MAMARONECK, N.Y. – With all the merciless ferocity of the Headless Horseman himself, Sleepy Hollow Country Club’s Cameron Young and Michael Quagliano fired a blistering 8-under 62 on Winged Foot’s formidable West course Friday for a two-day total of 4-under to claim medalist honors in the 80th Anderson Memorial Tournament at Winged Foot. Meanwhile darkness halted a playoff for the final spot in the 16-team match play bracket.
It was a perfectly clean card for the duo from Sleepy Hollow: eight birdies, no bogeys, including a three-birdie barrage in the most fearsome teeth of the golf course – 15, 16, 17.
“They slammed the door shut!” gasped one fan, breathlessly impressed with the laser precision of the performance, and, as word made its way around the golf course, team after team, and player after player heaped praise upon the tandem for the lowest competitive Anderson Memorial round in at least two decades. Quagliano and Young will play the winner of a playoff for the final spot between Winged Foot’s Hans Albertsson and Brian Williams and Brookville Country Club’s Adam Pecora and Dan Abbondandolo. Both Albertsson and Abbondandolo missed short birdie putts on 18 to end the playoff and secure a spot in the final match play bracket of 16. The winner of the 1-16 match will face the winner of the battle between 8th-seeded Matt Mattare and Mark McGowan of Saucon Valley Country Club and 9th-seeded Andy Cooper and Craig Hurlbert of Bluejack National, the new Tiger Woods designed golf course in the mountains of Tennessee.
On the fifth playoff hole, a third time playing No. 10 on the West, Hans Albertsson hit his tee shot on the iconic par 3 “right of right” as one observer put it. (And dead of dead, as one writer saw it.) Then he holed the 60-yard pitch propelling him into the match play bracket and a date with No. 1 seed Quagliano and Young.
Defending champions Roger Newsom and Adam Horton of Elizabeth Manor Golf and Country Club also smoothly powered their way into the match play bracket with a 2-under 68 for two-day total of 2-under 138.
“We had to birdie the last three holes to do it,” gasped Horton, still coming to grips with the accomplishment. (So was everyone else for that matter.)
You’re not allowed to birdie the last three holes at Winged Foot. It’s the 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not turn Winged Foot West into TPC River Highlands. Normally when you birdie the last three holes at the West Course, you don’t get away without getting stopped by the cops, subpoenaed for a Congressional oversight hearing and hassled by Lois Lerner. But that’s what the defending champs did. Behind the 8-ball early with bogeys at the par-3 third and par-4 fourth holes, the pair righted the ship with a two-putt birdie by Newsom at the par-5 eighth, then parred the next six holes, setting the stage for the late fireworks.
After a blistering drive on the uphill 467-yard 16th hole named “Hell’s Bells”, Newsom catapulted a 180-yard 7-iron to 12 feet above the hole. He drained the difficult downhill putt, then did the exact same thing on 17, Goodyear-blimping a 320-yard drive down the middle of the fairway, then hitting a 140-yard wedge to 14 feet above the hole.
As an aside, that’s not exactly how you draw up a game plan for Winged Foot – ramming in putts on ice-slick, potato-chip curvaceous greens from above the hole, but, hey, whatever works when you’re in a pinch.
“Ýeah, that’s not how we drew it up on the chalk board,” admitted Horton candidly, but what he did next was not only textbook, but one for the scrapbook and the grandkids.
“I talked Adam into hitting 3-wood off the tee, because his driver goes through the fairway,” Newsom explained. “He smoothed it dead center, then hit a 5-iron from 205 that never left the flag.”
The ball took some of the fiendish contours of the final green and settled 25 feet away. The idea was for Horton to give Newsom a line for his partner’s birdie putt. Horton even promised to buy Newsom a swank $250 bottle of wine if he did it.
Wait, wait, wait. Only a $250 bottle of wine for carding birdies on the final three holes on the most fearsome golf course designed by man, ghoul or Tillie the Terror? Surely, dinner comes with it.
But Horton served up script revisions to the plan, draining the twisting 25-foot bomb on the iconic home hole and bringing the gallery to its feet. They heard the roar all the way from Katonah to Middletown when that ball tumbled into the cup.
If there’s one thing Winged Foot members know how to do, it’s salute world-class golf.
The gallery also rose in praise for a youngster, a 15-year old phenom from Lima, Peru, named Alberto Menacho -- “All-star Alby” as the media dubbed him. With the poise of a grizzled veteran ad the moxie of a seasoned pro, the kid teamed with 2014 Anderson champion Luis Barca, and fired an opening 68 on the East course Thursday. They then followed with a solid 69 on the West course to secure the third seed.
It was reminiscent of the time Old Tom Morris brought his son Young Tom to the 1868 Open Championship at Prestwick.
"What's the wee laddie for, Tom?" asked Mungo Park.
"Ye'll see soon enough!" grumbled Old Tom, and then his son wen on to win by three shots.
Playing out of Lima Golf Club in Peru, they’ll face Ryan Hill and Eric Joseph of Oak Hill on their morning match on Saturday.
1) Quagliano and Young (Sleepy Hollow)
8) Mattare and McGowan (Saucon valley)
9) Hurlbert and Cooper (Bluejack National)
4) Keogh and Hutcheson (Taboo GC)
13) Marland and Burke (Champions)
5) Pumphrey and Hamann (Spenish Oaks GC)
12) Gauley and Gauley (Raleigh GC)
2) Schob and Ferriter (Winged Foot)
15) Heise and Loving (Conroe CC)
7) Newsom and Horton (Elizabeth Manor)
10) Largent and Smith (Greenville CC)
3) Barco and Menacho (Lima GC)
14) Hill and Joseph (Oak Hill)
6) Troy and Nicholas (Winged Foot)
11 Grizot and Wolff (LePrieure GC)