Lexingtons Derek Oldham played the last four holes in two under par and won the Joe Mooney Invitational Golf Tournament by two strokes over former Cynthiana resident Bart Lenox on Sunday at the Cynthiana Country Club.
Oldham had a two-stroke lead over Lenox, Scott Bolin and Scott Huff after Saturdays first round, as the University of Kentucky junior-to-be golfer carded a two-under par 69.
Lenox, a five-time champion in the event, overcame that two-stroke deficit, and then some, through the first 14 holes on Sunday. Lenox birdied six of those holes to take a one-shot lead heading to No. 15 when the players were called off the course due to severe weather.
I was in a pretty good rhythm before we were called in, said Lenox who blistered the front nine with a five-under par 31. When we went back out, I never really got back into the flow.
When play resumed, Oldham pulled off the shot of the tournament. Both players nearly drove the green on the par-four hole, with Lenox pin high to the right facing a downhill pitch shot from 15 yards. Oldham was to the left of the green and had an uphill chip.
Oldhams approach shot skipped past the hole, through the fringe and into the green-side rough. Lenox pitch trickled past the hole and into the fringe below the hole.
Hitting first, Oldham snatched the momentum away from Lenox by holing his shot. Lenox two-putted for par and the tournament was dead even.
That was definitely the shot that changed all the momentum, Oldham said of his dramatic chip-in. Bart played great golf all day, and there wasnt much I could do about it. I had a two-shot lead heading into the second day and shoot two under par on the front nine and find myself behind. That chip-in took a lot of wind out of his sails.
Oldham made a pair of clutch putts on the next two holes to remain tied with Lenox. He holed a five footer to save par on the par-four 16th and then drained a 10-foot par saver on the par-three 17th.
I made the putts I needed to make on those two holes and gave myself a chance, Oldham said.
On the par-five 18th, Oldham blasted a drive to the bottom of the hill and had only 140 yards to the pin. Lenox followed by popping up his tee shot to the left and faced a 240-yard shot that was also behind a screen that protects golfers on the No. 4 tee box.
Lenox then pulled his next shot over the netting, where it landed on a cart path and bounded into the pond that fronts No. 4 green, effectively ending his hopes of winning a sixth Mens Invitational.
I knew that Derek would make at least a birdie where he was hitting his second shot from, Lenox explained. I needed to hit some kind of miraculous shot to get it close to the green and make a birdie myself I just hit a bad shot.
True to form, Oldham hit his second shot 20 feet below the hole and two-putted for his birdie. After dropping a ball outside the hazard, Lenox managed a bogey six to secure second place in the tournament.
If you had told me going into this tournament that I would be on the last hole of the tournament with a chance to win, I would have been tickled to death, Lenox said. I cant be too disappointed, especially with the field of golfers we had this year. These were just my fourth and fifth 18-hole rounds of the year.
Centre College golfer Derek Tingle fired a tournament low round of 67 on Sunday to take third place in the Championship Flight. Defending champion Kevin Letcher struggled on Sunday and finished with a 76 for a two-day total of 148 to tie Bolin for seventh place.
Rus Whalen, a 2008 graduate of Centre and HCHS alum, was sixth with a 146 (72-74) and younger brother Hank, a 2008 grad of HCHS, was tied for 11th with 151 (78-73).
Seventeen-year old J.T. Ross, son of HCHS graduate Roger Ross and grandson of Dr. and Mrs. Roy Ross, recovered nicely from an opening round 86 and carded a 77 on Sunday for a 163.
Lee Kendall (72-73) won the First Flight by 11 strokes over second place finisher Jason Works (82-74). Paul Fryman was third in the flight with a 157 (78-79).
Grant Howard fired a fine 75 on Sunday but couldnt quite catch up with Second Flight winner Travis Durham. Durham had a 75 of his own on Saturday and followed it up with a 79 on Sunday to edge Howard by three strokes. Greg Shirley was third with a 158 (79-79).
In the Third Flight, John Vance fired a 75 on Sunday to slip past Gary Taylor and Gary Whitaker by one stroke. Vance overcame a five shot deficit after the first day of the tournament to earn the victory.
Bryan Buckler fired a 79 on Saturday, even with an 11 on the ninth hole, and was positioned well for Sunday. He finished with an 81 on Sunday to edge Jeff Judd (78-83) by one shot. Nate Tanamachi was alone in third with a 166 (83-83).
In the Fifth Flight, Jeremy Buckman was first with a 176 (90-86) to win by two shots over Dean Smith (94-84). Chad Bell was third with 179 (90-89).