By Rob Potter
CALLICOON August 6, 2002 It was deja-vu all over again.
For the second consecutive year, the team of Gregg Semenetz and Bill Phillips won the Sullivan County Democrat Golf Tournament Sunday afternoon at the Villa Roma Country Club.
And for the second straight time, Semenetz and Phillips defeated David Solomon and Jack Jordan in the Championship Flight finals.
Amid steamy hot and humid conditions, Semenetz and Phillips beat Solomon and Jordan by two holes to capture the 21st Annual Democrat Two-Man Better Ball tourney.
While this years final did not feature a sudden-death playoff that decided the 2001 tournament, the action was just as intense.
Semenetz/Phillips went one up on the fourth hole when Semenetz drained a 30-foot putt. The teams then matched each other through the next six holes.
On the 11th hole, Solomon/Jordan tied the match.
But Semenetz made a 10 footer on the 12th green to put his team up by one again.
With a small gallery following the match, the championship foursome made their way to the next three holes.
Then came the par-4, 16th hole which Semenetz later noted was key to the match.
After Solomon made his putt on the hole, Phillips faced a difficult shot as his ball was on the very edge of the green. As soon as Phillips hit it, the ball picked up speed and rolled about 18 feet to the hole and dropped in to put Semenetz/Phillips two up with only a pair of holes left.
With the match dormied, both teams parred the difficult par-3, 17th, and the match was over. The Semenetz/Phillips duo had its second straight Democrat title.
Bills putt on 16 was huge, Semenetz said. That put us two up and then all we had to do was make par on 17.
The green was so fast and David had just made a nice putt, Phillips said of his putt on 16. I just wanted to get it close to the hole and it happened to go in.
Tournament sponsor Fred Stabbert III noted that this was the first time since the second year of the tourney that a team actually repeated.
Its so hard to do and a terrific accomplishment for Gregg and Billy, Stabbert added. The caliber of this years field was incredible, and is a testament to the many younger golfers who are now trying to make the grade. But experience sure paid off this year.
Solomon noted that the Phillips putt was the straw that broke the Solomon/Jordan back.
We had our chances on 13 and 14, Solomon said. It was a very good match. Both teams played well, but they made a few more putts than we did.
While finishing second for consecutive years was a bit disappointing, Jordan noted that this was the eighth time he has finished second in the event. (The Solomon/Jordan team won the tournament in 1988, however.)
Im happy to be competitive again, he said. Well try again (next year).
In reaching the final match, Semenetz/Phillips knocked off 2000 champions Chris DuBois and Bill Elliott 5 and 4, beat Ken Cohen/Pete Selthafner 1 up and topped Charles Johnston/Marvin Newberg 3 and 1 in the semifinals.
The Solomon/Jordan team beat Douglas Novogrodsky/Wayne Pirnos 3 and 2, defeated Peter Rymer/David Philossoph 4 and 3 and outlasted the team of Nick Yaun/Sean Semenetz in the semifinals. Solomon/Jordan beat Yaun/Sean Semenetz in 19 holes in that match.
Its great, Semenetz said of winning back-to-back Democrat tournaments.
The only way it would have been better is if we had beat Sean and Nick, he added with a smile.
Though it was not a father vs. son championship flight final, the rematch from last August provided enough drama.
David and Jack are solid competitors, theyre as tough as they get, Semenetz said. They were right there until the end.
This was tough, Phillips commented. There are so many good golfers in this tournament.
Flight winners are as follows:
Championship Flight: Winners Gregg Semenetz/Bill Phillips; 2nd David Solomon/Jack Jordan; 3rd Bob Simpson/Terry Wolcott.
1st Flight: Winners Doug Novogrodsky/Wayne Pirnos; 2nd Robert Kuhn/Brad Strenge; 3rd Ira Steingart/Nathan Steingart.
2nd Flight: Winners Pete Edmunds/John Brown; 2nd Lou Siegel/Charles Siegel; 3rd Mel Kaufman/Allan Nadler.
3rd Flight: Winners Myron Josepher/Michael Josepher; 2nd Ian Orr/Jeff Garfield; 3rd Maxx Kleiner/Ben Kleiner.
4th Flight: Winners Bob Jones/Mike Daley; 2nd Art Norden/Peter Sigelakis; 3rd Herb Mishkin/Zane Jacobs.
5th Flight: Winners Joseph Palumbo/Michael Oppenheim; 2nd Brian Starr/Steve Lagoda; 3rd Philip Beliawsky/Mike Botsford.
6th Flight: Winners John Meyer/Tom Meyer; 2nd Troy Gregory/David Gordon; 3rd Roy Kudrzycki/Robert Ottino.
7th Flight: Winners Bob Ketchum/Bob Gray; 2nd Ed Klinger/William Feinstein 3rd William Palumbo/William Vlaun.