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Twice second, Roth breaks through for Eagle Creek Club title

By DON HOHLER • Jul 30, 2019 at 6:00 AM

NORWALK — Twice, Dusty Roth was second-best in the Men’s Eagle Creek Club championship.

Over the weekend, he was the best.

And when you carry a plus-3 handicap — the same as the two players in the pro shop — you should at least scare the wits out of the field. Not the case.

Also in that pro shop is an assistant by the name of Max Berry. He too can play. He strung together four straight birdies to start the tournament on Saturday.

But it was Roth who stood on the 36th and final hole on Sunday with a three-shot lead. He then striped it down the middle of the fairway, eventually putting for par on the final hole to win by four shots, 142-146.

Roth’s rounds and days mirrored one another. He shot even par 71’s both days, making two birdies and two bogeys on both hole 18’s. Berry’s numbers were 74-72—146.

“I never believed I couldn’t win this event,” said the 24-year old Roth, an employee for a lawn-care service. “I was playing well the two years I finished second — but not nearly with the confidence I am striking the ball this year.

“Max was a formidable opponent, one that kept the pressure on,” he added. “In fact, he took the lead on No. 4 today (Sunday) with a birdie. I got it back on No. 6 and improved on that lead the rest of the way. I kept telling myself that par’s were good. In the end I had 28 of them.”

Craig Meyer finished third with a 149, carding an even par 71 to tie Roth for the overnight lead. Willard’s Roger Tolley was third at 151 followed by Travis Bleile 152 and then two more former champions along with Tolley, Rod Bordman and Bill Terry at 154.

In the other men’s flights, 57-year-old John Ray won the A flight with back-to-back 78’s for a 156 and a three stroke win over always-competitive Jim Loughton (80-79—159). Tim Nickoli (80-82—162) finished third.

Ray, a project manager for a New London steel mill repair firm for 36 years, successfully defended his A Flight title.

“Concentrated on what needed to be done,” Ray said. “I stayed away from the real big number although three doubles did find a way into my round today (Sunday). But, nothing bigger than that to go with two birdies.”

The B Flight went to 35-year-old Ryan Gross, as he edged Taylor Holida by two shots, 166-168 (87-81). Two other players, Arvy Montvilas (79-90—169) and Dale Weier (77-92—169) were three shots off the pace set by Gross (82-84—166).

“The putts fell today (Sunday) when they rimmed out yesterday,” the 35-year-old Gross said. “I kept it out of trouble most of the day on Saturday in shooting that 82 and only made one bad pass today when I went OB on 17 when I hit a tree. I still salvaged a 5 on the hole.”

Gross won the title back in 2009 and was in the hunt going into the second day in 2014, only to fall prey to a younger player who shots lights out to win handily.

In the Senior Men’s flight, 76-year-old Larry Coe won going away, shooting 81-80 for a 161 and a net 123, That was 10 strokes better than veteran Dave Brady who shot 83-84—167 for a net 133. Steve Pittenger was third (87-92—179) net 135.

“Hit it lights out last couple days,” Coe said. “Been playing a lot of golf the past two weeks including a three-day stint down at River Greens in Coshocton where we met up with the folks we play golf with in Florida during the winter. The same people that own the River Greens course in Ohio own the one that we play on in Florida.”

Despite his solid play, Coe did not have a birdie over the weekend.

“Lots of two-putt pars, though,” the C flight winner from last year said. “I had a chance to play with Gary Wilkins last week and I took a lot from how he played, that easy swing that seemingly always got a good result.”

The following are the men’ scores by flights:

Championship flight: Dustin Roth 71-71—142, Max Berry 74-72—146, Craig Meyer 71-78—149, Roger Tolley 76-75—151, Travis Bleile 76-76—152, Tie Rod Bordman 76-78—154 and Bill Terry 79-75—154, Steve Farmer 77-80—157, Ken Bleile 81-80—161, Hogan Hite 83-79—162, Todd Brown 82-83—165, Zach Crane 84-82—166, Gary Mackay 86-81—167, Brian Roe 80-89—169.

A flight: John Ray 78-78—156, Jim Loughton 80-79—159, Tim Nickoli 80-82—162, Noah Hicks 88-80—168, Mel Holida 84-85—169, Tie Berto Yoguez 84-89—173 and Rickard Brooker 87-86—173, Eric Schneider 87-95—182, Mark Crawford 85-85—190, Rob Myers 90/WD.

B flight: Ryan Gross 82-84—166, Taylor Holida 87-81—168, Tie Arvy Montvilas 79-90—169 and Dale Weier 77-92—169, Bill Collins 80-84—172, Charlie Brown 96-87—173, Eric Bright 93-84—177, Joe Gross 92-89—181 and Kevin McCrann 89-92—181, Zac Rinner 99-111—210, Russ Brooker 104-109—213.

Men’s Senior flight: Larry Coe 81-80—161 net 123, Dave Brady 83-84—133 net 133, Steve Pittenger 87-92—179 net 135, Steve Schenko 75-79—154 net 138, Steve Schneider 78-75—153 net 139, Ralph Hedrick 87-89—176 net 140, Jerry Breslin 84-85—169 net 147, Tom Schubert 106-99—205 net 155, Dale Casper 111-91—202 net 162.

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