LEBANON – So what does it take to be a good golf partner? Many of the same qualities it takes to be a good partner.
One must be willing to accept advice as readily as give it. One must have the right temperament. One must always place the interest of the team ahead of oneself.
You also have to be able to play.
Stu Hanford knows the ins and outs of being a good partner, from both sides.
On a warm Saturday at the 6,361-yard, par-72 Lebanon Country Club, during the quarterfinal round of the match-play championship flight at the 76th annual W.B. Sullivan Better-Ball-of-Partners tournament, Hanford found himself in a familiar position with a new partner. The LCC member teamed with 25-year-old Maryland resident John Moles to register a 3&2 victory over 2019 champions Dan Brown and Jason Troutman and reach the Sunday semifinals of the prestigious event.
There, Hanford-Moles will take on Kyle Barlow-Justin Foster, who nudged the local team of Chris Gebhard and Jeff Daniels, 1 up on the 22nd hole of their epic quarterfinal match. The other Sunday semifinal will pit top-seeded Jeff Castle and Billy Wingerd against number-four seed Bailey Sophy-Nick Hand.
Last year, Hanford broke through with partner Brian Blalock, to capture his first-ever Sullivan title. But when Blalock couldn’t defend the championship because of a prior commitment, Hanford was introduced to Moles through a mutual acquaintance.
“It’s very similar to last year,” said Hanford. “We hit it off right away. It’s nice to have a partner you can count on.
“Obviously, I’d love to win it. I’d love to defend,” continued Hanford. “This is huge to me. I grew up here. I grew up watching this event. I spent a lot of time here. It’s something that I aspire to win, but we just take each match as it comes.”
Locked in a tense battle with Brown-Troutman, Hanford’s and Moles’ games really came together on a six-hole stretch in the middle of the back-nine. In that span Hanford and Moles went from being down a hole to winning the match.
The turning point may have been when Hanford-Moles won the par-four 11th hole with a par to square the match. Then, Hanford rolled in short birdie putts at the par-three 12th and the par-three 14th, before Moles won it with a 16-foot birdie putt at the par-four 16th.
“It was a nice stretch,” said Hanford. “I found something in my swing and I got it to work. It was a new swing change. It just shows how dumb this game is.”
“It was a grind,” said Moles. “It seemed like you had to make birdie to stay in the hole. But at the same time it was exciting, because it was good golf. It was very emotional.”
After posting a 5&3 triumph over seventh-seeded Brady Goodling-Steve Goodley in their Saturday morning opener, Hanford drained a six-foot birdie putt on the 377-yard, par-four first hole to put his team one-up on Brown-Troutman. It took a birdie to win or halve each one of the next six holes.
“Stu’s partner bailed, so I’m the replacement,” said Moles. “But I’m super excited to be here and playing with Stu.”
Barlow, a native of Lebanon and a resident of Florida, and partner Foster, a resident of Florida, had qualified for the championship flight in their two previous Sullivan appearances. But Saturday marked the first time they reached the semifinals, following a pair of quarterfinal setbacks in 2020 and 2019.
They accomplished the feat when Foster chipped in for birdie at the 365-yard, par-four Number Four, the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff.
“He had about five or six feet for birdie,” said Foster of his partner. “But it was downhill, so you don’t want him to have to make that putt. It (his chip shot) came out perfect, rolled on the green and went into the center of the cup. It was pretty exciting.”
Down two holes to Gebhard-Daniels, Barlow-Foster won the tricky par-four 13th with a par, then squared the match with Barlow’s five-foot birdie at the par-four 16th. The match stayed even through the next five holes, before Foster’s heroics on Number Four.
“This is my hometown,” said Barlow. “We lost in the quarters the last two years, so we really wanted it. He’s (Foster) a player. We look forward to this tournament every year.”
Barlow-Foster assumed an early lead, with a birdie at the par-four first hole. But Gebhard-Daniels won two of the next three holes and led by a hole or two holes until Number 13.
“We just love this event,” said Foster. “We don’t come up from Florida not to win. We’re here to win it.”
