Saucon's Bartolacci, Mercer Oaks' Smeraglio win 4-Ball in 10-hole playoff
DOYLESTOWN, Pa.-Thomas Bartolacci, Jr. of Saucon Valley CC and Glenn Smeraglio of Mercer Oaks GC outlasted John LeBoeuf of Philadelphia CC and Cory Reighard of Llanerch CC in a grueling 10-hole extra session to win the 39th Four-Ball Stroke Play Championship Friday at Doylestown CC (par 72, 6,551 yards).
Bartolacci, of Washington Crossing, Pa., and Smeraglio snapped an intense sudden-death deadlock by posting a victory on No. 8 (par 4, 285 yards), the 10th playoff hole and 28th overall. Four fatigued yet focused warriors attacked the reachable par 4. Smeraglio powered his drive into the left greenside bunker, blasted out to 12-feet and two-putted for par, which on this night, seemed to indicate that overtime would continue. However, both LeBoeuf and Reighard watched their drives dart into the right rough. The two exhausted two strokes on chip efforts to reach the green and couldn't match their opponents' par.
"I was trying to go for the green and I overcooked it," LeBoeuf, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., said of his drive, which settled in front of the adjacent No. 9 tee box. "I had driven the green in regulation, so I knew I could do it. I just had to make the swing and I didn't make the swing."
Both teams had sound opportunities to seize victory early in the playoff. On No. 10 (par 4, 365 yards), the first playoff hole, Reighard stuck his wedge 110 yards to five feet, but pushed his birdie putt just right of the jar. On the third playoff hole, the par 5, 519-yard 18th, Bartolacci stared at a six-footer for birdie, but like Reighard, bumped it right. So both teams continued to play the 18th until a victory was earned. Both LeBoeuf and Smeraglio fired birdies on the fourth playoff hole. LeBoeuf did so by brushing in a two-footer after a delicate chip from the rear of the green. Smeraglio decimated his second shot more than 200 yards and two-putted from 15-feet in front of the flagstick. Both squads halved the next three holes with pars, and the playoff migrated to No. 1 (par 5, 540 yards).
Suddenly, a "golfer see, golfer do" mantra began to trace the sudden-death scenario. All four players had ideal wedges into the green. Smeraglio, 50, stuck his approach to within two feet of the jar. LeBoeuf followed suit with a shot that hopped over the front slope and stopped at a foot. With Bartolacci and Smeraglio in for par on No. 2 (par 3, 174 yards), the eighth playoff hole, Reighard rescued his team by executing a sensational par save from the left greenside bunker.
Darkness gradually descended upon Doylestown, but it didn't cloud either team's play. Smeraglio hit his 52-degree wedge 121 yards to seven feet on No. 3 (par 4, 410 yards), the ninth playoff hole. Meanwhile, Reighard flew a wedge 115 yards to the rear of the green. Facing a lie in the rough, inches shy of the back fringe, he elected to use the putter. The decision paid off as Reighard dropped a magnificent birdie that kept his team alive. Smeraglio cleaned up his under-par chance.
"It was sitting up pretty nice in the rough, so I thought I could putt it," Reighard, the Golf Association of Philadelphia's Director of Course Rating, said. "I didn't know how it was going to come out, but I had a good read on it."
:"It was an awesome putt," LeBoeuf, a member of the GAP Executive Committee, added.
Friday's victory gave Bartolacci, 59, and Smeraglio their second piece of collective hardware in 2010. The two won the Mercer County Senior Better-Ball at Mercer Oaks earlier this summer.
In regulation, both teams carded 6-under-par 66s. Bartolacci, the 2008 Senior Player of the Year, and Smergalio, a two-time Patterson Cup champion, experienced a bogey-free performance.
Bartolacci and Smeraglio ignited right out of the gate as Smeraglio smacked his sand wedge 100 yards and dropped a 20-footer for birdie. Bartolacci chipped in for birdie on No. 8 (par 4, 285 yards). The duo kicked into high gear on No. 10 (par 4, 365 yards). Smeraglio posted another birdie by knocking his sand wedge to six feet. On No. 11 (par 4, 418 yards), Bartolacci stopped his 8-iron at 15-feet. He rolled in a 30-footer on No. 16 (par 4, 380 yards) and two-putted for birdie on No. 18 (par 5, 519 yards) after crushing an 18-degree wedge 207 yards.
LeBoeuf, 49, and Reighard, 28, posted five birdies, an eagle and a bogey in regulation. The duo, which started its championship quest on the back nine, registered back-to-back red figures on Nos. 10 (par 4, 365 yards) and 11 (par 4, 418 yards). Its eagle came on No. 14 (par 5, 500 yards), where LeBoeuf knocked his 3-wood 220 yards and sunk a 15-footer from the fringe. The team struggled to score coming in, but that changed after Reighard cranked his 9-iron 126 yards to four feet on No. 7 (par 4, 381 yards). LeBoeuf two-putted from 20-feet on No. 8 after ripping his drive to the green.
LeBoeuf and Reighard didn't originally intend to compete together Friday. The two served as last-minute fill-ins.
"Obviously, we're thrilled," LeBoeuf said. "Cory played phenomenal today."
"John made all of the putts," Reighard added. "It was fun."