A pair of Catholic Central High School graduates who have been friendly rivals for years turned that relationship into a success during the 19th annual Eagle Crest Shootout Thursday at Eagle Crest Golf Club.
Partners Bryan Gorman and Jimmy Bologna, both out of Shaker Ridge Country Club, edged Dan Russo and Billy Sullivan of Rolling Hills at Antlers with a par on the 18th hole to win the unique event, which utilizes a shootout format after an 18-hole qualifier.
This was the first year that the tournament was played with a best-ball format, rather than individual medal play.
The top five teams advanced to the championship flight shootout, while the next five and ties gained a spot in the first flight shootout. One team was eliminated on each hole, and playoffs were broken with chip-offs.
Gorman, a 22-year-old Siena College graduate, set up the winning score by reaching the par-5 18th hole in two. He boomed his drive nearly 300 yards and then hit a low screamer of a 4-iron on the green.
Although he didn’t take advantage of the big shots to record a birdie, it was enough for victory after Russo failed to get up and down for par. Russo’s swing on his second shot was hampered by a tree branch, but his shot still ended pin-high in the left rough. He proceeded to pitch the ball over the green and short-sided himself. After chipping it to within 12 feet, he just missed the par putt.
“I three-putted to victory,” said Gorman with a laugh.
“We didn’t let anything bother us today,” said Bologna, a 20-year-old former Albany County Amateur champion who is transferring from Coastal Carolina to Florida Tech this fall. “We just played our own game out there.”
“We play against each other all the time, and we’re always pushing each other,” said Gorman. “If I beat Jim, he buys lunch, and vice versa.
Gorman and Bologna looked comfortable with their games during all four holes of the shootout, which began on the 15th hole. The only time they appeared in trouble was on the 17th hole, when they had to win a chip-off from behind the 18th tee. Gorman missed his pitch shot long, and it rolled off the green. That left Bologna with a do-or-die chip.
“On 17, all I thought about was hitting it close. I felt very comfortable with my shot, even though I saw most of the guys hit it short and a couple of guys hitting it long,” he said. “I trusted my yardage and tried to hit the ball on the front fringe. It worked out great.”
Bologna said he enjoyed participating in the Shootout, which features a different kind of pressure than most local tournaments.
“Whenever I hit a bad shot, Bryan had my back,” he said.
The first team eliminated in the Shootout was qualifying medalists Peter Broderick and Steve Owens, who shot a six-under-par 66. All five teams parred the 15th hole, and Broderick and Owens lost in the chip-off.
On the 16th hole, two teams tied with bogeys and were forced to chip-off. Joe Quillinan and partner Bill Hadden lost the chip-off to Ben and Matt Kelly.
All three remaining teams parred the 17th hole, but the Kellys lost the chip-off.
Gorman said he plans on pursuing a job in the golf business after moving to Sarasota, Fla., this fall. Bologna plans on playing golf at Florida Tech.
Neither Gorman nor Bologna has played collegiate golf, despite solid amateur careers.
Meanwhile, Adam Boghosian and Phil Marra won the first flight with a chip-off over Mike Wheeler and Tom Salmon of Mohawk Golf Club. Joe Marro and Josh Kirby finished third, and Mike McCarroll and Mike Courtney finished fourth.
Qualifiers — Peter Broderick-Steve Owens 66, Ben Kelly-Matt Kelly 67, Joe Quillinan-Bill Hadden 67, Jimmy Bologna-Bryan Gorman 67, Dan Russo-Bill Sullivan 68.
Qualifiers — Joe Marro-Josh Kirby 68, Al Stranahan-Jim Jewitt 68, Dave Pallas-Jim Welch 69, Adam Boghosian-Phil Marra 69, Dave Hostig-John Corson 70, Mike Wheeler-Tom Salmon 70, Mike McCarroll-Mike Courtney 70.
Jay Gargiulo-Seth Adams 71, Don DeNyse-Matt McCaffrey 71, Steve Hughes-Jerry Brescia 71, Bill Paulsen Jr.-Steve Menhennitt 71, Packy McGraw-Riley McGraw 71, Matt Canavan-Greg Prazych 71, Greg Bennett-Nick Marini 72, Kevin Broderick-Paul Hart 72, Gary Grimaldi-Jerry Wander 72, Todd Czepiel-Rob Bigley Jr. 73, Tim Robillard-Jack Wennstrom 74, Andy Bennett-Chris Gilbert 74, Brandon Alois-Vince Petraccione 74, Carl Krause-Jared Trudeau 75, Kenny Hall-Fred Case 75, Steve Quillinan Jr.-Steve Quillinan Sr. 76, John Barscz-Jay Singh 76, Sal Romano-Craig Hayner 76, Dan Seiter-Lee Reeves 77, Adam McGuire-Bruce Girigorie 79, Pat Kelly-Jake McKenna 80.