By Pat Payton | Sports Editor at the Journal Argus
Marty Rutledge tried to keep his golf game simple and stay out of trouble. And for the most part it worked this past weekend as St. Marys Golf and Country Club held its annual two-day Club golf Championships for the men and women. Rutledge, known as one of the best and most consistent golfers in St. Marys, fired rounds of 75 and 76 (151 total) to win the men’s division by three shots.
“I drove the ball better than I have been,” Rutledge replied when asked what parts of his golf game were working for him.
“My putting was average, and my irons weren’t quite as good as normal. But I didn’t get myself into a lot of trouble and that made it easier.
“I kept it simple and didn’t make a lot of mistakes. It could have been better, but it was enough to get there I guess.”
Rutledge, 47, was also men’s club golf champion in 2005 and 2008. In a small men’s division field this year (just 12 golfers), Rutledge had his sights on winning.
“I had been playing well coming into this weekend,” said Rutledge, who plays off a zero handicap. “I was a little afraid of that to be honest because I had been playing really well.
“(The Club Championships) get to be a little more mental. It’s not your average Sunday . . . you play a little differently. There’s obviously more pressure than a regular round.
“But I’ve been happy with my golf game all year. Winning this feels good. There was a reduced field this year, and there’s been a select few guys over the last dozen years who have won this.
“You want to play against the best in the Club, and with a few of them not here it’s a little bittersweet. You want to earn it against the best in the club, but you still have to go out and get the ball in the hole. Overall, I’m happy.”
Finishing second overall was four-time Club champion Dave Shepley. He was the first-day leader with a 74, then shot an 80 on Sunday for a two-day total of 154.
“I wish I could have putted better (Sunday),” Shepley said.
“Shep played well; he got a few bad breaks,” Rutledge added. “It happens.”
Third place overall went to David Blake, who posted rounds of 78 and 82 for a 160 total.
Rutledge, Shepley and Blake played together in the final threesome this year.
Defending men’s division champ Mike Johnson was unable to play this year due to injury.
There’s a new Ladies club champion this year. She’s Pat Hearn, who claimed a three-shot victory after posting rounds of 80 and 94 for a two-day total of 174. “I finished strong (Sunday),” Hearn told the Journal Argus. “I parred 16, 17 and 18, so that was nice.”
Second place went to Loretta Czernis with rounds of 87 and 90 for a 177 total. She started Sunday seven shots back, but closed the gap by four.
The third-best score among the lady golfers was shot by Jan Jenkins (93-90-183).
Fourteen ladies competed in the division this year.
Two-time defending champion Jordan Jarrett was unable to play this year. Jarrett, 18, has already begun classes at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, where she accepted a NCAA golf scholarship earlier this year.
Rich Parsons won the Senior men’s golf title for the fourth straight year with rounds of 69 and 75. He finished even par (144) for the two days. After his three-under 69 on Saturday, Parsons carried an eight-shot lead into the final day.
Finishing 10 shots back was Eric Henkemans (77-77-154), the ‘A’ Division winner.
The Senior men’s division was the biggest field, featuring 24 golfers.
A new division this year was the Super Seniors (70 and up), and Tom Warren was the runaway winner after shooting great rounds of 75 and 78 for a 153 total. Warren collected four birdies on Saturday, and another on Sunday.
Eight male golfers competed in the Super Seniors grouping.
In Saturday’s opening round in the men’s division, Dave Shepley fired a two-over-par 74 (38-36) to hold a one-shot lead over Marty Rutledge (39-36-75) going into the final round.
Sitting in third place was David Blake with a 78 (35-43). After Saturday’s round, Blake quipped that he was going to put some “heat” on the two leaders on Sunday.
Rich Parsons posted the best score of any golfer on Saturday. Five birdies helped Parsons shoot his three-under 69.
For the defending Senior men’s champion, it gave Parsons a commanding eight-shot lead going into the final round.
Parsons, who had splits of 34-35, said he “scrambled well” on Saturday.
Sitting in a second-place tie in Senior men’s (age 50 to 69) after the opening round were Wayne Ross (40-37-77) and Eric Henkemans (39-38-77).
In the Super Seniors division (age 70 and up), Tom Warren carded a nice 75 (38-37) on Saturday to sit atop the leader board with a huge lead over three other golfers.
In the Ladies division, Pat Hearn posted an 80 (39-41) to also hold a comfortable first-day lead.
Loretta Czernis was in second place with an 87 (48-39) after Saturday’s round.
Club ‘C’ notebook:
--A total of 58 golfers competed in the Club Championships at St. Marys G&CC this year.
--Rich Parsons, 59, has now won the Senior men’s title the past four years. He was also overall men’s club champion as recently as 2014 and 2015.
--Dave Shepley was going after his fifth men’s club title this year. He previously won the honour in 2004, 2007, 2011 and 2012.
--Sandy Fifield and her grounds crew were thanked for having the golf course in “amazing” condition this past weekend.
--The golfers played in ideal weather conditions on both days.
--Golf Operations Manager Eric Dunn and President and General Manager Matt Staffen did a fine job of organizing and running this year’s Club ‘C’ tournament.