July 18, 2012Matt Bruce concluded the front nine Sunday at the New Salisbury Membership with a slim one-stroke lead.
A hot streak behind humid conditions, however, launched Bruce to a two-stroke lead after a birdie on No. 13.
While Bruce picked up his effort, so did championship flight chasers Mike Rigot and Kyle Mattingly. Bruce eventually held off both to capture his third membership title at New Salisbury, carding a two-day, 1-over par 141.
"It was an up-and-down day," Bruce said. "I made birdies on the back, which was key. Mike and Kyle played good to keep pressure on me. I didn't want it to come down to one stroke on the last hole, but it happened to be that way."
Bruce led by three strokes after he pared the challenging par-3 No. 16 hole while his competitors mustered bogeys. Heading to No. 17, Bruce held a three-stroke lead over Rigot and Mattingly.
Trouble found Bruce on 17, starting with an off-line tee shot. He closed the hole with a double-bogey, while pars from Rigot and Mattingly put them within one stroke of the lead.
"I don't really know what happened on 17," Bruce said. "I bet I've played that hole a hundred times this year and haven't doubled it until then. It was a bad tee shot that got me in trouble. I thought I had the bogey putt in the heart, but it lipped out."
Mattingly dipped out of contention when his tee shot went right and out of bounds. Bruce reached the green in regulation and two-putted for the win. Rigot had an opportunity to chip in for a birdie from just off the green but missed the cup.
Bruce ended his Sunday with a 72 for the victory. Rigot had the best Sunday round of even-par 70 but was one back for a two-day total of 142. Mattingly finished third (145), while Alan Reed was fourth (148).
"It's always fun to win the membership at your home course," Bruce said. "It's something I'll never miss for as long as I am around here."
It was his first Membership title since going back to back in 2009-10.
Bruce said it has been a solid summer for his golf game. After winning the Old Capital Invitational last month, Bruce also played well at the Indiana Open in French Lick last week. He finished in a tie for 69th place (30-over par) after four rounds.
"I made the cut at the open, which is good for me. Had the opportunity to play the Pete Dye and Ross course in French Lick twice, which was challenging," Bruce said.
In the first flight, George Stackhouse blazed to a two-under par start to his final round after nine holes. He held on to card an even-par 70 to win the flight. He logged a 79 on Saturday to finish with a 149. Defending membership champion Ross Schulz placed second with a 152 (78-74).
The remaining men's flight winners were Dylan Spencer (second flight, 154) and Bob TreVree (third flight, 162).
Among the seniors, Lou Meisner shot a 77 on Saturday and used an 81 on Sunday to win the division by two strokes. Alan Pate placed second (160), while Jerry McCleskey (165) was third.
Devan Smith, a senior-to-be at North Harrison High School, won the women's championship with a 154.
The course will play host to the annual New Salisbury Invitational on Aug. 4 and 5. For more information about participating, call the clubhouse at 347-2396.
Men's Championship Flight – 1. Matt Bruce 69-72-141, 2. Mike Rigot 72-70-142, 3. Kyle Mattingly 73-72-145, 4. Alan Reed 72-76-148.
Men's First Flight – 1. George Stackhouse 79-70-149, 2. Ross Schulz 78-74-152, 3. Brandon Heilig 78-81-159.
Men's Second Flight – 1. Dylan Spencer 80-74-154, 2. Jon Schmidt 80-76-152, 3. Rob Higdon 81-78-159.
Men's Third Flight – 1. Bob TreVree 84-78-162, 2. Steve Shaffer 84-85-169, 3. Austin Davis 88-84-172.
Men's Senior Flight – 1. Lou Meisner 77-81-158, 2. Alan Pate 80-80-160, 3. Jerry McCleskey 84-81-165.
Women's Championship – 1. Devan Smith 76-78-154.