Labor Day golf: Benfield/Lentz surprise
By Ryan Bisesi
SALISBURY — Shane Benfield and Kevin Lentz had the premier victory of the day at the Country Club of Salisbury on Sunday. An ousting of defending champion Ronnie Eidson and Curtis Kyles in the men’s championship flight of the Labor Day Tournament gave them that distinction.
Benfield/Lentz were 1 up on the defending champs to advance to the final day. The pair grabbed the lead by scoring a birdie on Hole 13 on after teeing off on 10.
Not bad for a couple of self-proclaimed “weekend warriors,” who reunited after playing together at East Rowan.
“Goal No. 1 was to stay in it every hole and stay bogey-free for the day,” Lentz said. “We knew playing the defending champs we had to bring our best.”
Benfield sunk a 12-foot putt on the final hole to clinch the victory. The duo, ranked ninth in the 16-team format, defeated Mallory McDaniel/Jim Christy Saturday.
“For a couple of hard-working amateurs, it was as good as we could play,” Lentz said. “Hats off to Ronnie and Curtis. They’re always solid golfers.”
Benfield/Lentz will face Eric Mulkey/Thad Sprinkle today at 9 a.m. weather permitting. Monday’s forecast called for a high chance of rain.
Eidson/Kyles’ repeat hopes were dashed despite birdies on holes 12, 13, 15, 18, 3, 4 and 7. Eidson earned a birdie on Hole 12 to put him and Kyles 1 up.
“Those guys played steady all day,” said Eidson, who won the Rowan Amateur earlier this year. “You don’t mind getting beat. It’s when you give one away that you don’t like it.”
Benfield last made the final day in 1999, then playing with his father. Lentz is making his first appearance in the semifinals.
“Shane made some great putts on 3, 4 and 5,” Lentz said.
Mulkey/Sprinkle were 1 up on Keith and Michael Dorsett to win for the second straight day. Mulkey was a champion of the tournament in 2004.
“It’s always a good match playing them,” Sprinkle said. “They’re tough to beat.”
They took the lead on No. 1 and went two up on Hole 4 after Sprinkle earned a birdie. The Dorsetts’ birdied No. 6 to pull within a hole, but couldn’t draw any closer.
“We got off to a rough start and bogeyed the first two holes,” Mulkey said. “We never got down after the first two holes.”
Joey Boley/Richard Cobb defeated Roy Dixon and Glenn Dixon 2 & 1 and will face Johnny Kyger/John Kyger today in the other semifinal.
The title round will take place at 1:30 p.m.
In the seniors championship, Ed Cook/Cliff Ritchie will take on James Poe/Bob Rusher in the final at 9 a.m. starting on Hole 3.
The women’s flight featured a win from Allison Dupree/Grace Yatawara in 19 holes. Susan Morris/Becky Isenhour won 4 & 3 against Phyllis Durland/Faye Cline. Dupree/Yatawara will face Morris/Isenhour at 9 a.m. on Hole 13.
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