Disaster was dogging the heels of the leaders of the Senior City Golf Tournament on Sunday at McDonald like a Westminster Kennel Club champion on a leash. Each time a new old guy grabbed the lead, it turned on him and took huge bites out of his psyche while adding extra strokes to his score. First-round leaders Dave Bates and Robin Rubrecht took turns watching the lead lurch from their grip and then it spent a couple of holes with defending champion John Kaposta before his lead strayed out of bounds. Jim Cheaney looked ready to follow the trend when he greeted his first hole with the lead with a trip to the water on the par-5 14th hole. That made his fourth shot to the green of paramount importance and even the laconic Cheaney couldn't help but grimace when he stabbed it 30 feet by and above the hole. But Cheaney, a self-confessed "B" player in his regular Saturday game, was having himself a day, especially with his putter. He bent his 30-foot downhill-sidehill slider into the cup for an improbable par and showed some emotion for the first time all day with an emphatic pump of his right fist. The lead was his for good. "When I made that putt I thought, 'This just might be my day," he said, unable to stop smiling. "I'm going to have this grin on my face for the next month." Cheaney is certainly still smiling today because the 2009 addition to the Jerry Schreiber Trophy that goes to the Senior City champion is his. He followed an even-par 70 Saturday at Fendrich with the round of the day Sunday at McDonald, a 4-under 66. It gave Cheaney a three-stroke victory over a Who's Who of Evansville senior golf: Kaposta, Bryan Compton and Tony Hill at 141. Bates and Rubrecht finished at 143. Bates had the early lead Sunday when he played the first five holes 1-under. "I knew I had a two-shot lead going into six," said Bates. "Then I caught a bad lie in the fairway and made bogey." Then Bates backed out of the lead with another bogey at No. 8 and suddenly Rubrecht was making the turn all alone at 4-under for the tournament. "I hit a great drive on 10," said Rubrecht, "but then I had a tough lie just off the green. After that I hit some bunkers, which is something you can't do out here. They killed me." Sand on No. 11 helped Rubrecht to the second of four straight bogeys right after Kaposta had made a two-putt birdie on the hole. That moved the defending champion, who won in his first year of eligibility last year, to 4-under, where he stayed through No. 12. But on 13 he hooked his drive out of bounds. "That's not where I usually miss," said Kaposta. "I play a fade. But I pulled four shots today and the last two were the difference in the tournament for me. They cost me three strokes." Cheaney wasn't missing, though, especially with his putter on the back nine. He one-putted the first six holes and two-putted the last three when he had good looks at birdie. By the time Cheaney walked to the 18th tee, the grin had crossed his face and he celebrated early when his 4-iron rolled inches from the cup and stopped 3 feet above the hole. "At that point I was feeling pretty good, but I still wasn't sure," said Cheaney, 58. "Walking up there with my friends around the green was pretty special. Then somebody told me they couldn't catch me, that it was over, well, I can't stop smiling. "The funny thing is I three-putted the first hole today. That was a wake-up call. I hadn't played here in two years, but I was able to get it going after that. This is a credit to the good friends I have who have made me stay competitive through the years, and Jim Hamilton, who's really helped me this summer. I'm going to enjoy this."
Cheaney is Champion
by Jorden Beale / Monday, 08 June 2009 / Published in Uncategorized
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