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Wayne County Men’s Amateur
Lionel Sutton cruised around the back nine and built an advantage that reached eight strokes on Sunday afternoon.
“I got to thinking just try to keep it in play,” Sutton said. “When you start doing that, golf goes bad. You have to play aggressive.”
Sutton entered the final round two strokes behind second-day leader Nick Adams. Once the final putt dropped in the cup on No. 9, Sutton and his playing partners shook hands as they walked off the green to check each other’s scorecards.
A few minutes later, Sutton — who carded a three-day score of 3-under 213 — received his record-tying fourth Open Division trophy in the 2015 Wayne County Men’s Amateur. The former lower-tier pro tour competitor matched the mark set by Johnathan Burke, who won back-to-back titles in 2005-06 and 2009-10.
Stan Adams emerged as the 13th different player to win the Senior Division championship with a 54-hole score of 215. Adams hoped he and his son, Nick, would accomplish a WCMA first — become the first-ever father/son combination to win their respective divisions.
Nick, for the second straight year, finished runner-up in Open play.
“Obviously, I was pulling for Nick, but that’s golf,” Stan said. “I’m sure he’s a little disappointed. I was hoping for that father-son thing … had it in the back of my mind.”
Adams started slowly and quickly lost his lead through the early stages of the round. Sutton began to pull away as Adams and playing partners Blake Floars and Dustin Smith gave chase on the Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course.
Each golfer encountered bad lies after his respective tee shot. Each also three-putted on several occasions once they reached the greens. Sutton all but wrapped up the title with five holes remaining.
Floars, a recent grad of Wayne Christian, finished with a 2-over 74 and 6-over 218 for the entire tournament. Chris Bitzenhofer and Taylor Gardner shared fourth at 4-over 220.
“Awesome players … could hit a mile … good gracious,” said Sutton, who will move into the Senior Division next year. “The younger player (Floars), he’s only 18. If he had made a few putts on the front nine, it could have been a totally different story. He could have shot 3- or 4-under easily if he had gotten on a roll.
“I hit good for about nine or 10 holes … then tried to guide it in, rather than play aggressive and almost let them back in it. I told my kids it would be really nice one time to win as a ‘senior’ in an Open division.”
John Zambelli won his record sixth WCMA crown, which spans two divisions, with an eight-stroke victory in Super Senior Division play. Zambelli claimed his fourth crown in the last five years as a Super Senior to go along with his 2006 and 2008 titles in Senior Division action.
Zambelli defeated Roland Gurley by eight strokes.
“Well, I don’t know what to say,” said Zambelli of his record-setting achievement. “I enjoy the competition. I hit the ball very well all weekend, putted poorly all weekend. (Today’s round), I didn’t want to attack, didn’t need to.
“I just wanted to make pars. That quite often makes it more difficult when you don’t play aggressively. That’s what I did today, I played lackadaisically.”
This time, Donald Shaver kept the lawn mower parked. He built a four-stroke advantage through two rounds, and emerged as the Masters Division champ with a three-shot decision over Mickey Nance.
Defending champion William Jetton took third at 227.
A year ago, Shaver decided to cut his grass since he had an afternoon tee time in the second round. He injured his leg and hobbled his way through the final 36 holes.
“I’ve got a little ditch there in the front yard,” Shaver said. “I went across that thing. There’s a bump there. I was titled left and started to slide (out of my seat). I put my foot down and turned it. I played on one foot … could barely putt.
“I stayed off of the mower this year.”