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Experience was the winner in the annual Lancaster Golf Club championship on Sunday, Aug. 11.
“This one is for the old guys,” said an exuberant Mike “Red Man” Kennington just after he captured the LGC title with a one-under 143 (71-72) in the two-day, 36-hole event.
“I’ve been chasing this ball a long time, just about all my life,” said Kennington, 53, a 40-year golf veteran. “It feels good to win it. I can’t remember the year, but until this year, my highest finish has been third.
“I’ve been in the hunt before, but always the bridesmaid until today,” Kennington said.
Kennington, a four-handicap golfer, held a one-shot lead on junior golf star Brady Hinkle after the opening 18 holes of play Saturday.
Hinkle, a Lancaster High School golfer, shot a solid even-par 72, but couldn’t match it on a sweltering Sunday when play moved to the challenging championship blue tees and he posted a 77 for a two-day 149.
Kennington charged hard to build an early lead and stayed on top for the six-shot win despite Hinkle’s strong surge.
“I got a pretty good lead out of the gate,” Kennington said.
Kennington took command Sunday, posting two pars and a pair of birdies in the opening four holes for a six-shot edge. Hinkle,13, could muster a par and three crippling bogies.
“Nerves might have got him in those early holes Sunday, but he hung tough and settled in,” Kennington said. “Brady’s got game and he showed it.”
A determined Hinkle rebounded from his early trouble to slice into Kennington’s lead, cutting the difference to three shots as they headed to No. 14, a par five.
Kennington carded a birdie and Hinkle had a par.
“After that I was feeling pretty good,” Kennington said.
The key was a 25-foot downhill putt, which Kennington holed to boost him for the final four holes.
“That putt was downhill and could have rolled 10 feet by the pin,” said Kennington. “I made a lot of key putts, including that one.”
Tim Woodward, who played in the championship foursome, said Kennington was steady all day.
“He hit the ball good and was solid,” Woodward said. “The mistakes he made, he quickly recovered.”
“I hit a bunch of fairways and stayed out of trouble,” said Kennington, who had 10 birdies, five each day, and 18 pars – eight Sunday and 10 Saturday. “My chipping and putting were outstanding, really good. I practiced a lot last week.”
Kennington shared the links spotlight with a host of golfers.
In the first flight, Fred Mangano won on the second hole of sudden death with a par after he and Lane Small were tied at 163.
Mangano shot 84-79, while Small had an 82-81.
Dick Lesley won the senior division, shooting a 156 (78-78) for a five-shot win over Bruce Barrett, 161 (76-85).
In the super seniors, Dan Edwards rallied for a five-shot win with a 151 (80-71). George Flanders was second with a 156 (75-81).
“We had some good matches out there and I thought the club championship might come down to the final hole in a shootout after Saturday, but Mike came on to prove he’s the top gun,” club pro Phil Small said. “Given how long he’s played out here, you have to be happy for him.
Brady gave him a battle, but those early holes Sunday came back to get him. On the plus side, for Brady to finish as the club runner-up at age 13 is pretty strong. He has a bright future.”
Kennington also tipped his cap to Hinkle.
“Brady is going to get his share of trophies,” Kennington said.
“Seems like it’s the young’uns each year, but today, this one was for the old guys,” Kennington added.