Britt conquers field, sets Old Cap record
Playing consecutive rounds of under-par golf, finishing 36 holes with just two bogeys on their way to setting a tournament record, one would think a pro invaded the Old Capital Invitational last weekend.
Instead, Sunday’s winner of the 46th edition of the Old Cap wasn’t Tiger Woods or Fuzzy Zoeller, it went to another first-time winner, an ever-improving Ryan Britt. The Louisville man, 21, said Corydon’s biggest tournament of the year was his first career tourney win of any kind.
‘I’ve never won a tournament,’ he said with all smiles after setting the invitational record with his 10-under-par performance. ‘It was neat. I enjoyed it and the weather was great. The gallery kind of followed us around on the back nine. It was really special to see everyone come out.’
It was Britt and the rest of the field over the weekend. On Saturday, at Old Capital Golf Course, the Eastern Kentucky University student carded a four-under-par 68, taking a one-shot lead into the Championship Flight on Sunday. Amongst the final group, Britt shot an outstanding 66 on the final day for a total of 134 over the weekend.
The 530-yard par-five eighth hole had doomed Britt the two previous years he played in the invitational. This time, he had a different approach.
‘On number eight, every time my first two years I’ve always made a seven or eight on that hole,’ he said. ‘So I laid up both times and made two pars. I was 200 yards out. It’s kind of hard because you want to go for it.’
His patience on eight paid off, especially on Sunday as he began to distance himself from 12-time Old Cap champion Jack Miles, who finished second with a 145.
Britt ran off a string of birdies on four of the next five holes after carding a par on his nemesis eighth hole.
‘He was fun to watch; he played so well,’ Miles said about playing along Britt. ‘He only really made a couple of small mistakes but he got away with them, but you’ve got to do that. He was in a different league than anyone else in this tournament.’
Britt appeared human on the 15th, when he hit a bad tee shot that left him with a lie behind a large tree, blocking his view of the green. The steady leader punched out, pitched near the hole and saved par.
‘This was awesome,’ Britt added. ‘The putter stayed hot. I don’t know how many putts I had. I’d like to go back and count. I know it wasn’t many.’
He was flanked by girlfriend Shannon Rosado in his cart who offered support, serving as a relaxing caddy, especially after the near error on 15.
A massive drive on 17 led the champion to his last birdie of the day, and his fourth on the back nine. His walk up the 18th was exciting, he said, hearing the applause from the gallery as he iced his 66 and invitational honors.
‘It keeps getting better each year and year after that,’ Britt said of his game. ‘Hopefully it will keep getting better and won’t stop. It’s taken a lot of hard work. Back in college everyone is just as good as me. We all push each other and everybody just feeds off each other.’
One more year remains for the senior to be at EKU. As a prep, Britt was a part of two high school state team titles while playing for St. Xavier in Louisville.
‘I’ve had some good college tournaments, but I mean it’s nice to win,’ he said of where the Old Capital Invitational ranks among his personal accomplishments. ‘There are a lot of good guys up here that I play a lot of summer golf with. They play just as well as I can.’
Miles placed second this year, and when asked how Britt’s final round stacked up with golfers he has played with over his 46 years at the Old Cap, a name quickly came to his mind.
‘I played with Fuzzy (Zoeller) back when he was playing in this tournament. It’s hard to compare because it was different courses. Fuzzy was an impressive player, too, and obviously went on to a lot of success. This guy is right up there, playing like this.’
Goals are set for Britt, who said he would love to play after he finishes his final year at EKU.
‘Long term, I’d love to play,’ the marketing major said. ‘I am passionate enough about it. I want to try to get better like I have the past two years.’
Miles finished with an impressive one-over-par 145 on the tournament, good for second place.
‘I was really happy with yesterday’s (Saturday) play,’ he said. ‘I thought I wasted a couple, but today I wasn’t real pleased with it. It really didn’t matter what I shot, finishing first or second, but I would have felt better if I shot less. But that happens.’
Other scores from the Championship Flight were third place, Chin Richards (72-76-148); fourth place, Steve Humpries (72-76-148); fifth place, Michael Primavera (74-75-149); sixth place, Brent Sternberg (72-77-149); seventh place, Jon Mathes (75-75-150); and eighth place, Mark Day (75-76-151).
Rounding out the remaining flights and scores were:
First Flight ‘ 1. Neal Davis 80-72-152, 2. Michael Dees 78-76-154, 3. Jim Johnson 76-79-155;
Second Flight ‘ 1. Rick Hodge 81-75-156, 2. Sam Morrison 82-78-160, 3. Kerry Zimmerman 83-78-161;
Third Flight ‘ 1. David Beanblossom 86-80-166, 2. Gary Bocard 87-79-166, 3. Troy Walters 87-80-167;
Fourth Flight ‘ 1. L.C. Nash 88-80-168, 2. Tim Coffman 88-81-169, 3. David Smith 89-81-170;
Fifth Flight ‘ 1. Jared Arledge 92-83-175, 2. Jeff Eger 93-84-177, 3. Carl Smith 97-88-179;
Sixth Flight ‘ 1. Don Gossman 97-88-185, 2. Dwight Breeden 99-90-189, 3. Wayne Darnall 99-90-189;
Seventh Flight ‘ 1. Jerry Bartram 105-98-203, 2. Jerry Carpenter 106-100-206, 3. Bill Coleman 108-98-206.
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