#10 Stu Hanford-Jone Moles def. #15 Dan Brown-Jason Troutman, 3&2
#11 Kyle Barlow-Justin Foster def. #3 Chris Gebhard-Jeff Daniels, 22nd hole
#1 Jeff Castle-Billy Wingerd def. #8 Connor Sheehan-Reed Huntzinger, 2&1
#4 Bailey Sophy-Nick Hand def. #5 Daniel Eggertson-Casey Denesvich, 19th hole
#1 Jeff Castle-Billy Wengerd def. #16 Chelton Hunter-Mark Pollinger, 3&2
#15 Dan Brown-Jason Troutman def. #2 Brian Golembiewski-James McCallum, 5&4
#3 Chris Gebhard-Jeff Daniels def. #14 John DiGiacomo-Steve Allwein, 2&1
#4 Bailey Sophy-Nick Hand def. #13 Brixton Albert-Alex Karkeek, 372
#5 Daniel Eggerston-Kasey Denesevich def. #12 Jeff Frazier-Brent Will. 20th hole
#11 Kyle Barlow-Justin Foster def. #6 Blake Reifsnyder-Nick Vecellio, 1 up
#10 Stu Hanford-Jon Moles def. #7 Brady Goodling-Steve Goodley, 5&3
#8 Connor Sheehan-Reed Huntzinger def. Sean Smyth-Brian Auman, 8&7
2020 – Stu Hanford- Brian Blalock
2019 – Dan Brown-Jason Troutman
2018 – Chris Gebhard-Noah Firestone
2017 – Chris Gebhard-Noah Firestone
2016 – Jeff Castle-Jimmy Green
2015 – Chad Stine-Drew Patterson
2014 – Brady Goodling-Kyle Deisher
2013- Scott Mayne-Derek Price
2012 – Andy Gibbons-Jimmy Gardner
2011 – Dan McCreesh-Anthony Campanile
2010 – Dan Brown-Brian Auman
2009 – Darren Zendt-Jim Rattigan
2008 — Ben Rowe-Robby Gilbert
2007 — Brian Golembiewski-Chris Schultz
2006 — Michael Tydings-Jeff Castle
2005 — Ira Cohen-David Kaplan
2004 — Chuck Tait-Scott Mayne
2003 — Ira Cohen-David Kaplan
2002 — Jim Gardner-Jim Calhoun
2001 — Dan Brown-Brian Auman
2000 — Gary Mankulish, Sr. – Gary Mankulish, Jr.
1999 — Jim Gardner-Jim Calhoun
1998 — Gary Mankulish, Sr.-Gary Mankulish, Jr.
1997 — Larry Fulkroad-Steven Shrawder
1996 — Lance Oberparleiter-Bill Kennedy
1995 — Jonathan Clark-Sean Duffy
1994 — Mike Reitz-Joe Records
1993 — Mike Reitz-Joe Records
1992 — Scott Orr-Marty Dorminy
1991 — Mark Ditzler-John Gross
1990 — Dennis Toomey-Steve Krall
1989 — Jim Douglass-Dave Johnson
1988 — Jim Douglass-Dave Johnson
1987 — Roger Karsnitz-Jay Hileman
1986 — Byron Whitman-Chuck Scally, Jr.
1985 — George Connolly-Drew Devan
1984 — Greg Lesher-Mark Ditzler
1983 — Pete Gebhard-Dave Kurtz
1982 — Bill Grove-King Knox
1981 — Hugh Vaughn III-Stu Ingraham
1980 — Hugh Vaughn III-Stu Ingraham
1979 — Hugh Vaughn III-Stu Ingraham
1978 — Hugh Vaughn III-Stu Ingraham
1977 — Rick Hirp-Charles Springfellow
1976 — Bob Kreider-Marlin Detweiler
1975 — Bob Kreider-Marlin Detweiler
1974 — Dr. John Gadd-Dr. Pete Richter
1973 — Don DeAngelis-Eric Stevenson
1972 — Wayne Jacobs-Sherman Keeney II
1971 — Bill Shoop-Joe Faller
1970 — Wayne Jacobs-Sherman Keeney II
1969 — Wayne Jacobs-Sherman Keeney II
1968 — Bobby Huber-Chuck Schmidt
1967 — James Dolan-Joseph Durante
1966 — Jim Taylor-Bob Tibbons
1965 — King Knox-Gerald Book
1964 — Jim Meyer-Larry Feldman
1963 — Earl Mumma-Charles Springfellow
1962 — Don Chornak-Jim Taylor
1961 — Bob Bierne-Bill Davidson
1960 — Charles Fink-G.J. Moeschlin, Jr.
1959 — Mike Karapcik-Wano Thompson
1958 — Joe Spesak-William Rakow
1957 — Marvin Serber-Henry McQuiston
1956 — Marvin Serber-Henry McQuiston
1955 — Al Rabold-Larry Shaw
1954 — Bob Batdorf-John Yocum
1953 — Stan Knight-Harry Offut
1952 — John Markel-Stan Ross
1951 — Serio-Stortoni-Bill Johnson
1950 — Jack Binswanger-Robert Gilbert
1949 — George Robotham-Leo Heller
1948 — H.H. Haverstick Jr.-I. Richard Herr
1947 — George Robotham-Leo Heller
1946 — Buddy Lutz-Billy Eben