Senior talks himself into Senior City championship
For a man who did a lot of talking Sunday afternoon at Fendrich in the final round of the Romain Buick Senior City Golf Championship, Joe Hahn made very little noise. That’s because the talking alternated between words with himself and through the actions of his steady game. The result was a one-shot victory for Hahn over Tony Hill. Hahn backed up a 1-under par 70 on Saturday at Helfrich with an even-par 70 at Fendrich on Sunday for a 140 total to edge Hill, who went 72-69 (Sunday’s low round) for an even par, 141. Two-time defending champion Dave DeLong finished at 143 (71-72) to land alone in third. “I was just trying to stay in each shot and stay steady,” said Hahn. “I kept telling myself I was OK and not t think about what was going on around me.”
Actually, it was swirling pretty good around Hahn, who only blinked twice Sunday with bogeys at Nos. 8 and 9. But he righted the ship immediately after that with a string of four pars. Meanwhile, a list of contenders came and went before the only one with a real shot at the end was Hill, who had finished two groups ahead of the final grouping of Hahn, Delong and Mike Rhoades, who faded to a 77 Sunday after his 71 at Helfrich in the opening round.
The first to knock on the door was Alan Hite, who made the turn with Hahn at even par. But he three-putted No. 12 for bogey and added two more on the back to finish at 145 and in a tie for fourth with Britt Reddington. Reddington, who was playing with Hite, had two holes in the hunt, too, after a birdie on 14 pulled him back to 1-over and within a stroke of Hahn, who was watching from the fairway. DeLong, who had gotten to 3-over after a bogey at 10, pulled closer on 14, too. He had birdied 11 and just missed on the high side at 12 and 13. Then he followed with an 18-footer on the ar-5 14th to get back to 1-over. “That was a big hole,” said Hahn. Dave made a nice putt there, but I was able to make one right on top of it from about 12 feet.
That was big.” But after both parred 15, DeLong checked out with a bogey on 16, a hole that Hill had birdied two groups ahead. “I got pretty pumped up when I made the birder at 16,” said Hill, champion of the 1977 Evansville Courier & Press Men’s City Tournament. “I haven’t been in the thick of it for a while, so it felt good.” “Dave (Bates, one of his playing partners) said, ‘two more birdies, two more birdies and you’re right there.’ “But, they didn’t come.” Still, Hill had positioned himself as the leader in the clubhouse, one shot behind Hahn, who still had two holes to play. The first, No. 17, would be a routine par, but Hahn’s tee shot on 18 strayed right, far enough to be troubled by the trees that guard the practice tee. “That was probably the best shot I hit all day,” said Hahn of his second shot on 18. “I just tried to bump it up there and make sure I got it on the green.” It was even better than that. He was inside 20 feet, with an easy approach he knocked up inside a foot below the hole.
Then he marked and waited for DeLong and Rhoades to finish so he could tap in and receive he applause for the champion. “Joe was steady all day and we couldn’t put any pressure on him,” said DeLong. “I just couldn’t get the putter going.” “I tried every setup I knew, but I just couldn’t do anything with my chances. But I still had fun. I’ll keep playing as long as I can.” Hahn said winning was nice but one thing stood out above any plaque or gift certificate. “It thrills me to get my name on Jerry Schreiber’s trophy,” he said, referring to the Senior City’s trophy for the winner, the Jerry Schreiber Cup. “It’s an honor to be associated with such a true icon and gentleman as Jerry Schreiber.” Hahn also collected a $500 gift certificate as the overall champion. Each of the five flight winners received $400 gift certificates in a tournament with an $8,000 payout.