By Jim Lane
For the Mirror
TYRONE - The first two-man best-ball championship of the 2014 area golf season belongs to David DeGol and Bernie DeLoretto.
Photo for the Mirror by Ken Love
Bernie DeLoretto (left) and David DeGol Jr. won Sunday.
DeGol and DeLoretto led wire to wire and repeated as champions of the 43rd annual Sinking Valley Classic with a three-day total of 204, five strokes better than the rest of the field.
DeGol, of Hollidaysburg, and DeLoretto, of Jeannette, shot a 67 on Friday to share the first-day lead with Artie Fink, of Altoona, and William Smith, of Chambersburg. DeGol and DeLoretto shot another 67 Saturday while Fink and Smith dropped three behind with a 70.
Playing as the final pairs Sunday, DeGol and DeLoretto overcame a shaky start to shoot a 70 while Fink and Smith skied to a 72, finishing five strokes behind the champs and dropping into a tie for fourth place.
"We had a good first day, actually the first two days," DeGol said. "We had six birdies and a bogey the first two days and never really had any bad holes.
"Today, we bogeyed the first hole and were 1-over after five," DeGol noted, "so it was a little bit of a rough start, but we got it back even on the front and then made three birdies in a row on the back and that got us going and put us in a good spot."
DeGol, who calls Scotch Valley his home course, recalled that it rained hard on the second day of the tournament last year so Sunday's late-day shower didn't hamper the outcome for him and DeLoretto.
The DeGol-DeLoretto team plays most of the area two-ball events and got together because DeLoretto and DeGol's father, David, are longtime friends.
"I've known Dave's dad since about 1992," DeLoretto said. "I used to play with him and it evolved into playing with his son. We played here last year and we played at Summit, Iron Masters ... all the ones up here."
DeLoretto said his team's ability to overcome Sunday's poor start, plus Fink and Smith's problems on the seventh hole, were keys to the outcome.
"We had a shaky start and they had us even, I believe, after four or five holes today," DeLoretto said. "But, they had a little debacle on (hole) 7, a par 5 downhill, and we made birdie and got three shots back on them.
"From there, it was just hang in and play the game," DeLoretto said. "It's never over, though. They can make a double (bogey), but we can make a double, too.
"I kept telling (DeGol) slow down and stay calm," DeLoretto said. "He played really well, he's a nice player."
DeLoretto said DeGol made several good putts.
"We were steady," DeLoretto said. "Except for the first four holes, we played steady golf. It wasn't pressure free, but it was steady. When you do that, you can hold your own."
The team of Ryan Franks and Mitch Mercer shot a 66 Sunday to finish tied for second (at 207) with the duo of Jimmy Ferguson and Gregory Ferguson. Fink and Smith shared fourth place with Chris Perry and Todd Homan, both finishing at 209.