Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing to The Wilson Times.
With Josh Talton capturing another Men’s Championship — this one in somwhat unusual fashion — at Wilson Country Club recently, Clint O’Hara was exposed to still another way to finish second.
Lisa Matthews does not have the opportunity to play golf as frequently as she would prefer, but she feasted on her chance on Club Championship weekend at WCC, and added to her list of Women’s Championships.
The annual event was scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, but limited to a one-day tournament on a rare occasion as inclement weather first suspended, then canceled the final round.
Thus, Talton notched his sixth Men’s Championship in the last seven years with a round of 3-under-par 35-34—69, trimming perennial runner-up O’Hara, who carded a 35-35—70.
Dwayne Baker finished at even-par 72, while grouped at 73 were former champion Stephen Harrison and Carey McKeithan. Matt Figg posted a 74, followed by Hewitt Poland with a 75.
Women’s champion Matthews surpised herself with a 78, notching a pair of birdies and prevailing by 11 shots.
Priscilla Brewer placed second with an 89, while defending champion Patch Wilkinson shot 90 and Beth Rhyne 91.
Other 2017 champions were Lee Fulcher in Men’s Seniors, John Robl in Men’s Championship B and Jack Wagamon in Men’s Legends.
Fulcher repeated in Seniors with a 73, followed by Coalter Paxton III with a 77, Mark Thurston with a 78 and Chris Church with a 79.
Robl edged John Rhyne by a shot for Championship B supremacy. Robl fashioned a 78.
With an 86, Wagamon took the Legends title. Avery Tiffany was the runner-up with an 89.
SIX OUT OF SEVEN
Talton repeated as the Men’s front-runner with a round that included birdies at Nos. 1, 12 and 13. The birdie at No. 1, he said, got him off to a good start and pivotal was shrugging off poor shots and salvaging par on Nos. 3 and 5.
“Getting up and down on Nos. 3 and 5 really got my round going,” Talton declared.
He explained he was also aided by the fact he did not harbor high expectations as the result of rarely playing of late, and was not as bothered by less-than-satisfactory shots.
“I had very little expectation,” Talton commented. “And I hit it really good — which was surprising. I didn’t miss a green after No. 5 and hit 16 greens (in regulation). Any time you win, you’ve got to feel good.”
Talton certainly understood his challengers yearned for 18 more holes against him.
“I hate we couldn’t duke it out on Sunday,” he expressed. “A lot of good friends were on the leaderboard and a lot of us were bunched pretty close. It would have been a lot of fun. But I don’t think there was any way we could have finished — and the course was soaked. You can’t do anything about the weather.”
A NEW ONE
Thus, O’Hara dealt with more ribbing from his cronies about finishing second.
“It’s a new one, isn’t it,” he observed. “The guys have reminded me of it.”
O’Hara noted he’s uncertain how many times he’s finished second at WCC and in the Wilson County Amateur.
“But it’s too many overall,” he assured.
His round included birdies at Nos. 7, 8, 9 and 12.
“It was pretty solid,” O’Hara described.
Of the circumstances, he said: “Obviously, I wanted to play. But there wasn’t any chance of us getting through and it’s no telling how wet it was out there.
“Hopefully, next year ...”
EVEN THROUGH 14
On the women’s scene, Matthews, who captured the title for the first time since 2012 and also ruled in 2006 and 2007, was simply excited about the opportunity to play.
She responded by playing the first 14 holes at even par in carding the 38-40. The round was highlighted by birdies at Nos. 4, 12 and 13.
“I think I looked at the score,” Matthews remarked with a laugh. “God evidently wanted me to play well. I did on Saturday and He gave us rain on Sunday.
“I always try to play and support the club and ladies golf. I have a lot going on and I was just pleased to have the opportunity to play. I was excited about that.
“I was relaxed and I did not expect to win. It was a shock.”
Matthews also contended her opponents were not in top form.