Story by Pat Payton | St. Marys Independent
Reid Swartzentruber picked a good time to finally beat his older brother Chad in tournament golf play.
Swartzentruber fired a one-over-par 73 to win the annual Coca-Cola Men’s Invitational Saturday at the St. Marys Golf and Country Club. Finishing one shot back were big lefthander Chad Swartzentruber, the 2018 St. Marys Champion, and 20-year-old Derick Hare Jr., of Windsor.
It was a good day for the Swartzentruber clan from New Hamburg. Reid (37-36) was the overall champion, Chad (36-38) was the ‘A’ Flight winner, and Craig (44-44) was the ‘E’ Flight winner. All played in the same foursome.
A total of 93 golfers teed it up in sunny, warm, but windy conditions. Golfers were divided among five handicap divisions.
Reid Swartzentruber, who is a member at the Stratford Country Club, had three birdies - No. 10, 11 and 14 - during his round. However, he bogeyed his final two holes, No. 7 and 8, but managed to hang on for the one-shot victory.
“Short game,” Swartzentruber replied when asked what the strength of his game was Saturday. “I pretty well got up and down from everywhere. It was my first time playing this well in a tournament. I guess we had to keep it in the family.
“The wind was definitely a factor today,” he added. “There were a lot of holes where you had to take two extra clubs, which made it tough . . . a lot of knock-down shots.”
Swartzentruber, meanwhile, is 10 years younger than his brother Chad, who won last year’s Men’s Golf Invitational in a one-hole, three-man playoff.
Hare was the early clubhouse leader after splits of 37-37. The Essex Golf & Country Club member played the St. Marys course the previous day and shot a 71. His goal was to shoot a 70 or 71 in the Invitational, he said. Hare pencilled in birdies on No. 16 and 18. The two-handicapper also had four bogeys during his round.
“I just kept the ball in play because of all the wind,” he said. “I hit 4-iron off the tee on every hole except for two holes, so I was able to keep it in play.
“It’s kind of a tricky course. It’s tight on some holes, and there’s a lot of hills and elevations to worry about as well. But I enjoyed playing the (golf) course.”
Hare is a member of the St. Clair College golf team and enters approximately 10 to 15 tournaments a summer.
The overall net winner was Brent Feltz (39-42-81). The ‘B’ Flight winner was Bill Sinclair (39-38-77), the ‘C’ Flight winner was Mark Speed (38-41-79), and the ‘D’ Flight winner was Adam Wolfe (39-43-82).
Several golfers praised the condition of the greens and the golf course in general.
“The greens were rolling really nice,” said young lefty Ben Dale, who shot a 79. “I haven’t seen them roll this fast this year, considering all the weather we’ve had. (Greenskeeper) Sandy (Fifield) has done a great job. The course is playing really well - it’s a good set-up for this golf tournament.”
Fellow St. Marys member Bob Hearn agreed. “Course conditions were very good today - the course was in great shape,” he said. “The pins were in tough spots and the greens were rolling good. The wind was also tough out there. I would think even-par would be a good score today,” Hearn added as he finished his round.
Note: There were two 76s posted on Saturday, and six 77s.
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London native Len Foran, a long-time junior golf instructor and Ryder Cup player at the St. Marys Golf & Country Club has passed away.
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