Darwin Stalnaker had a wait-and-see approach Sunday afternoon at Duck Hollow Golf Club as the clubhouse leader of the senior tournament in the 31st Fayette County Open.
Stalnaker shot a 7-over 79 in the final round for a two-day total of 9-over 151 and held the lead with six golfers, playing in the main draw, left on the course.
“I don’t know. There’s a lot of good golfers still out there,” cautioned Stalnaker.
Dave Jamison, one of those remaining golfers, posted a 1-over 73 to slip past Stalnaker by one stroke for the senior title.
“I hit really good shots all day today, until No. 18,” said Jamison, who is in his first year as a senior. “I missed some birdie putts. I probably missed 10 putts inside 10 feet. I couldn’t figure out my stroke.”
As for the double bogey on No. 18, Jamison said, “I hit out of bounds on No. 18. I hit my own truck, actually.”
Jamison had a basic approach to the tournament, adding, “I just have to post a score and see what happens.”
Stalnaker added another top-three finish to his tournament total, noting the tougher back nine led to some issues.
“I had a rocky road on the back. I had a bad bounce on No. 10 for a bogey. I had two lip outs for birdie on reasonably close birdie putts,” explained Stalnaker. “I had a birdie on No. 18. I thought that might bring me back.
“I just tried to stay even and I slipped a little bit. I just wanted to par out. My goal was to shoot even par.”
Cautiously optimistic of his chances for a first title, Stalnaker described what winning would be like for him.
“If I come away with this, to me, it would be like winning the British Open,” said a smiling Stalnaker. “I was expecting a dogfight. There are a lot of good competitors.”
Rick Yurick had a two-day total of 153 (76-77) to finish alone in third place. Pete Grove finished fourth with 155 (79-76), and George Knapp slipped into fifth place with a score of 156 (81-75).
THAT’S SOME NICE SHOOTIN’: Fred David posted the low round of the final day with a 2-under 70.
The score lifted the Laurel Highlands graduate into a fifth-place tie with Ron Jones, a Brownsville grad, at 6-over 290. Jones shot an even-par 72 in the final round.
THE PORT SIDE: Kevin Muehring rallied in the final round for a double victory in his battle with fellow left-handed golfer Jerry Zehala.
Muehring shot 79 in the final round, while Zehala posted an 84. Muehring won by three strokes in the senior competition and 17 strokes in the main tournament field.
PARADE OF CHAMPIONS: The final grouping of Harison Laskey (2), Jeremy Enslen (5), Santino Marchitello (1), and Pat Calvaresi (1) won nine county golf championships between them. The foursome also had an aggregate score of even par in the final round.
John Lenkey finished alone in seventh place at 294 to place five former champions in the top 10.
Bernie Wydo, an Open and seniors champion, placed 10th in the seniors with a two-day score of 159.
ROUNDING OUT THE TOP 10: Marcus Ondra was alone in eighth place with a four-day total of 298. Jim Kubina finished one shot behind in ninth place, and Bro Tajc rounded out the top 10 with a four-round total of 301.
JUST HAVING FUN: Enslen enjoyed his four-day pairing with Laskey, and playing in the tournament, overall.
“My expectations are not as high now, not as much pressure. Golf is not my life now,” said Enslen, a dad. “I’m fortunate enough to play golf.
“Bernie (Wydo) and George (Knapp) put a lot of work into this. I hope it keeps going. I’d like my son to play in it one day.”
THANKS FOR EVERYTHING: Knapp extended thanks to the main sponsor, C. Harper Chevrolet, the four courses (Pleasant Valley Golf Course, Uniontown Country Club, Springdale Golf Club, Duck Hollow Golf Club), and the volunteers for the assistance and support of the tournament, now in its 31st year.
CIRCLE THE DATE: Dates for the 2020 tournament have been set, with the four-day tournament opening on Thursday, Aug. 6 and running through Sunday, Aug. 9.