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Greenwell rallies to win Old Cap

Largest field ever with 154 players
Greenwell rallies to win Old Cap
Greenwell rallies to win Old Cap
Aaron Greenwell, of Brandenburg, watches his final putt of the day go in the hole for a birdie to seal the Old Capital Invitational Golf Tournament championship Saturday afternoon. A record 154 players competed in the tournament. Photo by Wade Bell
Wade Bell, Contributing Writer

This year’s Old Capital Invitational Golf Tournament in Corydon was an emotional one Friday and Saturday with the tournament dedicated to the memory of Larry Bennett, who passed away in April following a battle with liver disease. A record-breaking 154 golfers played in honor of the community leader.

“I was really thinking hard about Larry Bennett,” said Jack Miles, who won his 12th championship, this time in the Senior Division, on Saturday. “I wanted to win for him. He was a great friend of mine and a great individual, and we miss him a lot. It was really nice to win with him in mind.”

“This is awesome in the memory of Larry Bennett,” said Corydon Central boys’ basketball coach Joseph Hinton, who played in the championship flight. “It was absolutely amazing, and we’re going to miss him a lot. It’s the biggest field we’ve ever had. We maxed out to our capacity, and it was absolutely amazing for Corydon. It’s good for the golf course and it’s good for the publicity, and I’m happy to be part of it.”

It was also an amazing weekend of golf under a warm, sunny sky with a come-from-behind win for Brandenburg’s Aaron Greenwell, who claimed his fourth championship. Greenwell was in a three-way tie for third after the first day with a 69 for the 18 holes then blistered the field on Saturday with a 66.

“Obviously, I was very, very pleased with the way I played today,” Greenwell said after his win. “It probably could have been one of my best rounds of all time if I would have just kept my foot on the gas, but I was very tentative down the stretch. But, it was a very good day, great company, a great golf course. I always enjoy coming out here.”

Defending champion Kevin Waldie put himself on top of the leaderboard on Friday with a low round of 67. Behind him was Thomas Scott of Great Britain with a 68, then Greenwell, Kevin Nash and Kent Ryan all tied with 69s for third.

The highlight of the first day was Hinton’s shot on the par-three 16th hole where he scored his first hole-in-one, leading to a round of 70 for a three-way tie for fourth.

“I was one under going into the hole, and I told myself I just wanted to get on the green because I hadn’t had a par yet (on the back side),” Hinton said. “I had a 9 iron, and it was 150 (yards) into the wind.

“When I hit the ball, I thought it was pretty good and I said, ‘Get in!’ It was kind of surreal. It hit right in front of the hole, bounced up and spun right back into the hole. Everyone started cheering and going off. Everybody was going crazy. It was unreal. I couldn’t believe it and was in shock. After it went in, everyone was excited. I went up and picked the ball up and I still couldn’t believe it. It took about another hour or two before I really understood that I just got a hole-in-one.”

The second day for Hinton didn’t go quite as well, however, with the coach shooting a 78 to drop to 14th place for the event. Hinton’s final tee shot on the 18th hole showed what kind of day it was with the ball coming to rest about 20 yards from the hole but also directly behind a large pine tree.

“I put myself in a bad spot,” Hinton said. “I punched it up and thought I was in a decent spot. I chipped it on and two-putted, so I got a double-bogie. I wasn’t happy with the finish but at the end of the day I still shot OK. I got to play golf, and it was a great tournament.”

After a solid first day
Corydon’s Nash also saw his second day get stuck in the mud. After his 69 on Friday, Nash saw his tournament hopes come to a grinding halt with a 78 for the day to finish in 13th place.

“Today was not like yesterday,” Nash said following his round. “Yesterday was good. I shot 3-under and got myself in the hunt. Today, I got a bad start and never really got going. With the tempo, my swing wasn’t good. I’m a field player, and my tempo has got to be good for me to strike it good. It was just a little off. It was an off-day. Golf is that way. You can play good one day and not so good the next day. The course was perfect. The weather was perfect. It was an enjoyable day even though I didn’t play very well.”

For Greenwell, however, everything fell into place on day two, and it all started with his opening holes on Saturday.

“The front nine was about the most ideal start you could have,” said Greenwell. “I was a couple of shots back, so birdying three out of the first four holes is a great way to get going, obviously. I shot 69 (Friday) and got off to a really nice start and actually missed a couple of putts, but 31 on the front (nine) put me out in front.”

Those three birdies on the front nine put Greenwell at 8-under par and into the lead over Waldie. The first three holes of the back nine also went well with Greenwell going to 11-under par to extend his lead.

“I had a really good start on my back nine,” he said. “I went par, birdie, eagle so I was three-under on the back on the first three holes and started to pull away a little bit.”

Sometimes, however, having a big lead can set your mind on cruise control and you get off the gas instead of playing the type of game you had been. That’s what happened to Greenwell on the next five holes with three of those going for bogies.

“I kind of guarded against big numbers the rest of the way down the stretch,” said the Brandenburg golfer. “Some of the other guys we were with began faltering a little bit. It’s hard to play with a big lead.”

“I went to 11-under at that moment (after the eagle) and I started thinking, ‘How do you not mess this up?’ ” said Greenwell. “That’s a bad way to think. You’ve just got to go out and play golf and from there it was a mistake to stop playing. I started playing differently than what I did the first 12 holes that got me to 8-under … That little area between your ears, that brain, it’s the biggest opponent you have on the golf course. I kind of talked myself into a couple of silly bogies.”

Greenwell got himself back on track on the final hole, finishing with a long putt for birdie.

“This is the fourth (championship) I’ve had, and this is probably the best I’ve finished up,” he said. “Great players. Kevin Waldie was in our group this afternoon, and he’s a fantastic player. He’s as solid as can be. Obviously, when these Wiseman boys (Joey and Tommy) are playing, you always have to be concerned about them. Thomas Scott is a great player. Kevin Nash is a great friend and a good player. The leader board is chock full of fantastic players. I look up and down that list right now and there’s all kind of guys that have either won this thing or finished in the top five year-in and year-out. So, it was a good win.”

For Senior Division champion Miles, it took a play-off hole to determine his 12th championship title after finishing the 18 holes in a tie with Jerry Garris.

“I started off pretty good,” said Miles. “I was one-over for a while and made the turn at one-under, then the wheels kind of came off on the back nine. I really didn’t know where I stood compared to other people until I got in and found out I was tied and we had a playoff. I was fortunate enough to win that on the first hole.”

“I had a 71 yesterday and a 75 today,” he said. “Conditions were pretty much the same. I don’t think the pins were really any tougher. It’s just one of those days where I wasn’t as good today as I was yesterday. I can’t blame anything but myself.”

Championship Flight

1. Aaron Greenwell 135 (69-66)

2. Tommy Wiseman 141 (72-69)

3. Zach Warren 141 (71-70)

4. Joey Wiseman 142 (72-70)

5. Kevin Waldie 142 (67-75)

6. Matt Reynolds 144 (72-72)

7. Caleb Powers 145 (70-75)

8. Darrell Vanover 146 (70-76)

9. Kent Ryu 146 (69-77)

10. Thomas Scott 146 (68-78)

Senior Division Winner – Jack Miles 146 (71-75)