The hit and pray. It's not a shot one would see in a golf video or magazine, but if it's working, it's the most valuable shot in the golfer's arsenal.
Dean Alt showed just how important the shot can be Saturday in taking the junior-senior championship flight of the Grainge Memorial Senior Golf Tournament at Birch Ridge Golf Course.
Alt finished 36 holes of the two-day tournament tied with Gordon Griffin with a total of 154, so the duo entered a playoff to decide supremacy amongst the juniors and seniors, or those 50 to 59 years old.
On the first hole, a straight, 325-yard par 4, Griffin started by putting his tee shot on the fairway. Alt followed by poking his shot into an awkward position in the right rough.
It was time to hit and pray.
"I only had a gap to get out of that was this big," said Alt, holding his hands about a foot apart. "That was all I could do. Hit it and pray."
Alt lined an iron just short of the green. When Griffin sprayed his approach shot to the right of the green, Alt was right back in the playoff. Both ended up just missing par putts and bogeyed the hole.
On came the second hole, a straight, 375-yard par 4, and another tee shot on the fairway by Griffin. Alt followed with a tee shot that took a nasty hook into the rough on the left. The ball eventually came to rest less than a foot from a tree root.
Alt again served up a classic hit and pray, this time somehow coaxing his approach shot onto the green and drawing a cry of, "Two miracles!" from the gallery. Meanwhile, Griffin followed by pushing his approach shot wide of the green again.
"I had better position on both holes," Griffin said. "I just hit two fat shots. He did an outstanding job of getting out of trouble."
Griffin, on the other hand, soon met with disaster. His chip didn't quite get up on the green. When he addressed his next shot, the ball rolled down the hill a little, resulting in a one-stroke penalty.
Griffin ended up taking a double bogey on the hole, while Alt tapped in for an easy par and his first title at the Senior Tournament in three tries.
The playoff ended a long dogfight between Griffin, Alt and Billy Applewhite for the junior-senior hardware. All entered the 18th hole Saturday tied. Alt and Griffin came up with pars to advance to the playoff, while Applewhite was eliminated with a double bogey.
"It was a great battle between Billy, Dean and myself," Griffin said. "We were all trading the lead back and forth all day. I had a great time playing with those guys."
Rita Botelho had a two-day total of 177 to take the ladies flight. Botelho topped runner-up Lynne Reynolds by three strokes.
A chip-in birdie on the first hole Saturday was enough for Botelho to overcome what she termed a couple of "senior" mistakes.
"There were two times I teed off from the wrong tees and had to take a two-stroke penalty," Botelho said. "I did it once today and once yesterday.
"After I did it yesterday, I told myself it was never going to happen again. It didn't take very long for it to happen again."
Pat Cowan took top honors in the masters, or 60 and up, championship flight with a two-day total of 168. Cowan topped runner-up Tom Allison by one stroke. Although Allison and Cowan were in the same group, Cowan said the two didn't exactly have a heated battle coming down the stretch.
"We were both playing so bad that we didn't think either of us had a chance of winning," Cowan said.
Also Saturday, Carolyn Turkington took the low net in the ladies flight, Roger Jones took the masters first flight, Andy Anderson took the masters second flight, John Tongen won the junior-senior first flight and John Roderick won the junior-senior second flight.
Reynolds had the longest drive on hole No. 3 amongst the women, while Darell Jelsma took long drive honors for the men for the second year in a row.
Closest to the pin on No. 6 went to Pat Bird for the women, while closest to the pin on No. 8 went to Gordon Briscoe for the men.
Pat Cowan putts on the 18th hole to win the masters championship flight of the Grainge Memorial Senior Golf Tournament at Birch Ridge Golf Course Saturday afternoon.
Photo by M. SCOTT MOON
Grainge Memorial Senior Golf Tournament
at Birch Ridge Golf Course
Rita Botelho 87-90 -- 177
Lynne Reynolds 89-91 -- 180
Carolyn Turkington 83-98 -- 181
Joe Briscoe 91-105 -- 196
Myrna Cowan 100-98 -- 198
Chiya Bazan 104-98 -- 202
Linda Murphy 97-108 -- 205
Pat Bird 101-107 -- 208
Jane Tongen 106-109 -- 215
Jan Stenga 112-106 -- 218
Louise Schadle 106-120 -- 226
Sharon Keating WD
Men's Masters Flights
Pat Cowan 83-85 -- 168
Tom Allison 80-89 -- 169
John Davis 84-91 -- 175
Mo Redford 87-89 -- 176
Jerry Norris 93-88 -- 181
Dave Keating 88-96 -- 184
Butch Anderson 86-99 -- 185
Roger Jones 92-93 -- 185
Phil Turkington 88-99 -- 187
Chuck Rider 97-91 -- 188
Packy Dick 100-89 -- 189
Gordon Briscoe 104-93 -- 197
Dave Stein WD
Andy Anderson 92-88 -- 180
Don McGhee 88-93 -- 181
Carl Christensen 93-95 -- 188
Chuck Obendorf 106-109 -- 215
Clair Schadle 116-120 -- 236
Men's Junior/Senior Flights
Gordon Griffin 76-78 -- 154
Dean Alt 75-79 -- 154
Billy Applewhite 78-78 -- 156
Craig Jung 86-80 -- 166
Bill Burtrum 85-83 -- 168
Mike Hollingsworth 83-88 -- 171
John Tongen 81-81 -- 162
Dwight Kramer 84-80 -- 164
Jim Bradford 77-89 -- 166
Darell Jelsma 86-81 -- 167
Jesse Wade 84-84 -- 168
Jim Legner 92-82 -- 174
Bill Fletcher 91-89 -- 180
Jim McWilliams 93-95 -- 188
John Roderick 87-86 -- 173
Rob Salo 90-90 -- 180
Ray Hamby 90-96 -- 186
Bill Davis 88-100 -- 188
E.Z. Hoyez 101-88 -- 189
Richard Atuk 95-97 -- 192
Ken Schaefer 115-114 -- 229
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