Metacomet CC & Warwick CC
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65th Four-Ball Championship
WARWICK _ It turned out to be a tougher challenge than it appeared early in the day, but Kyle Hoffman and Ryan Pelletier got what they wanted Wednesday, their second straight RIGA Four-Ball Championship.
The Pawtucket Country Club team recorded a 4-under-par 65 at Warwick CC, which is in immaculate condition under Superintendent John Leclair, and held off the duo of Charlie Blanchard and Jamie Griffiths by two strokes to win the 65th annual event. They finished at 11-under 128 in the tournament held at both Warwick and Metacomet.
In so doing, Pelletier and Hoffman became the first team since Ben Tuthill and Chad Spencer in 2003-04 to take the event two years in a row.
``This one was just as sweet,’’ Hoffman said.
``In this one we knew where we stood more than last year,’’ Pelletier said. ``Last year we got off to a hot start and we knew he had a big lead. We weren’t playing with a group that was contending. This one we knew exactly where we were standing.’’
After their blazing 63 in the first round at Metcomet, Hoffman and Pelletier looked to be turning the event into a runaway. Pelletier birdied 2 and 3 and Hoffman the sixth to shoot 31 on front side. Through seven holes they built their advantage to six strokes over Griffiths and Blanchard, who were playing with them in the final foursome.
Five holes later, their lead was down to one.
Blanchard, the RIGA’s seven-time player of the year, birdied 8, 9 and 10. Griffiths birdied 11 as the leaders were parring each of those holes. That cut the lead to two. When Pelletier and Hoffman bogeyed 12, their only bogey of the tournament, their advantage was down to one.
``We felt the heat on the back a little bit. The sleeping giant woke up’’ Pelletier said.
But Hoffman and Pelletier never gave up the lead. Hoffman birdied 14 and then both teams birdied the par-5 15th, with Pelletier doing the honors for his side and keeping the lead at two. When Blanchard and Griffiths bogeyed the par-3 17th, it was over. A bird by Griffiths on the final hole made the margin two strokes.
Pelletier and Hoffman were a true team. Pelletier made seven birds in the two rounds and Hoffman five.
``They key thing is not giving anything away, one guy could be out of the hole but the other guy
By the time the leaders made the turn, it was pretty much a two-horse race. The team of Bobby Leopold and Ben Tuthill, both former State Amateur champions, went out in 3-under 31 to get to 6-under through 27.
At that point, that left them four behind Pelletier and Hoffman and two ahead of Blanchard and Griffiths. However, Leopold and Tuthill both bogeyed the 438-yard 10th hole. That killed their momentum and they fell back.
Two of the other teams that began the day at 4-under, the duo of Brad Valois and David Marino and George Pirie and George Cidale, both made two early bogeys and never were able to get back into contention.
Four teams ended tied for third at 5-under, including the duo of Rob Grossguth and Jamie Lukowicz, who closed with a 65. The teams of Tom McCormick and Antonio Giorg (66), Rick Audette Jr. and Jason Kalin (67) and the Pirie-Cidale team also finished at 5-under.