Story By Pat Payton | St.Marys Independent Newspaper
Rich Parsons didn’t hesitate.
He quickly said putting was the biggest reason he won the annual Senior Men’s Invitational last Wednesday at St. Marys Golf and Country Club. The long-time St. Marys G&CC member fired a three-under-par 69 to top the field for the seventh time since 2008. He also won the event in 2009, 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019.
A total of 117 golfers teed it up in pleasant, but windy playing conditions last Wednesday.
“I really, really putted well,” the 64-year-old Parsons told the Independent. “I took a little more time with my putts today. When you’re just out playing, you don’t line up putts in both directions, but today I did. Yes, I think the greens were a little faster than normal today,” he noted.
Best he’s played this year
Parsons, who plays at a 1 handicap, collected five birdies and two bogeys during his 34-35 round. He said it was the best score he’s posted this spring.
“It’s the best I’ve played this year,” Parsons said. “And I told the guys in my group, that’s the best I can play. I played really solid.”
Going into the tournament, Parsons said his strategy was to keep the ball in play, and make the medium-length putts. “That’s the big thing. I made the six-foot and eight-foot putts, all day consistently. When I had birdie putts from eight feet, I made them. When I had par putts from six feet, I made them.”
Various flight results
The following are the top scores in each age flight.
In the 50-59 division, Rob Cowan was first with a one-under 71 (35-36), followed by St. Marys member Jamie Hodgins with a 74 (34-40). Three players – Rob Mann, Garofolo and Tim Zanini – had 79s. Low net winner in the division was Dean Weber with a 70.
With Parsons the overall low gross winner, Rick Hebert was the flight winner in the 60-64 division with a 76 (37-39). Philip Cole was second with a 77, followed by Tim Torrens, St. Marys member Merlin Malinowski (43-37) and John Malcolm – all with 80s. Low net winner was Rod Crump with a 69.
In the 65-69 division, defending champ Rick Fifield, of St. Marys, finished first with an even-par 72 (35-37). Gerard Denomme was second with a 78, followed by Tom Hyman and Gerry Martin with 79s. Larry Torrance, of Mitchell, was low net winner with a 70.
In the 70-74 division, Glen Chandler was first with a 79 (40-39). St. Marys member Jimmy Craigmile was second with an 80 (40-40), followed by Dan Salembier with an 83 and Willy Keller with an 85. Low net winner was St. Marys member John Cooke with a 75.
In the 75-plus division, Cliff Brown was first with an 80 (39-41), followed by Vaughan Peckham with an 81. Low net winner was Cal George with 70.
Wind was a big factor
Many golfers said the wind played a big factor in last Wednesday’s tournament.
“The wind was tough,” Rich Parsons said. “If you told me that I would shoot 70 at the start of the day, I would have taken it. I would have been happy, absolutely.”
Malinowski said the wind changed direction a few times over the course of the day.
“The first hour, the wind was blowing in one direction, and then the next hour another direction. It kept you guessing all day. And I agree that the greens were faster than normal, which challenges you.”
Malinowski also praised the condition of the golf course.
“Honestly, I’ve never seen the golf course in better shape – greens, fairways, tee-blocks,” he said. “The rough was penal today. If you missed the fairway, you were going to pay a price for that.”
–Ken Muir was the overall low net winner with a 65. He competed in the 75-plus division.
–Closest to the pin winners were as follows: Jamie Hodgins (No. 2), Chris Knowles (No. 5), Glen Chandler (No. 7), Greg Thompson (No. 16) and Doug Morton (No. 18).
–The Senior Men’s Invitational at St. Marys G&CC dates back to 1999. Bob Kalmusky was the first winner.