Rob Bigley Jr. and Todd Czepiel had to work overtime to win the annual Haggerty Two-Man Championship Sunday at soggy Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
The first-round leaders needed a birdie from Bigley on the 18th hole just to earn a spot in a three-team playoff, and then the duo survived five extra holes before Czepiel stuck a half-swing 9-iron shot to within six inches and tapped in for birdie on the par-5 14th hole to edge Dave Pallas and Jim Welch, a Winding Brook Country Club standout fresh off last week’s victory in the New York State Mid-Amateur Championship.
All four players ended up with birdie chances on the final hole of the playoff. Bigley, a three-time Gazette County Amateur champion from Pinehaven Country Club, had a downhill 16-footer from the fringe, and after his putt rolled past the cup, he tapped in for par. Pallas, from Colonie, came up short on his
12-footer, and Welch didn’t quite play enough break on his 10-footer. That left it up to Czepiel, who brushed in his birdie putt for the win.
“Todd is a PTPer, a Prime Time Player,” said Bigley, a teacher at Albany Academy. “He loves the limelight, and that’s good. He played very well today.”
“I didn’t want to take a full swing,” said Czepiel, who was in the soggy rough. “So I hit a laid-off 9-iron shot. I didn’t know how close it was. I know the ball was going right at the flag, but I thought I was about six feet, and not to within tap-in range.”
Czepiel, an assistant greens superintendent at Shaker Ridge Country Club, was the key player in the playoff for his team. Chad Stoffer, with partner Mike McCarroll, fired an eight-under-par 64 to join Welch and Pallas, who shot a 65, and Bigley and Czepiel, who carded a 68 after an opening-round 65.
On the first playoff hole, the par-4 10th, Stoffer and McCarroll each found the hazard to the left of the fairway with their tee shots, and both players ended up with bogeys that eliminated them. Welch ended up two-putting from 25 feet for par, leaving Czepiel to make a clutch eight-foot par putt to keep his team alive.
On the second playoff hole, Bigley hit his approach shot to within 15 feet. Welch was out of the hole after hitting his second shot into the trees, and Czepiel missed the green to the left. But Pallas two-putted from 18 feet for his par, and Bigley lipped out on his birdie attempt.
The teams tied the third playoff hole, the par-5 12th, when Welch nailed a seven-foot birdie putt and Czepiel nearly holed out from the greenside bunker, leaving a six-inch tap-in for birdie.
Welch and Czepiel missed the green on the par-4 13th hole, but Bigley’s 20-foot birdie putt just missed, and Pallas two-putted from 30 feet to tie the hole with a par.
Championship Flight — x-Todd Czepiel-Rob Bigley Jr. 69-133, Jim Welch-Dave Pallas 65-133, Chad Stoffer-Mike McCarroll 64-133, Brandon Haase-John Nolan 70-138, Bill Sullivan-Fred Guzielek 74-141, JJ Gardner-Jay Singh 73-142, Jerry Wander-Nick Marini 74-143. x-Won on fifth extra hole.
First Flight — Brendan Jeffes-Chris Fatone 67-138, Chris Braman-Nick Braman 69-139, Jerry Brescia-Hari Kingra 69-139.
Second Flight — Chris Gilbert-Carl Gilbert 72-149, Todd Trepess-Rodney Trepess 79-151, Mike Drake-Mike Java 76-151.
Third Flight — Ed Corless-Tim Dannehy 83-164, Johnny May-Brad May 81-166.
Senior Flight — Kevin Broderick-Paul Hart 66-134, Jim Coca-Rocky Cocca 70-137, Bigley-Cristello 70-138, Don Maki-Bob Jordan 69-139, Jack Stopera-Joe Comiskey
70-141, Mo Mroczkowski-Gerry Diotte 79-157, Roger Martell-Steve DiBella 75-158.