The old adage “horses for courses” is often used in the sport of thoroughbred racing to describe runners who excel at certain tracks. The saying is also applicable in golf.
Bob Mucha of Greenock Country Club in Lee, Mass., showed his
expertise on Donald Ross designs by shooting an even-par 71 in the
final round and then defeating Windham Country Club head pro Brian Lowe with a birdie on the first extra hole to capture the
annual Donald Ross Classic Monday at Glens Falls Country Club.
The first round was played on the par-70 Sagamore Resort, which was also designed by famed golf course architect Donald Ross.
Both Mucha and Lowe finished the two-day event with scores of two-over-par 143. After Lowe hit a solid 7-iron shot 15 feet from the cup and on the correct level of the two-tiered par-3 18th green, it looked like he was in the driver’s seat to win one of the Northeastern New York PGA’s major events.
But Mucha’s crisp 8-iron shot nestled just three feet to the left of the cup. Lowe’s birdie putt rolled several feet past, and then Mucha,
after taking about a minute to line up his putt, connected for the clutch birdie putt on the first playoff hole.
“I was going for the pin,” said the 45-year-old Mucha. “In a playoff, I always go for it. I knew exactly how to hit the shot, because I had hit two 8-irons just like it warming up on the driving range once I heard there was going to be a playoff. I read the putt wrong the first time I played the hole, and after watching Brian miss his putt to the right, I knew the putt was straight, even though it appears to go right to left.”
Mucha’s final round included just one birdie and one bogey.
“That’s my game,” said the former Ellis Hospital Pro-Am champion. “The key on Donald Ross courses is to make a lot of pars. My course at Greenock is also a Ross design. In fact, it was built in 1895, and it was one of Ross’ first 10
designs. I like tight courses, because I usually drive it straight. My course back home is even tighter than this one. I just played to my strength.”
Except for the playoff hole, Mucha’s best shot of the day was a chip-in on the 13th hole.
“I was one-over-par at the time, and I thought I was going to drop to two-over,” he said. “That chip-in gave me a real boost.”
Mucha has been one of the most consistent players in the NENYPGA since he joined the section five years ago. Last season, he was second to Peter Gerard of Mill Road Acres in the Player of the Year standings, and he was also fourth in the Vardon Trophy standings for lowest scoring average with a 72.21.
Lowe, who was second in the NENYPGA Senior Player of the Year standings a year ago, tied for low round of the day with a three-under-par 68. He birdied the first, fifth, 15th and 17th holes.
“I thought I played pretty well on Sunday, but I couldn’t make a putt,” Lowe said. “[Monday] I started out making a lot of one-putts. I one-putted on my first hole
[No. 16], and then also one-putted on the 17th, 18th, first and second hole. I was putting well, and I was three-under-par right away. I thought I was in for a really good round.
“But I kind of slowed up a little, and I made a three-putt bogey on the 12th hole. I knew I was playing pretty well, but I wasn’t sure what the low score was. In the playoff, I made a good swing, and I was 15 feet away, but when a guy comes right back at you with a shot just three feet away, there’s not much you can do. I read the putt about one cup to the right, and it went dead straight. It just stayed out there,” Lowe said.
“All in all, I played pretty well today. I like the idea of finishing on a par-3 hole, especially on this course, because the clubhouse is right there.”
Mucha earned $1,300, while Lowe took home $1,100. Canajoharie Country Club head pro Ian Breen shot a 69 and finished third with a two-day total of 144, good for $900. Schenectady native Jeremy Kerr, the head pro at Oneonta Country Club, was fourth with a 75-147 ($800), and Cobleskill Golf & Country Club head pro Bob
Meheran tied for low score of the day (68) and finished tied for fifth with a 149 and $650. Former Kingsboro head pro Paul Jaycox, now at Onteora, also shot a 149 total.
Bob Mucha (Greenock CC) 71-143, $1,300; Brian Lowe (Windham CC) 68-143, $1,100; Ian Breen (Canajoharie CC) 69-144, $900; Jerremy Kerr (Oneonta CC) 75-147, $800; Bob Meheran (Cobleskill G&CC) 68-149, $650; Paul Jaycox (Oneonta) 75-149, $650; David Strawn (Cranwell Resort) 77-150, $362.50; Anders Mattson (Saratoga National) 72-150, $362.50; James Marston (Stockbridge GC) 74-150, $362.50; Frank Mellet (Colonie G&CC) 72-150, $362.50; Scott Berliner (Shaker Ridge CC) 71-151, $66.65;
Peter Gerard (Mill Road Acres) 78-151, $66.65; Steve Vatter (Capital Hills) 78-151, $66.65; Kevin Pokoski (Ausable Club) 81-154; Kevin Cain (Hiland GC) 79-154; Glenn Davis (Albany CC) 78-155; John Neet (The Edison Club) 76-156; Brian Hampson (Burden Lake CC) 78-157; Tye Grissom (Wolferts Roost CC) 77-157; Glenn Condit (Stockbridge GC) 78-158; Kevin Bennison (Pinehaven CC)
82-158; Brent Smith (Tupper Lake CC)
85-162; Michael Stefanik (Pioneer Hills GC) 83-162; Glenn Dickerson (CC of Pittsfield) 84-163; Mark Fretto (Orchard Creek GC) 878-164; Eli Reid (Saratoga G&P) 81-164; Marc Levesque (Columbia G&CC) 78-165; Paul Engel (Albany) 82-166; John Mahon (Red Hook) 85-168; Michael Behan (Olde Kinderhook GC) 87-170; John Hall (Westport) NC; Tom Falotico (Dick’s) WD; Tom Siddon (Massena CC) WD; Kevin Hughes (Saratoga G&P) NC; Tom Oppedisano
(Orchard Creek) NC.
More from The Daily Gazette: