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September 15, 2008

 

Wanish-Marshall repeat as champs

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

For the second year in a row, John Wanish and Ron Marshall, Jr. emerged at the top of the leaderboard at the conclusion of the Collins Cup Invitational.
With a little luck from the golfing gods and a gutsy effort by Wanish, the defending champions posted a score of 136. That was one stroke better than six-time champions Joe Oddo and Bill Moore after 36 holes of play in the 15th annual tournament held at the Cortland Country Club Saturday and Sunday.
Wanish and Marshall were consistent as the duo shot 68 for both rounds in this two-man, bestball event.
“Ron is the horse and I was the pigeon,” said Wanish, who postponed surgery on a foot fracture for three months so they could defend their title. Despite the pain He soldiered on for 36 holes.
“He played great. I rode him the whole weekend. We had a great time and it was a lot of fun. I helped when I needed to with a bum foot,” said Wanish.
“It does feel great,” Marshall added. “We kinda know what Oddo and Moore feel like now. Not to the same extent since they won six in a row, but John didn’t ride on me. We really play off each other well. We enjoy each other’s company and we have fun together. We know how to pick each other up when it is needed. We missed a putt coming in and thought that might hurt us, but it didn’t.”
As mentioned last year, both Wanish and Marshall are friends of Tom Collins, the 84-year-old and 59-year member of Cortland Country Club for which this golf tournament is named.
“It is huge to win this tournament again,” Wanish said. “Ron is a good friend of Collie’s and Collie means a lot to me. This is a good tournament to win. I think it is the best tournament in Cortland County.”
The turning point for the winners came on the 509-yard, par 5 11th hole. Marshall eagled the hole and gave his team some needed momentum.
“Ron’s eagle was huge on number 11,” Wanish said. “He hit a great shot into the green. He played in the Member-Guest this year and changed some clubs, but I told him he needed to get the five-wood back in his bag. He used the five-wood to eagle number four yesterday and he eagled 11 with it today. He listened to Gramps.”
“I hit my best drive of the weekend,” said Marshall as he described the eagle effort. “I hit a cut five-wood about 215 yards to about 15 feet right of the hole. I asked John to give me his best read on the putt and he did. I hit it where he told me and it went in.”
Oddo and Moore shot 67 Saturday, but only managed to card 70 Sunday. Despite that, they nearly won the tournament when Moore dropped a wedge shot on the 18th hole three inches to the right of the hole. Unfortunately, the backspin drew the ball back off the front of the green.
“I had 109 to the pin and I hit a gap-wedge,” Moore said. “I knew it would spin back because that is a very steep green. I was my own fault. I was trying to hit it just above the hole. I was watching balls when we were teeing off on 17 and they weren’t spinning that much. Most were hitting and stopping or coming back just a foot. I never thought it would spin back 40 feet. Joe had already hit a nice shot into the green and I was just hoping to give us two chances at a birdie. That’s golf.”
While that one shot could have made a difference, there were a couple of strokes that could have been saved during the round.
“We had four birdies on the front nine, but we also had bogies on two and six by three-putting,” Moore said. “You can’t afford to do that. We were still two-under for the day through 12 holes and were feeling good. I birdied 14 and just missed birdies on 15 and 16, but we both missed the green on 17. Joe missed to the right and I was over the green. Once you miss that green, you’re going to bogey the hole. We have done that two of the last four years. I’m more frustrated about missing the green on 17 than the shot at 18. I thought I hit good shots at each hole.”
“It is tough to lose by a stroke when you bogey a hole,” Oddo said, who is actually an eight-time Collins Cup champion, having won twice with another partner. “I don’t mind losing to a birdie, but a bogey really kills you. I think we really lost today because of our putting. We not only three-putted two and six, but we three-putted on 12. We had our opportunities. We had some other close putts that we missed.”
As Wanish and Marshall make plans to try for the three-peat, Oddo and Moore hope to get another shot at the Waterford Crystal trophy awarded to the winner as well.
“We like coming back here,” said Oddo, who represents Bellevue Country Club in Syracuse, as does Moore. “This is a great tournament. Charlie (French) does a great job running things. This is a great golf course. There are great people competing each year and we look forward to coming back next year.”
The only other flight that was close was the First Flight where Dan Partigianoni and Chris Schmidt edged Steve Wall and Jim Castle by a shot. Partigianoni and Schmidt shot 142 (72-70) while Wall and Castle carded 143 on 72-71.
Brian Robinson and Ken French won the Second Flight by five strokes with a total of 144 after round of 76 and 68 while Bob Robinson and Bruce York won the Third Flight by five strokes after rounds of 79 and 70 totaled 149.