Sam Bedwell Repeats as Metro Champion, Spitalny Repeats as Metro Senior Champion
After Sam Bedwell rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt at the 15th hole at Creeks Bend on Sunday, even Jeremy Lawson, Bedwell’s closest pursuer and Lee College teammate, thought his chances to win the Chattanooga Metro had gone by the wayside.
“I thought it was pretty much over,” said Lawson, whose logic was sound. The birdie took Bedwell to 11 under par for the tournament, four shots ahead of Lawson with three holes to play.
It did seem reasonable to assume Bedwell could stroll to the clubhouse to collect his trophy, but, following a trend Bedwell had established earlier in the round, there was more excitement in store.
After Bedwell pumped his tee shot at the par-5 16th out of bounds and took a double-bogey, then bogeyed 17 and 18 coming in, he and Lawson were tied at 7-under. That forced Lawson, who shot a closing 2-under-par 68, and Bedwell, who shot 69, to the first tee and a sudden-death playoff.
Both players birdied the first, Bedwell after using a cart path-assisted 380-yard drive to set up a 9-iron approach.
The big bounce forward provided by the path was the first of Bedwell’s two breaks in the playoff that, it turned out, compensated for a couple of lousy breaks he was dealt on the inward nine on Sunday. At the 423-yard par-4 second, Bedwell’s drive once again found the path and once again catapulted his ball well forward, leaving him 60 yards to the green, a position from which he hit his approach 15 feet below the hole.
Lawson, solid all day, surprisingly missed the second green, and when his third shot stopped about 10 feet short of the hole, he took a bogey. That set the stage for Bedwell to finish off a two-putt, which he did for his second consecutive Metro championship.
“It was interesting,” Bedwell said of his round and of playing with his college teammate. He’s got a point.
Here’s how interesting—Bedwell made all of one par on the back nine. His card also included an eagle, three birdies, two double bogeys and a pair of bogeys.
Bedwell started the final nine as though he wanted to make short work of Lawson, and everyone else, too. He birdied No. 10 and 11 to get to 10 under for the tournament, three shots ahead of Lawson. But disaster struck on the par-4 12th when he tried to carve a fade close to the flag, which was tucked in the back right of the green.
“Huge mental error,” Bedwell said of that shot. “I blocked the shot just a little bit. It hit two inches on the green, took one big kick and rolled all the way into the water.”
The result was a dub, and suddenly Bedwell’s lead was cut in half. Not to worry, though. On the risk-reward 14th, Bedwell pulled out a 3-wood and drove the green, leaving himself a 10-foot eagle putt, which he drained to get back to 10 under. Lawson also birdied, which, as it turned out, was his ticket to the playoff.
Not that Lawson was thinking about winning after Bedwell coaxed in a 15-foot birdie putt at No. 15. But bad things were about to happen to his teammate.
Bedwell’s tee shot at 16 bounced out of bounds, setting up his second double-bogey of the back side. On the par-3 17th, Bedwell bombed a 7-iron 188 yards over the green, a position from which he made a bogey. “I guess I was pumped up,” Bedwell said of that shot. “[That yardage] is normally a hard 6-iron.”
The bad breaks just kept on coming for Bedwell, whose perfect drive at No. 18 landed in a divot. “I just tried to get it on the green,” he said.
He did, but 40 feet from the hole. His second putt stopped 12 feet short, and he three-putted to Lawson’s par, setting up the playoff.
In the Senior Division Neil Spitalny was also a repeat champion. Spitalny finished at 3-over par 143 for the two day event, which left him tied with Coy Mabry and Tom Baird.
When Baird made bogey at #2 in playoff it was left to Spitalny and Mabry. On the par 3 4th Spitalny missed the green but then chipped in for birdie to win his 2nd straight Metro Senior title.
Spitalny evidently likes to do things in two's as he also won the Regular Metro in back-to-back years, 1993 at Brown Acres and 1994 at Signal Mountain. The win solidifies his #2 position in the overall Adman Cup Points List behind Sam Bedwell and gives him a commanding lead in the race for Senior Player-of-the-Year.
Wesley G. Brown traveling trophy