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June 11, 2012

 

Mazza brothers snatch CCI crown at Elm Tree

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

In the past 19 years, two teams have been the most dominant in the Cortland County Invitational Max O’Shea Championship Flight.
Ron Marshall, Jr. and Don Stevens have six titles to their credit in the two-man, bestball event with the tandem of Ed Mazza and Steve Torrant close behind with four. Only Tom and Mickey Gallagher also have four victories in the June classic at Elm Tree Golf Course.
On Sunday, Mazza claimed his fifth title in the 37th edition of the tournament — but he had a new partner, brother Bruno Mazza. The duo carded a solid 11-under par 36-hole total of 129 over the two days of play.
The Mazzas shared the first round lead with the father-son combination of Ed and Joe Volpicelli with matching 63s. In the head-to-head pairing Sunday, the Mazza brothers shot 66 while the Volpicellis carded 69 and fell into a third-place tie with Marshall and Stevens at 132. Marshall and Stevens shot 65 Saturday and 67 Sunday.
Long-ball hitter Joe Lynch and Tim Lane, the defending champions, took second place with a 131 total on rounds of 66 and 65.
“It was fun playing with the Volpicellis,” Ed Mazza said. “I noticed our flight had the Mazzas, the Volpicellis, the Martins. It really was a kind of family affair, which is nice.
“I love playing with my brother,” he continued. “He’s a great partner. I miss playing with Steve, but I enjoy playing with my brother a lot. We played well today. We did miss some opportunities, but we got it done.”
Ed and Bruno Mazza took the lead on the front nine as they shot 33, two-under par, while the Volpicellis struggle and were one over with a 36.
“We played the front nine all right,” Ed Mazza said. “We did have to scramble on number eight (a par 3). We were lucky to get a par. The front nine is the tougher side to score on. We did go two under and no one did better than that so it was all on the back side and that’s where the fireworks usually happen.
“We didn’t make any fireworks, but we did enough to win,” he added. “I did birdie the last hole. I thought we needed a birdie to win, but all we really needed was a par. I made about a 20-footer there, which was nice.”
There were three holes on the front side that Mazza thought were the turning point in the match, but it was hard to decide in many ways he admitted.
“That saving par putt on eight was big,” Mazza said. “You never want to take a step backwards because that is deflating.
“Maybe the very first hole because my brother hit his drive under a tree, which we later found out was a free drop, but he didn’t take it at the time,” he continued. “I put my second shot on and made the putt. That was big. On number six, my brother hit one to within five feet of the hole and made that. Those holes got us going.”
While he has a new partner, everyone says that Ed Mazza is such a good golfer because of his consistency and he admits that is a good thing.
“My brother and I are both pretty consistent,” he said. “He (Bruno) hits the ball longer and straighter with his irons. I am probably a little better around the greens. He does hit straight drives off the tee and his irons are solid. He is steady that way and it makes us a good team. Even though guys like Joe hit the ball 50-60 yards longer, I am able to find a way to get it done around the green.”
Lynch actually hit the shot of the tournament late Sunday afternoon. On the short par-4 17th hole, Lynch hooked his drive over the putting green by the clubhouse and just short of the pavilion. The ball was still in play and, with a limited backswing, pitched the ball over the deck behind the clubhouse to within 15 feet of the hole. He just missed his birdie, but the two-putt par was still impressive.
Bob Spada and Rick Canale won the Doug Jesanis Flight with a 36-hole total of 137 after rounds of 70 and 67.
Richard Thomas and Jeff Stannard won the Larry Martin Flight on the first playoff hole with a par. Thomas and Stannard carded rounds of 67 and 70 for their 137 total. Runners-up Chris Risavi and and Nick Biondi also shot 137 with the scores reversed at 70-67, but took a five on the playoff hole.
Joe Alpert and Gary Thomas were the John Stark Flight winners with a 141 total after rounds of 68-73.
Al Van Donsel and David Downes shot 73-68 to win the Bob Swartwout Flight with a total of 141.
Mike Franceschelli and Steve Franceschelli controlled the Rocco Berardi Flight after rounds of 71 and 72 totaled 143.
Carl Hinkle and Gary Wood came out on top in the George McKinney Flight after rounds of 75 and 75 for a total of 150.
Hinkle and Wood were also winners of the Dick Zabo Seniors Flight. Their 150 total was reduced 22 strokes by their handicap to total 128.

 

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