BY JEFF FALK
QUENTIN – They didn’t know exactly where it was coming from. But they knew there would be a charge coming from somewhere.
So all that Mike Schmidt, Jr. and Pete Parpagene could really do was take care of their own business.
On Sunday at the par-71 6,305-yard Fairview Golf Course, Schmidt and Parpagene’s play-aggressive-with-the-lead approach netted them the championship of the 28th annual Lebanon County Better-Ball-of-Partners Championship. Schmidt and Parpagene followed up a first-day 63 with a second-round 66 on Sunday, for a 129 total that was 13-under par and one shot lower than hard chargers Mike Turner and Chris Fairbanks, who carded back-to-back 65s for a 130 total.
The rest of the field finished well behind Schmidt and Parpagene’s pace. Coming in third, four shots behind, was the team of Nate Wentling and Mark Brandt, while another two shots back were defending champions Rick Troutman and Don Johnson, Justin Arnt and Andrew Bennett and Scot Adams and Terry Ludwig, who each recorded 137s.
Posting 69-69=138s were Greg Seidel and Kevin Knox and Steve Allwein and John DiGiacomo. Steve Sherk and Matt Cecil counted 66-76=142, and Bill Massar, Jr. and Dave Berkheiser registered a 67-76=143.
But the story of the tournament was Schmidt and Parpagene, and their ability to repel surges. Over their 36 holes, Schmidt and Parpagene collected a total of 15 birdies and just two bogeys, while hitting green after green in regulation.
“We said this morning if we shot 130 for the tournament, we’d be OK,” said Schmidt, who won the event for the third time, with his third different partner. “Pete said on 13, if we get two more birds, we should be OK. They told us on 15 the guys in front of us (Turner and Fairbanks) were at five-under (for the day). And we knew we had to two-putt 18.”
“We knew we were down two coming into today,” said Fairbanks. “We started hearing things around (holes) 14 or 15. We said, ‘Let’s try to get two more on the way in.’ And we got one.”
“They’re great players,” said Turner of Schmidt and Parpagene. “We didn’t think they were going to make any bogeys. And we figured they were going to birdie number 17.”
The difference down the stretch may have been Schmidt’s tap-in birdie at the 511-yard, par-five 14th hole. Both teams birdied the par-five 17th – Schmidt, after a nice chip and Fairbanks from ten feet away.
Turner and Fairbanks may have also left another shot out on the course when they failed to birdie the par-five seventh hole.
“I played better than I expected to play,” said Schmidt. “Yeah, I’m not mad. I always expect to play, but whether or not that happens is a different story. Pete makes it easy. He was a very good partner. We got more out of the round than we expected to.
“We’re competitive,” added Schmidt. “We didn’t say we were going to play if we didn’t think we could win. You play to win the game.”
“I was basically caddying a couple of holes,” said Parpagene, who was playing in his first competitive tournament in ten years. “I was Schmidty’s relief pitcher. But we had a lot of fun again. We had a blast. I didn’t feel like we were ever on the verge of anything bad. There wasn’t a whole lot of pressure put on either one of us.”
With Schmidt driving the ball consistently well, he and Parpagene also registered short birdies at the par-five fourth, the par-five seventh and the par-four tenth. Parpagene also contributed a 40-foot birdie at the par-four fifth hole.
Their only bogey was the result of missing the green and not being able to get up and down at the 195-yard, par-three ninth.
“We could probably count on one hand the number of times both of us had to get up and down,” said Schmidt. “As far as a number goes, we didn’t try to shoot one.
“It’s just fun,” Schmidt continued. “The golf course is usually the same. They do a great job here. That’s (enjoying the play at Fairview) relative. I play pretty good at Manada. It’s a comfort thing. It’s comfy here. And Parp is easy to play with.”
By birdieing three of their first four holes, Fairbanks and Turner grabbed the lead early. Fairbanks rolled in ten-footers at the par-four opening hole and the par-four second hole, before Turner struck for a four-footer at the par-five fourth.
“This is the first year I played the majority of my golf in Lebanon County,” said Turner, a Lancaster County resident who works at Royal Oaks. “It was good. We played with great people today. We played with great people yesterday.”
“They (Schmidt and Parpagene) played well,” said Fairbanks. who resides in East Petersburg and teaches in the Lebanon school district. “They deserved it. We enjoyed ourselves.”
Fairbanks also birdied the par-four 11th from 15 feet, and Turner birdied the par-four 12th from six feet. But all they could muster over their final six holes was one-under par.
“I missed two short ones, at 14 and 16,” said Turner. “But we played well. We’re happy where we finished.”
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Lebanon County Better-Ball-of-Partners
|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|