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Reynolds' charge nets title

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By Robert Howey

Jeff Reynolds’ return to the Lancaster Golf Club throne had a familiar, dramatic flare Sunday afternoon.A year ago, Reynolds, facing long odds – down four shots in the final six holes, rallied to win in sudden death for his first-ever club championship.Ditto Sunday.Reynolds, down five shots entering the final nine holes, charged late to repeat as the LGC champion with a second straight sudden-death victory.“Jeff just seems to find another gear when it gets real competitive,” Lancaster Golf Club pro Phil Small said.“I just love to compete,” said Reynolds. “It’s exciting to see who can win.”Reynolds, a three-handicap golfer, had the final thrill Sunday when he prevailed with a par on the first playoff hole to take the crown.Chris Johnson, the 2005 club champion, held a five-shot after carding a five-under 67 in the opening round of the 36-hole tournament Saturday.Johnson, who has a one handicap, still held his five-shot lead with nine holes to play after he and Reynolds each shot a 35.In the final nine holes, Reynolds, 43, made his rally, while Johnson had his troubles.Reynolds owned a one-shot lead going into No. 18. A Reynolds bogey and Johnson par forced the playoff after each finished at one-under 143. Reynolds shot 72-71 to Johnson’s 67-76On the decisive hole, Reynolds, like he did on No. 18, pulled his drive left.His second shot, like his third shot on No. 18, sailed into the bunker.As he did on No. 18, Reynolds made a huge recovery and blasted from the sand in position for a two-foot par putt which he sank to seal the championship.“That shot out of the sand on 18 and the one on No. 1 were the best bunker shots I’ve ever had,” Reynolds said. “I just put my head down and gritted my teeth. At that point, that’s all you can do.”Johnson, on the playoff hole, kept his tee shot in the fairway, but his second shot with a six iron sailed well over the hole to put himself in tough position. He couldn’t recover, finishing a disappointing day with a bogey.“I just tried to play too safe,” said Johnson. “I just wasn’t finishing today.”Johnson, with a five-shot lead with nine holes to go, appeared to be closing in for his second club title, but it didn’t happen.“It just wasn’t to be,” Johnson said. “I should have just went at it, but I wasn’t following through.”Reynolds, slicing into Johnson’s lead, shaved the margin to two shots with a run of a birdie and two pars to open the final nine holes of play. Johnson had a par and a pair of bogies.“Five shots is tough to overcome, but Jeff made it up in a hurry, and got it down to two shots,” Small said. “At that point, he was back in it and it was anybody’s match.”On No. 14, Johnson had a double bogey, while Reynolds posted a par to tie the match. Reynolds went up a shot with a par on No. 15, while Johnson had a bogey.“When somebody’s playing like Chris was, you have to apply some pressure,” Reynolds said. “I had a 25-foot birdie putt on No. 10 and Chris had a par. That got me started.”“I didn’t just hand it to him, Jeff played consistent,” Johnson said. “He deserves it. He just started hitting it in the middle of the fairway and made putts.”When he encountered trouble, as he did on No. 18 and the playoff hole, Reynolds quickly recovered.“It was Johnson’s to win or lose,” Small said. “Then, Jeff got it going and made shots.“He found that gear and made things happen,” Small said.Reynolds and Johnson were followed by Skip Small, who shot 149, 72-77.In the first flight, Larry Snyder won with a 156 (81-75). Lane Small followed with a 160 (80-80) and Mike Gandy was third with a 165 (83-82).In the senior flight, Junior Bradley prevailed with a 153 (77-76). Dick Lesley followed with a 156 (79-77) and Larry Westcott was third with a 157 (79-78).Dan Edwards won the super senior flight with a 148 (75-73). Larry Honeycutt was second with a 149 (75-74) and Ray Ackerman was third with a 150 (75-75).