Mohawk Member-Guest: Devitt’s par seals victory

Turning 60 years old might mean a little less bang with the driver, but it hasn’t slowed down the pu

Turning 60 years old might mean a little less bang with the driver, but it hasn’t slowed down the putting strokes of lifelong friends Mike Carroll and Les Devitt.

Both Carroll and Devitt made numerous clutch putts, including Devitt’s 10-foot par putt on the final hole that clinched a one-stroke victory in the annual Mohawk Member-Guest Sunday at Mohawk Golf Club.

Carroll, the defending Gazette Senior County Amateur champion, and Devitt, his playing partner for more than 45 years, rallied from a two-shot deficit at the turn to grab a two-stroke advantage on the 16th hole. After Ben Bates and Chad Stoffer each bogeyed the hole, Carroll made a tap-in par to give his team some breathing room.

But the momentum changed quickly on the next hole. Both Carroll and Devitt were in trouble off the tee. Carroll found a fairway bunker and blasted out short of the green. Devitt sliced his tee shot behind some trees. His 5-wood shot bounced off another tree, and he eventually reached the green in three. Carroll pitched up to 10 feet.

Meanwhile, Stoffer’s approach shot landed in the back of the green, but he rolled in an unlikely 35-foot twisting birdie putt that was downhill with a severe left-to-right break.

Trying to avoid a two-shot swing, Carroll then rolled in his par putt to help his team maintain its one-stroke lead.

On the final hole, Carroll hit his tee shot to the right and came up short with his approach. That left it up to Devitt, who reached the green in two, but had a 25-foot birdie putt that was downhill with a left-to-right break.

Stoffer’s approach shot landed in the fringe about 12 feet from the cup. After Devitt’s birdie putt came up 10 feet short, Stoffer had a chance to either push his team into a tie or win the tournament outright with his birdie putt, but it bounced off the putter and just missed.

Devitt than rolled in his clutch, breaking putt for the win.

“I knew that last putt was going to move to the right, so I played it about a cup outside and hit it off the toe,” said Devitt. “I knew if Chad made his putt, we could have been in trouble. We had to at least make a par. Once Chad missed his putt, I was confident that I would make mine. We putted well together the entire tournament,” he said.

“I set up to that final putt very positive. All I wanted to do was put a good stroke on it, and that’s what I did,” said Devitt, who turns 60 next month. “Mike and I have been playing golf together since the second grade.”

Carroll agreed that the flat stick was the key to victory.

“We made some very good putts today all the way through,” he said. “We rallied from that two-shot def­icit at the turn and started making some birdies on the back side.”

It was the second Mohawk M-G win for Carroll and Devitt.

“Ironically, we won this 10 years ago when we were both turning 50,” Carroll said. “This feels fabulous. There were a lot of very good players in this field, and all we wanted to do was compete as hard as we could. We never quit on any hole, and I think it shows.”

Stoffer, a former Tri-County Match Play champion, said he felt the momentum switch to his team on the 17th hole, and he was ready to force a playoff on the final hole.

“That putt on 18 was just off the fringe, and it might have bounced a little on me,” he said. “But I thought I had a good chance of making it. Mike and Les played very well over the last two days. They made a lot of putts, and after playing with them the last two days, we expected them to make just about every putt they looked at.”

Stoffer and Bates birdied the third and sixth holes to grab a three-shot lead, but Devitt made a six-foot birdie putt on the eighth hole to slice his team’s deficit to two shots at the turn.

Carroll made a 16-foot birdie putt on the 10th hole to get his team to within one stroke, and Devitt sank a 12-foot hard-breaking putt on the par-3 12th hole to pull his team into a tie.

Both Devitt and Carroll birdied the par-5 13th hole to move into the lead for good. Devitt’s appraoch shot landed six inches from the cup.


(Par 71-213)

Championship Flight — Mike Carroll-Les Devitt 68-207, Ben Bates-Chad Stoffer 69-208, John Nolan-Jay Gargiulo 70-214, Chris Barach-Matt Canavan 75-219, Scott Dubois-Rob Bigley Jr. 75-220, Brandon Haase-Glenn Stephenson 71-222, Bill Sweet-Jim Gifford 72-224, Neil Golub-Mike Gifford 78-234.

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