Demeo Defends Turf at Wheatley Hills, Wins Richardson
Nick Demeo defended his home turf, claiming the Richardson Memorial Championship at Wheatley Hills Golf Club
EAST WILLISTON, N.Y. (May 4, 2019) -- Nick Demeo of host club Wheatley Hills won his first Long Island Golf Association title on Saturday, claiming the Richardson Memorial Championship Sponsored by Keystone Electronics Corp. in an exciting 20-hole match over Jonathan Jeter of Nassau Players Club.
In the final match, Demeo and Jeter halved the first five holes, with an early highlight coming on the second hole as Jeter made a 25-foot birdie putt after conceding Demeo's 6-inch birdie putt. On the uphill, par-five 6th hole, Demeo's drive in the fairway set him up to hit a fairway wood approach just over the green. A chip within inches gave him a 1-up lead, but he gave it back with a bogey on the 8th hole when he couldn't get up and down from the back left swale. After halves on the next three holes, Demeo took the lead, converting an uphill six-footer for birdie on the par-five 12th just after Jeter missed a birdie bid of his own from eight feet. The pair halved Nos. 13-17 with pars, Jeter grinding for his compared to Demeo.
On 18, Demeo hit his approach on the green, but some 50 feet across the green from the right hole location. Jeter's drive was right of the fairway, and though his second shot had potential interference from power lines, his 120-yard wedge found the green, 30 feet below the hole. Demeo's putt was an exceedingly slow one, coming up seven feet short, while Jeter slid his birdie try two feet long. Demeo missed his par attempt, while Jeter calmly converted his to square the match for the first time since the 11th hole.
Playing the first hole, Demeo made routine par while Jeter once again had to grind to match Demeo. After driving near the left out of bounds fence and leaving his restricted-swing second shot short of the green, Jeter pitched his third to around 10 feet, but converted the putt to extend the match. Jeter's drive on the next, the par-four 2nd and their 20th hole, went well right into a parallel fairway. He could not find the green with his second, which was difficult due to tree interference, then pitched his third well beyond the hole. Meanwhile, Demeo, hitting his 12th fairway in 16 driving attempts in the match, landed his approach just short, allowing it to feed downhill onto the green some 30 feet from the hole. His lag resulted in a conceded par, and when Jeter missed his par look, Demeo's win was in the books.
"I felt an obligation to play well and protect the house," said Demeo after the win. "I wanted Wheatley to have a good showing, so I'm glad to be that representative that qualified and ultimately held the trophy at the end."
For Demeo, his familiarity of the course certainly paid dividends, as he could think back to quality shots he's hit through the years. ""I always try to think of a positive shot, so when I'm trying to hit a good shot, I think of a shot that I've already hit. I'm a member here and play here all the time, so I have a bunch of them in the mental arsenal, so that definitely helped. I hit the ball ver well all week, made some very good up and downs, and, when the putter cooperates, you're going to see results and that's what happened."
Demeo earned his trip to the final thanks to a 2-and-1 victory over Jonathan Farber of Tam O'Shanter in the morning's first semifinal, while Jeter took a 6-and-5 win over Michael Lee of Mill River.
In the Senior Masters division championship match, Paul Fitzsimmons of Brooklawn Country Club defeated two-time reigning Richardson Senior Masters champion Jay Sessa by a 5-and-3 margin for his first LIGA championship win. The pair halved the first two holes with pars, but Sessa three-putted the long par-three 3rd to go 1-down. Fitzsimmons and Sessa both parred the next three holes, but Sessa missed the downhill par-three 7th green, and could not get up and down, moving Fitzsimmons' lead to two. Fitzsimmons extended his advantage to three with birdie on the par-four 8th. Sessa brought it back to two with a nice up and down on nine, while Fitzsimmons three-putted from the front of the green. Fitzsimmons' par on the number one handicap 11th hole restored his 3-up lead. Sessa's inability to make par on the long par-five 12th added another hole to Fitzsimmons' lead. The pair halved the next two holes with pars, but Sessa conceded Fitzsimmons' birdie putt on the par-five 15th when he was not on in regulation, cementing Fitzsimmons with the 5-and-3 victory.
Wheatley Hills Golf Club served as a superb host of the Richardson Memorial Championship, which honors late New York Times sports writer William D. Richardson, upon its move to early May on the LIGA's schedule. Despite intermittent rains through the championship and through several nights, the course played spectacularly for the field, which began with nearly 120 players competing in on-site stroke play qualifying to open play on Thursday.