped a couple of holes.”

 The combos of Tony Deraco-Greg Behney and Matt Cecil-Steve Sherk finished in a tie for first place in the first flight. Top honors in the second flight went to Justin Arnt-Scott Franco.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 28th Annual Lebanon County Better-Ball-of-Partners

 (at 6,037-yard, par-72 Pine Meadows Golf Course)

 

  Championship Flight
  Pos. Team Total
To Par
Gross
R1 R2 Total
Gross
  1 -17 63 64 127
  T2 -13 63 68 131
  T2 -13 66 65 131
  T2 -13 64 67 131
  5 -9 66 69 135
  T6 -8 68 68 136
  T6 -8 68 68 136
  8 -4 68 72 140
  T9 -1 68 75 143
  T9 -1 67 76 143
  First Flight
  Pos. Team Total
To Par
Gross
R1 R2 Total
Gross
  T1 -6 69 69 138
  T1 -6 70 68 138
  3 -3 70 71 141
  T4 -2 70 72 142
  T4 -2 71 71 142
  6 -1 69 74 143
  7 E 71 73 144
  8 +3 70 77 147
  9 +7 71 80 151
  Second Flight
  Pos. Team Total
To Par
Gross
R1 R2 Total
Gross
  1 -3 72 69 141
  2 -2 72 70 142
  T3 E 73 71 144
  T3 E 73 71 144
  5 +3 72 75 147
  6 +4 74 74 148
  7 +6 72 78 150
  8 +7 78 73 151
  9 +9 81 72 153
  10 +12 77 79 156
 
 

   

 

 

 

 

 

Lebanon County Better-Ball

 Past Champions

Player Name Score Course Year
Mike Potts and Jesse Brown 64-69-133 Pine Meadows 2018
Justin Arnt and Skeet Wentling 66-64-130 Lebanon Valley 2017
Mike Schmidt, Jr and Pete Parpagene 63-66-129 Fairview 2016
Don Johnson and Rick Troutman 68-64-132 Fairview 2015
Brian Auman and Jim Gardner 64-69-133 Pine Meadows 2014
Mike Schmidt Jr. and Ryan Weaber   Iron Valley 2013
Bill Massar Jr. and Dave Berkheimer 68-69-137 Monroe Valley 2012
No tournament due to flooding     2011
Steve Allwein and Mike Schmidt 64-68-132 Royal Oaks 2010
Jim Gardner and Brain Auman 60-65-125 Fairview 2009
Tom Kintzer and Greg Behney 66-65-131 Blue Mountain 2008
Stu Hanford and Don Johnson 64-67-131 Pine Meadows 2007
Perry Umlauf and Shawn Cooper 66-66-132 Royal Oaks 2005
Dan Brown and Andy Gibbons 62-67-129 Pine Meadows 2004
Dan Brown and Andy Gibbons 66-60-126 Fariview 2003
Dan Brown and Chad Schulze 61-65-126 Lebanon Valley 2002
Bob Wenrich and John Hacunda 70-64-134 Monroe Valley 2000
John Digiacomo and Blaine Peffley 64-67-131 Fairview 1999
Joe Faller and Phil Faller 65-74-139 Monroe Valley 1998
Jim Gardner and Jim Calhoun 68-67-135 Fairview 1997
Pete Gebhard and Dave Kurtz 70-64-134 Fairview 1995
Pete Gebhard and Dave Kurtz 65-68-133 Fairview 1994
Mark Ditzler and Tom Sherk 69-68-137 Fairview 1992
Jeff Pyles and Jeff Behney 70-68-138 Fairview 1991
Rick Troutman and Pete Gebhard 70-65-135 Fairview 1990
Joe Faller and Dave Kurtz 66-67-133 Fairview 1989
Bob Page and Bill Shoop 68-65-133 Fairview 1988

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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