Horseshoe Bay golfers take seventh place
May 20, 2013, 2:00 pm by Mark Goodson
Highlander Sports Editor
Horseshoe Bay’s tandem of Aaron Billings and Gordon Butler finished seventh among the 20 players in the Senior Division of the Texas Golf Association’s Four-Ball State Championship over the weekend at the Summit Rock Course in Horseshoe Bay.
It wasn’t the finish the scratch golfers were looking for, but high winds and some mis-placed approach shots caused the team some problems the second two days of the 54-hole tournament.
Billings and Butler shot rounds of 66, 72 and 71 for a three-day total of 209 over the par-72 layout. They finished 11 strokes back of the top team of Bob Kearney and Gary Durbin.
"We did good the first day, but the last two days we didn’t make any putts,’’ Billings said. "The course and the greens were in great shape. We had a lot of fun playing together.’’
Billings said the team concept has usually worked for the pair. When one gets in trouble in the play-your-own ball format, the other has bailed out the teammate.
The winds were gusting to 30 to 35 miles per hour on Saturday during the second round. They shot even par to make the cut.
On Sunday, the winds weren’t as strong in a morning rounds, but they were still a factor. "It exaggerates the misses when the wind was blowing like that,’’ Billings said.
Billings said it was crucial on approach shots to hit to the correct side of the greens to get the ball close. Otherwise, the golfers were forced into 15 and 20-foot putts add day, he said.
Heading into Sunday three teams sat atop the leaderboard in the Championship division and defending back-to-back champions, John Bearrie and Aaron Hickman, were not one of those teams. Looking to catapult up the leaderboard and remain in contention, Bearrie and Hickman got things started early with two quick birdies out of the gate and added two more in their opening nine to give put them four under par through their first nine holes. Their back nine was more of the same as they added an eagle and three birdies on their route to a closing round 64, giving them a tournament total of 16 under par, 200. Second round co-leaders Chris Davis and Russell Helson also started out quickly posting three birdies on the front nine but found trouble on No. 10 leading to their lone bogey of the day. On the 17th hole needing birdie to tie the clubhouse leaders, Davis drained an 80-foot putt from the front of the green sending a charge through the course. Playing with Davis and Helson in the final pairing was round two co-leaders Joe Bendetti and Josh Swanson. After opening with a three under par 33 on their opening nine, Bendetti and Swanson played steady golf carding eight straight pars before draining a birdie putt on the 72nd hole to force a three-team playoff at 200. In the playoff Bearrie and Hickman found trouble on the first hole and their bid for a three-peat ended as they made bogey while the other two teams carded pars. Heading to the par 5, second hole, both teams played aggressive going for the green in two but neither were successful. With all four players starring at birdie it became a putting contest for victory. After Helson and Davis both missed their birdie attempts the door became wide open for the team of Bendetti and Swanson to claim the title. Swanson was first to putt and his five footer just slide past the edge of the hole leaving Bendetti to stare down his four-footer for victory. After taking some time to view the putt, Bendetti stepped up and confidently rolled it in to give his team the victory and title of 2013 State Four-Ball Champions.
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