By Duane Cochran
For the Times West Virginian
It was another year and another disappointingly close finish for Dewey Delovich and Jeremy Enslen in the annual Green Hills-Homer Delovich Memorial Golf Championship, which wrapped up Sunday at Green Hills Country Club.
Veteran golfer John Kingora, who recently moved from Waynesburg, Pa., to Morgantown, caught fire on the final six holes, playing them three-under par to finish Sunday with a one-over 71 and a two-day, 36-hole total of 141 to record his fourth victory in the event.
Delovich, Enslen and first-round leader Dave Cumberland all finished tied for second with two-over 142s. For Enslen, it was his second straight runner-up finish in the Green Hills tournament and his third top-five finish in the event in the past three years.
Delovich, on the other hand, finished among the top four for the fourth consecutive year, including runner-up finishes this year and in 2011.
Bob Tajc, Rush Janes and Doug Kirkpatrick tied for fifth place with 146s, and Tim Osborne came in eighth with a 147.
Delovich, the PGA Assistant Professional at Kiawah Island Club’s Cassique Course and the youngest son of the tournament’s namesake, headed to the 18th tee Sunday with a one-stroke lead over Kingora and two-stroke leads over Enslen and Cumberland.
After a booming drive that landed in the left side rough about 200 yards from the middle of the green, the fan favorite at Green Hills hit his second shot on a par-5 hole into the left front bunker, which is located several yards off the green. He failed on his first attempt to get out of the bunker, got out on the second and then three-putted for a double bogey seven, opening the door for Kingora to record the win.
“When I came off of the 18th green, my daughter (8-year-old Marley) ran up to me, gave me a high five and a hug and said, ‘You finished second, Daddy. That’s awesome,’” said Delovich, who had a 69 Saturday and a 73 Sunday. “Shawn Linger was standing there, looked at me and said, ‘Buddy, that’s what it’s all about.’ And it is.
“It’s disappointing, but it happens. I had a five-iron for my second shot and I thought I had a flyer’s lie. I thought I could get it to the middle of the green and three-putt at worse for a par, and I just caught it heavy. I saw it kick right into the bunker. If it had kicked straight, it would’ve been all right. In the bunker the ball was in a little bit of an indentation. I just wanted to get under it, hit a high shot and get it to the middle of the green, but there was so much sand I just fluffed it. The second one was buried and I knew I could swing hard and it would come out. I wish my first shot in the sand was like the second one. Then on the putts I gave it too much break on the first one and ended up three putting.
“I had a blast out there today though. I really was enjoying myself, and I just kept telling myself, ‘Stay in the moment and enjoy it,’ and for the most part I really did. This is a great tournament.”
Kingora, who last won the Green Hills title in 2007, appeared to be somewhat out of contention Sunday after 12 holes. He shot a two-over 37 on the front nine and then suffered bogeys on No. 10 and No. 12 to move to four-over for both the day and the tournament.
That, however, is when the 50-year-old kicked it up a notch. He birdied the par-4 13th hole, the par-4 16th hole and the par-3 17th hole to put himself back into contention at one-over.
“I was four-over par after 12, but I knew there were a couple of potential birdie holes left,” said Kingora, who shot a 70-71 for his 141. “Honestly, I was just trying to hit fairways and greens and be more aggressive. I made two long putts for birdies on 13 and 17, and on 16 I knew I was behind and I took an aggressive line right over the bunker and hit it in there to within three feet and made birdie. If I had been in the lead there, I probably would’ve went away from the bunker, but I knew I had to take some chances.”
Kingora knew he was still behind heading to the 18th tee and was trying to close out his round with a birdie there, but ended up settling for a par, which he sealed with a tricky 12-foot putt.
“I went into 18 thinking I had to have birdie and I hit two good shots, but I was in the bunker to the right,” he said. “There was a lot of sand in there and I almost didn’t get it out. Just like Dewey, I had some issues, but luckily it came out and onto the fringe. Then I didn’t make a very good chip attempt and left myself about a 12-foot putt with a lot of break that I absolutely knew I had to make. Luckily, I did.”
Enslen, who had an opening-round 72 and a final round 70, says he played well, but couldn’t get putts to fall.
“The course played tough today,” said Enslen, who is from Uniontown, Pa. “They set it up tough and the pins were in some good places. I thought I hit the ball well, but I just didn’t putt well at all either day. I didn’t make anything outside of five feet, and that’s what it came down to.
“It definitely was fun coming down the stretch today. We knew the group behind us had guys leading and John and I were right there, and that makes it exciting. John earned it today though. Coming down the stretch, he made three birdies and three pars. He made the shots he had to, to get the win.”
Cumberland, who is from Fairmont, recorded his best-ever finish in the Green Hills Open with a 68-74-142.
“This was my best finish in this event, which I actually haven’t played in the last few years because normally this is always when my family goes on vacation,” said Cumberland. “I put some pressure on myself today and didn’t make some putts I needed to make. I had the adrenaline flowing and just didn’t putt well. I hit my irons and my driver pretty well. I didn’t get in any trouble, but I just didn’t get it done on the greens today.”
Micah Morrison won the first flight with a 76-67-143. He was followed by Tyler Hartzell (75-70-145), Steve Buckhannon (75-72-147), Gary Hawkins (76-73-149) and Eddie Koski (74-76-150).
Barry Edwards fired a 79-72-151 to claim the second flight. He was followed by Marcus Ondra (80-72-152), George White Jr. (81-74-155) and Bill Capelety (80-75-155).
Paul Tonkin’s 83-81-164 won the third flight. He was followed by Dave Delovich (84-81-165), Roy Michael (83-82-165) and Phil Monell (165).
The fourth flight victor was Tim Lucente, who shot an 87-80-167. George White Sr. (87-81-168), Jim Sears (89-80-169) and Jim Hackenburg (87-84-171) finished second through fourth in that flight.
The fifth and final flight was won by Mark Ellis, who finished with a 95-85-180. He was followed by Adam Reeves (92-90-182), Matt Beerbower (93-90-183) and John Gower (96-90-186).
Dave Gummer recorded his first hole-in-one in the tournament on the par-3, 120-yard No. 14 hole. Gummer used a pitching wedge to record the ace. He was playing in a foursome with Todd Ice, Matt Middlemas and John Cordeau.