BY JEFF FALK
NORTH LEBANON – Not sure if Dan Brown is just a really good partner or simply knows how to pick one. But right now, every putt he’s stroking is going in, every drive he’s hitting is straight down the middle and every decision he’s making about golf – on and off the course – is the right one.
On a humid Saturday morning, over Pine Meadows Golf Course’s 5,734-yard, par-72 layout – some 20 days removed from winning the W.B. Sullivan Better-Ball with Jason Troutman – Brown teamed with new partner Ryan Woelfling to grab a share of the first-round lead, at the 28th annual Lebanon County Better-Ball-of-Partners tournament. Feeding off each other, Brown and Woelfling fired a nine-under par 63 to tie the team of Tom Kintzer-Josh Kreiser atop the opening-round leaderboard.
One shot back of the co-leaders was the team of Bill Massar, Jr.-Tyler Shank, who carded an eight-under 64. The tandems of Jim Gardner-Chris Gebhard and Tony Ebersole-Shawn Preis found themselves tied for fourth place after registering similar 66s.
Four shots behind the co-leaders was the unit of Tyler Massar-Scott Heckard, and their 67. Defending champions Jesse Brown-Mike Potts, Randy Kohr-Chuck Scwab, Mat Rowe-Tom Eberly and Dave Albright-Ed Killian all posted four-under par scores of 68.
The second and final round of the 36-hole tournament will be contested Sunday morning back at Pine Meadows.
Brown has won this particular event three times in the past – in 2002, 2003, 2004 – with two different partners. For Woelfling, a 19-year-old college student, yesterday marked his first County Better-Ball-of-Partners experience.
“We played really solid, tee to green, both of us,” said Brown. “I don’t really looking for anyting particular in a partner. I just want to have a good time. I looked at it like Ryan was playing in this for the first time and it could be a good stepping stone for him. I like seeing the younger guys come up and play well. Luckily we got paired up, and I was looking forward to it.”
“I feel the biggest thing is, if you don’t have a good hole you can trust your partner to be there,” said Woelfling. “We didn’t really have too many bad holes. I don’t think Dan and I are going to have too many bad holes together. I feel like, ‘You can pick me up and I can pick you up.'”