BY JEFF FALK
LEBANON – Thirty-seven holes of match play can be a lot of golf in one day. That’s why you need a friend, a partner.
Someone to lean on, and someone to pick you up when you’re down.
On a hot Saturday at the 6,652-yard, par-72 Lebanon Country Club, Dan Brown was there when partner Jason Troutman needed him most, during the quarterfinal round of the championship flight, at the 74th annual W.B. Sullivan Better-Ball-of-Partners tournament. After Troutman had misfired on a short, potential match-clinching putt at Number 18, Brown canned an eight-foot birdie on the initial hole of a sudden-death playoff to give their side a 19-hole triumph over the Baltimore-area duo of Jeff Castle and Alex Church.
The victory lifted Brown-Troutman into a Sunday morning semifinal showdown with Ron Robinson and Andrew Lombardo, who disposed of Kyle Barlow-Justin Foster, 4&3 in their Saturday quarterfinal match. The other half of the bracket will feature the medalist duo of Drew Patterson and Jeff Stine taking on Connor Sheehan-Matt Keim.
The survivors will meet for the championship of the prestigious event, around 2 p.m.
Patterson-Stine, who won the 2015 edition of the Sullivan, nudged the semi-local tandem of Stu Hanford-John Little, 3-1 in another quarterfinal match on Saturday afternoon. Sheehan-Keim edged Ken Bolcavage and John Mikewicz, 1 up, in the quartefinal round.
Brown and Troutman, a resident of Dannville, reached this same point of the Sullivan last season. Brown is a two-time Sullivan champion, having worn the crown with Brian Auman in 2009 and 2001.
“I was glad to give Jason a little redemption,” said Brown, of the decisive turn of events. “I did feel good about that one (the eight-footer at the 382-yard, par-four First hole). At that point, I didn’t care which way it was going to go. I’m not a real technical putter. I just feel it and hit it..
“Two holes was the biggest lead of the match,” Brown continued. “They were two up on us on the front and we got two up on them on the back. It was pretty taxing all day. It was stressful golf throughout the day. Every shot was pretty stressful.”