Sometimes in life you get a second chance.
Those words, spoken by Dewey Delovich minutes after walking off of the 18th green following the final round of the annual Green Hills-Homer Delovich Memorial Golf Championship at Green Hills Country Club Sunday, couldn't have been more true for the youngest son of the tournament's namesake.
Delovich followed up his opening-round, even-par 70 by firing a one-over par 71 yesterday and finished the tourney with a one-over par 141 to record a one-shot victory over Dave Cumberland (68-74-142).
The victory was the first in the event for the 45-year-old Delovich, who has been a fan favorite at Green Hills since his high school playing days at North Marion back in the mid-1980s.
One year ago Delovich headed to the 18th tee with a one-shot lead in the tournament. An aggressive second shot ended up costing the former Monongah resident, who now is the Assistant Gold Professional at Kiawah Island Club Cassique. He finished with a double-bogey on the par-5 hole and lost by one shot to John Kingora.
Sunday Delovich found himself in familiar territory. For the second straight year he headed to the final hole with a one shot lead. He hit a booming drive with a 3-wood that landed in the left rough about 195 yards from the hole – almost exactly the same position he was in one year ago when he chose to go for the middle of the green with a five-iron. This time Delovich played it safe. He hit sand wedge twice and left himself with a 12-foot putt for birdie. He narrowly missed the birdie putt and tapped in a two-footer for par and the victory.
“I'll tell you winning this thing feels a heckuva lot better than I even thought it would,” said Delovich, who was greeted afterward with a barrage of hugs from his family members and several Green Hills members watching. “It's awesome.
“The scenario was so similar to last year. When I got to 18 my adrenaline was flowing so I hit 3-wood there. I knew if I hit the driver it could've turned out bad. I probably would've been out of bounds. As soon as I hit the 3-wood I knew I made the right choice. Then I just went sand wedge, sand wedge. I just wanted to be in the middle of the green. I didn't want to go long and I didn't want to go left.
“I kept telling myself make Dave make a birdie and he almost did. He almost made two unbelievable putts, one on 17 and one there on 18. There's no doubt he gave himself a chance. He's a very good player. It came right down to the last putt and on that putt I just kept talking to myself and telling myself I needed to make it for the win. Thankfully I did.”
With the win Delovich ended four years of frustrating close calls. Prior to this year's victory he recorded four straight top-four finishes in the tournament, including a pair of second-place showings in 2011 and 2013.
“I finally have the pressure off of me,” said Delovich with a laugh. “Now, I don't know if anyone will follow me around anymore. I started to get a little choked up there afterward because this tournament means so much to me and my family. The first three people who came up and hugged me after it was over had tears in their eyes and it kind of got to me. It was emotional, but it sure feels good.”
Cumberland, who posted his second straight runner-up finish in the tournament, certainly made it interesting Sunday. After an even-par on the first nine holes, Cumberland suffered a bogey on 10 and a double-bogey on 11. He then responded with five straight pars and headed to the 17th tee tied with Delovich for the lead. His tee shot on the par-3 hole sailed long and he nearly got it up and down for par but settled for another bogey. On 18 he hit a perfect drive and then reached the green-side right bunker on his second shot. His sand shot, however, caught the bunker's lip and came out with a high bounce and ended up about 11 feet above the hole. Cumberland nearly made the tricky downhill birdie putt and then tapped in for par.
“I gave it the best I had today,” said Cumberland. “I really didn't hit the ball all that well today, but I did get up and down a few times. That helped out. I also didn't make as many putts as I should have. I missed a little putt there on 11 which turned out to be costly.
“You know, though, I enjoyed it. I had a really good time. Dewey was the better player today. He's been wanting this championship for a while. Maybe in the future my day will come.”
First-round leader Rush Janes shot a six-over 76 Sunday and finished third overall with a two-day total of 143. Jeremy Enslen, who was third after his first-round 69, shot a 76 Sunday and ended up fourth with a 145. Aaron Gizzi (72-72-146) and Buck Gower (74-72-146) finished tied for fifth place.
Bob Tajc won the first flight with a 76-68-144. Tim Osborne (75-70-145) finished second and Jeff Nehls (77-71-148) came in third.
Jimmy Kubina's 80-74-154 was victorious in the second flight. Thomas Krpicak placed second with a 79-77-156 and Darwin Stalnaker (80-77-157), Doug Tennant (82-75-157) and Jim Carpenter (79-78-157) all finished tied for third.
The third flight winner was Kenny Ryan with an 83-76-159. Jimmy Hess (85-79-164) and Terry Green (87-77-164) tied for second.
Jamie Gonzales' 88-80-168 won the fourth flight. Tying for second were Hayden Stewart (89-80-169) and John Cienawski (88-81-169).
Tim Bucklew won the fifth and final flight with a 90-82-172. Matt Berardi (91-83-174) and Randy Workman (92-82-174) tied for second place.
Sometimes in life you get a second chance.
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