It's been a six-year drought for David Stokes at the annual Bill Christie Memorial Two-Man Best Ball Tournament, but the Sunnyside golfer emerged victorious in this year's rendition of the popular two-day event.
He and playing partner Andrew Schutt, another Sunnyside native, pulled away from two other pairs on the closing nine this past Sunday afternoon at Black Rock Creek Golf Course to capture first-place honors.
Stokes last won the tourney in 2007 with Ty Schatz as his best ball teammate. He and Schatz also came away the winners in 2005.
This past weekend, Stokes and Schutt bested the 34-team field by carding an 11-under-par 133. Two other pairs - Sean Tudor and Eric Inions, and Trini Madrigal and Jason Eberle - closed out play with identical 136's to tie for runner-up honors.
The top three finishing teams were neck-and-neck throughout the two-day event. Each of the three pairs opened with 4-under-par 68's on Saturday. And each came out scorching hot Sunday morning, posting identical 3-under-par 33's on the front nine.
Stokes and Schutt pulled away down the stretch, however, tacking on a 4-under-par 32 after the clubhouse turn. With the Tudor/Inions and Madrigal/Eberle teams closing out the back side with identical 1-under 35's, Stokes and Schutt ended up winning by a three-stroke margin.
Stokes, himself, got his team off to a fast start on the back nine Sunday, snaring a birdie on the par-4, 283-yard 10th hole.
Following a par by Schutt on No. 11, rated as the second toughest hole on the Sunnyside course, both he and Stokes picked up a par on the short, par-3 12th. Schutt then knocked down the second tweeter on the back nine for the duo, scoring a four on the straight-away, 513-yard 13th hole.
Schutt parred the next two holes, both winding along Black Rock Creek's signature pond, to keep the eventual winners at 2-under on the back nine.
The pair made a final push, though, separating themselves from the two second-place finishing teams by playing the final three holes at 2-under. Stokes started the closing rally with a bird on the par-4, 402-yard 16th hole. Schutt followed suit with a birdie of his own on No. 17, the shortest of Black Rock Creek's par-3 holes. Both Stokes and Schutt parred No. 18 to emerge as the clear winners.
For their efforts, Schutt and Stokes collected the first-place prize of a $720 Black Rock Creek pro shop credit.
The runner-up Tudor/Inions and Madrigal/Eberle teams each earned pay days of $570.
Placing fourth in the 2013 event was the team of George Pechtel and Evan Daily, seven strokes back of the winners at 4-under-par 140. Pechtel and Daily shared a prize totaling $420.
Nate Espinoza and Tye Barrett, with an even-par 144, placed fifth. Three shots back at 3-over-par 147 in sixth place was the duo of Russ Arbuckle and Laney Anderson. The seventh and final team to cash in the gross scoring column was comprised of Troy Wilmoth and Jerry Besel (151).
The net championship this year (actual score minus handicap) ended in a three-way tie. Shooting identical scores of 125 were the teams of Doug Rowell/Mike Nichols, Jim Leighty/Jarrid Leighty and Eddie Joe Risk/James Holt.
Three other teams tied for fourth in the net scoring column with 127's...Wally Flores/Stew Rogers, Candice Flores/Balbino Benitez and Paul Hart/Joe Herber.
Scoring net-128's in a tie for seventh were the teams of Bob Hicks/Greg Lenhart, Chris Hollmeyer/Doug Veach and Kirk Michaels/Andrew Michaels.