After 22 years of friendship on and off the golf course, John Nolan and Jay Gargiulo created one of their finest memories Sunday.
By connecting for five birdies on the back side alone and seven for the day, Nolan and Gargiulo sizzled to a final-round five-under-par 66 and a three-day total of eight-
under-par 205 to capture their first Mohawk Member-Guest title by four shots over defending champions Mike Carroll and Les Devitt (71-209).
Carroll, a former Gazette Senior County Amateur champion, and Devitt, who are also lifelong friends who grew up near Boston, started the day one shot ahead and were at four-under-par 138 following the second round. Both tandems shot even-par 36 on the front side.
But Nolan and Gargiulo caught fire on the back nine with some help from their hot putters.
When Carroll and Devitt failed to get up and down for par on the 440-yard 11th hole, the teams were tied, but Nolan and Gagiulo grabbed the lead for good when Gargiulo hit his wedge to three feet and rolled in a birdie putt on the par-3 12th hole.
The 515-yard, par-5 13th hole was a pivotal one for both teams. After the long-hitting Gargiulo got into trouble by pulling his fairway wood shot into the high grass to the left of the green, Nolan saved the day with a 45-foot downhill birdie putt.
“All I wanted to do was get it close. I didn’t think I was going to make that one,” Nolan said.
But not to be outdone, Devitt connected for a 36-foot birdie putt of his own to make sure his team didn’t drop further behind.
Gargiulo once again came through on a par-3 when he sank a 15-foot birdie putt on the 150-yard signature 15th hole.
Nolan rolled in a 28-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole, and Gargiulo finished off the day in front of a huge gallery by connecting from 12 feet to seal the victory.
“We really played well together all day,” said Nolan, a 28-year-old Cornell graduate and Price Chopper employee. “Early on in the tournament, Jay carried us, but today, we both contributed. We got lucky on some of those long putts.”
“It was key that the few times one of us was in trouble, like I was on the 13th hole, the other guy came through,” said Gargiulo, 28, a Bentley College graduate who works at a golf course during the winter and does landscaping in the Capital Region during the summer. “When John was in the bunker on the 15th hole, I was able to get a birdie, so it was like a bonus.”
Nolan said he and Gargiulo have been playing golf together for as long as they can remember.
“We’ve known each other since we were 6 or 7 years old, and we both played golf for Christian Brothers Academy. We also lived together in the Albany area for a while. This is a great win for us. We’ve never won anything like this before.”
Both tandems shot even-par on the front side with two birdies and two bogeys apiece.
“There are a lot of very good players in this field,” said Devitt. “Mike and I played solidly, but this is as hard and fast as I’ve seen this course play in a long time. It was hard to hold the greens. Both Mike and I feel fortunate to remain competitive with all of these young guys.”
Doug Mehall and Devin Gmitter finished third with a 68-211, while Gazette County Amateur champion Ben Bates and Chad Stoffer combined for a 68 to end up fourth with a 212, a shot ahead of Jim Gifford and Justin Deitz (69-213).
The Mohawk Member-Guest — one of the oldest and prestigious events in the area — featured three generations of the Singer family (Mort, Mitch and Russell) and three Nolans, John, Joe and Thomas. There were 14 families that competed as teammates.
John Nolan-Jay Gargiulo 66-205, Mike Carroll-Les Devitt 71-209, Doug Mehall-Devin Gmitter (68-211), Ben Bates-Chad Stoffer 68-212, Jim Gifford-Justin Deitz
69-213, Brandon Haase-Glenn Stephenson 71-214, Scott DuBois-Robby Bigley Jr. 73-219, Chris Pierpont-Paul Pratico 75-221, Bill Sweet-Scott Grimmett 80-231, Neil Golub-Mike Gifford 83-239.