There is no substitute for experience.
Heron Landing Golf Club member Mike Dick played the role of wily veteran to near perfection en route to winning the second-annual Men’s Open there over the weekend.
The 57-year-old Dick, who competed in the championship flight against golfers nearly half his age, shot a two-day combined score of 145 to capture the title by two strokes over runner-up Kevin Webb.
Afterwards, Dick credited the experience he’d gained playing in countless tournaments throughout the district with helping him earn the win.
“Just try and play the golf course,” Dick replied when asked the secret to his success.
“Don’t get all itchy and try and play heroic shots that maybe you’re not capable of,” he stressed. “You see a lot of guys get way over their heads and you watch the damage they do to their score.
“A couple of years ago, I would do the exact same thing,” he admitted.
But Dick said he’s since learned how to compete in tournaments by playing with some of the top golfers in the district.
“I played with Greg Ward, who’s just an awesome golfer,” he remarked. “He was always so calm and relaxed. It was just like he was out playing golf with the boys on a Saturday morning.
“I kind of drew from the experience of playing with him.”
Dick applied the skills he’d learned over the years flawlessly during the opening round of the tournament on Saturday, shooting an impressive two-under par 70—good enough to give him a share of the lead with Clayton “Beefy” Windego.
However, it was during the final round Sunday that Dick’s poise really came into play.
Despite struggling to find the form which had made him so successful the previous day, Dick remained calm during the final round and did just enough to secure the victory.
“Today [Sunday] the greens were a little tougher, a little tougher pin placements and things like that, and it was running really fast. You had to be kind of careful,” Dick said of his final round in which he carded a 75.
“I played well, [scoring] even on the front [nine],” he added. “I didn’t seem to be able to make a putt on the back [nine]. I was three-over on the back but it was good enough.”
While Dick struggled on the second day, Webb picked his game up a notch and shot the low score of the round—a two-under 70—to secure second place.
Had it not been for a tough opening round, in which he shot a five-over 77, it could well have been Webb’s name on the trophy.
“I had a good weekend, it was a fun time,” Webb said afterwards. “I missed a few putts and it cost me the tournament, but other than that it was fun out there.”
Webb said he was happy with the result despite losing the tournament by a mere two strokes.
“I didn’t expect to win anything after my first round, so coming so close was kind of nice anyways,” he remarked.
Rounding out the top five in the championship flight were Taylor Jorgenson (150), Colin Drombolis (152), and Dan Baletki (153).
Defending champ Sheldon Kelly was well back of the leaders this year, finishing in eighth place with a two-day combined score of 162.
Dick pocketed $600 in gift certificates from the Heron Landing pro shop for his first-place finish. Afterwards, he joked about his plans for his winnings.
“Well, I’m sure my wife needs some clothes from the pro shop,” he laughed. “My daughter came out for the first time today, so maybe she’ll get a set of irons.”
Webb earned $300 in Heron Landing gift certificates for his efforts while Jorgenson, Drombolis, and Baletki won $250, $200, and $100 in gift certificates, respectively.
Three other flights of golfers also competed in this year’s event. The difference between the championship flight and the other three involved the scoring method.
The winner of the championship flight was determined by the golfer’s gross score while winners of the remaining flights were determined by their net score (the gross score minus the golfer’s handicap).
Pete Bruyere shot a net two-day combined score of 147 to finish first in the first flight while Chuck McPherson won the second flight with a 135.
Donovan Kelly shot a 132 to take top honours in the third flight.
The top six golfers in each of the other three flights won Heron Landing gift certificates ranging in value from $300 to $100.
Prizes also were awarded to the golfer whose tee shot was closest to the hole on each of Heron Landing’s four Par 3 holes.
Jordan Sinclair, Stuart McIvor, Robin Archie, and James Comegan each took home a cooler bag filled with 12 golf balls and six 10 oz. steaks.
There is no substitute for experience.