Jay Kostenbauder didn't think his birdie-birdie stretch on No. 16 and No. 17 is what won him the individual title in Sunday's York County Amateur Golf Association Interclub Championship.
For him, it started on the two previous holes, when he saved valuable pars on No. 14 and No. 15 at South Hills Golf Club. He knew that those pars kept him within a stroke of the lead. But, as crucial as those par saves were, they wouldn't have meant anything without at least one birdie on the final three holes to get him into a tie for the lead. Rather than just making one birdie, however, he made two, passing Brett Berkheimer, Matt Henry, Josh O'Brien and Josh Rinehart to grab sole possession of first place en route to winning the individual event with a final score of 3-over-par 74. Berkheimer, Henry, O'Brien and Rinehart tied for second, just one shot back.
Kostenbauder also led Cool Creek to the team title at the event.
Kostenbauder rarely plays South Hills, which is near Hanover in the southwestern corner of York County. Cool Creek, meanwhile, is in eastern York County, nearly an hour's drive away. So going in, he was unfamiliar with the course. Making matters more difficult were the winds on Sunday, blowing consistently at 20 mph, with even stronger gusts. So, it was key for him to keep the ball low and make sure he pulled the right club.
"When it's windy up there, it gets tough," Kostenbauder said. "I want to say it was probably at least four to five, maybe even six, shots harder, because there are guys — one of the guys I played with, he's usually like a six or seven handicap and he might have shot 80 today, but he struggled and shot 93, so it was just one of (those) things that you had to keep the ball down and out of the wind and take extra clubs and knock them down."
Kostenbauder made the turn in 3-over 38, knowing that he was right on the line of being in contention to win the tournament with nine holes to play, but heading to a much more difficult back nine. He didn't help matters by making bogey on two of the first three holes to slip back to 5 over with just six holes remaining.
But, that's when things began to click, starting with the critical par saves on par-3 14th and par-4 15th, which already plays long and played directly into the wind, according to Kostenbauder. Then, he finally put good approach shots and putts together to make a couple birdies, first draining a five-footer on the par-3 16th and then making about a 2 1/2-footer on the par-5 17th.
"It was just a grinding thing," Kostenbauder said. "Just keeping my head in the game on every shot and tried to get it done, so I was pretty happy."
Clean sweep for Cool Creek: Cool Creek won the team championship a total of 372, good for plus-17, three strokes clear of South Hills (375) and eight better than Out Door Country Club, which finished third at 380.
Kostenbauder was the only member from Cool Creek to finish in the top eight, but his team members of Kevin Crumbling, John Lowder and Scott Knouse all broke 80, giving Cool Creek the most team members to shoot in the 70s. Crumbling and Lowder tied for ninth with 78s, while Knouse finished tied for 12th with a 79.
"That's the biggest thing for me," Kostenbauder said about his club winning the team tournament. "Cool Creek, we've always had a good group of guys down there. We've won the Interclub quite a few times before, but we didn't win it last year. ... So, yeah, there's a lot of pride in that win."
In the team format, each club has six players competing and must count the four best individual scores, plus the better ball score of all six team members, to compile its team score. Cool Creek had a better ball team score of 67.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org