Don Dimoff and Bob Ruby knew they had to start making birdies.
Through 11 holes during Sunday's York County Amateur Golf Association Spring Better Ball event at The Bridges Golf Club near Abbottstown, the pair was only 1-under par. They knew that score wasn't going to win them anything, so the urgency mounted. Unfortunately for them, once they started making birdies, so too did their playing partners and closest competitors, the pairing of Shane Henry and Brett Berkheimer.
By the time the four players got to the 17th hole, Dimoff and Ruby still found themselves down by one with just two holes to play. That's when they finally got their break. Dimoff and Ruby finished the round birdie-birdie, shooting a 5-under 31 on the back nine to capture the first tournament of the season with a winning score of 6-under 66, one stroke better than Berkheimer and Henry.
"Most of it was Don," Ruby joked when asked what clicked over the pair's final seven holes. "I helped him with a couple pars on the front nine and then he kind of went nuts there for a stretch and I birdied 18 to help him out. But, he played really, really well today."
Ruby and Dimoff birdied holes No. 12, 13, 15, 17 and 18 to complete their come-from-behind victory. Berkheimer and Henry wound up tying for second with the team of Chance Miller and Jeff Wintersteen at 5 under.
While Dimoff and Rudy weren't positive about what other scores were out there on the course, just from prior history of playing with Berkheimer and Henry, they knew that their score was probably going to be close to the winning one. So, they had the added insurance of knowing that if they could beat their playing partners, then they'd be right in the thick of things by the end.
"In these tournaments, you never really know what people out in front of you are doing," Dimoff said. "But, we figured that Brett and Shane were probably right in the hunt and we needed to at least try to catch them. But, we just kept playing and doing what we needed to do."
Dimoff assumed that either Berkheimer or Henry would birdie the par-5 18th, but when they didn't, it left the door open for them to grab the outright victory.
Dimoff and Ruby's only blemish on their scorecard came on the par-3 fourth, when they made bogey. Outside of that, they made seven birdies and 10 pars. They played the 10 par-4s in 4-under par and the four par-5s in 3-under.
For Ruby, this was a continuation of how he concluded last year's YCAGA schedule, when he found himself at or near the top of the leaderboard in the final few events, including winning the Match Play event to close out the year. As for Dimoff, this was a sweet victory for him because it's only been a couple years since he regained his amateur status after serving as club pro at Regents' Glen Country Club.
The two golfers have been good friends for years and it showed. They fed off of each other to open the 2016 schedule with a thrilling victory.
"It's always nice to get off to a good start and get a win right away," said Dimoff, who is also well known as the highly successful girls' basketball coach at Red Lion. "I'm hoping to be able to play a little bit more this year, and in some of the individual things as well, but it was fun and fun to win one with Bob and hopefully it'll be a nice kickoff to the rest of the season."
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org
For the complete list of scores, click here.