Labor Day golf: Weather halts play; golfers resume this morning

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 2, 2012

By Ronnie Gallagher
SALISBURY — There will be free golf in the Labor Day tournament at the Country Club today.
Rain and lightning closed out Sunday’s play with many of the players still on the course. After a long delay, lightning hit the course about 7:10 p.m., prompting club pro Randy Padavick to halt play. The remaining matches will start at 8 a.m. with players hitting their ball from the spot when the weather took over.
And no one was happier about it than Phil Miller.
He and brother David were the only Championship Flight duo to finish, beating medalists Andrew Morgan and Sean Kramer 4 & 3.
“It’s a massive advantage,” Miller exclaimed. “Psychologically, these guys will go out a little on edge. I think it will be soggy.”
Perhaps the only people besides the Millers happy about the ending were Chris Owen and Ken Clarke.
“We’ve got a barbecue to go to,” the always-jovial Owen chirped.
Owen and Clarke are even with the young guns of the tournament, Andrew Purcell and Jake Kennedy. Purcell plays for Carson and Kennedy for West Rowan.
Michael and Keith Dorsett were 1-up on the 15th over Cory Basinger and Steven Harvey. It’s an important tournament for Keith, who won the first two legs of the county’s Triple Crown.
And don’t forget defending champions Richard Cobb and Joey Boley. They enter tomorrow even with three holes left against Charlie Graeber and Bill Haynes.
The Millers got in as the wind and dark clouds arrived — and it was quite a feat against Kramer and Morgan who blistered the field in qualifying with a 60.
In fact, Kramer gave his team a quick lead on the first hole with a birdie, but the match was tied after two. It continued that way until the ninth hole.
“It was like a roller coaster,” said Miller, whose birdie gave the Millers the lead for good on No. 9.
The Millers birdied 12 and 13 and then put the match away on No. 15.
The Dorsetts enter play this morning in good shape, one shot up on No. 15.
“Me and Cory are about 100 yards out,” said Michael Dorsett. “Keith and Harvey are waiting to hit their second shots.”
It’s a match of missed opportunities.
“It’s been back and forth,” Michael said. “We haven’t let them get the lead yet. We could probably be 2, 3 shots up. They played steady and they’ve had birdie chances just like us. It can go either way.”
If there was anyone who did not like the showers overtaking the course, it was Boley. He had five birdies on the day.
Graeber and Haynes were 2-up most of the day and were playing well when Cobb and Boley made a charge.
“It’s probably better for them,” Boley said of the postponement. “We had a little momentum going. But everybody’s got to play in it when we go back out.
“We really didn’t feel a lot of pressure,” he said. “We just go out and have fun.”
Speaking of fun, that’s the name of the game for country boys Owen and Clarke. They were involved in the most entertaining match against the teenagers.
Purcell had Clarke shaking his head when he made putts of 45 and 30 feet.
“I was putting lights out,” Purcell said. “Jake and I have been hitting the fairways. Jake’s money with his driver.”
Purcell and Kennedy led most of the way 2-up. But not to be outdone, Clarke charged back with an eagle and an eight-foot birdie on consecutive holes.
“We had them for a while,” Purcell said.
“We weren’t making putts at all like we did yesterday,” Clarke said.
Clarke gave credit to Owen for them still being in good position to advance.
“He’s consistent,” Clarke said. “He hits it in play. And his putting is so cotton-pickin’ good, it frees me up to do what I do.”
Clarke will get to do it again early this morning. The winner of his match will play the Boley-Cobb vs. Graeber-Haynes winner. The Millers will take on the winner between the Dorsetts and the team of Basinger-Harvey.
And with their match already completed, Phil Miller and brother David will simply wait it out.
“I definitely think we’ll be sitting in the driver’s seat,” Phil Miller said.