GOLF: Berkheimer is York County Champion of Champions
THOMASVILLE — It’s been a pretty good 2016 so far for Brett Berkheimer on the golf course.
Winner of the Honey Run club title this summer, as well as a second-consecutive two-man victory with teammate John Lowder Jr. in June, Berkheimer has a lot to the be thankful for.
Sunday, Berkheimer added one more notable achievement to his list — the 2016 York County Amateur Golf Association Champion of Champions title.
Playing at Briarwood West Golf Course, Berkheimer climbed out of an early deficit in the YCAGA’s final individual event of the season. Berkheimer hit a ball out of the bounds on No. 2 and in the water on No. 3, but cleaned up over the final 15 holes. He carded eight birdies to go with eight pars en route to a 6-under 64, which was one shot better than runner-up Trevor Sweitzer (5-under 65).
“It was pretty good,” Berkheimer said succinctly.
Even bad things seemed to go his way. The out of bounds on No. 2 came with a two-stroke penalty, but the powerful right-hander managed to save bogey. The same was the case on No. 3, which set him to 1 over at that point.
Another rough spot on No. 4, when he still saved par, appeared to be the point that got his momentum going. Hitting his drive under a tree, Berkheimer managed to move just four feet forward after hitting a tree branch. But a good up-and-down saved a par.
From that point on, Berkheimer rolled, even though he said he felt good from the start.
“I thought it was going to be a really good day from No. 1,” he said. “I hit a real good drive to within 15 feet and just missed an eagle putt. So I had a tap-in birdie on that one. So I was like, ‘if I keep hitting it straight today, I think I’ll be OK.'”
He was right, especially on the West Course, which is much shorter than the sister East Course.
“At this course, it’s so short,” he said. “So you’re always going to have birdie opportunities. If you can hit good second shots you’re going to get a lot of opportunities, so I didn’t get too upset.”
Word got around on the front nine to Berkheimer’s foursome, which included Hall of Fame-caliber players such as Bill Brenner, Scott Knouse and Bruce Smith, that the leader at that point was scoring real low. That leader was Sweitzer, who was 4 under at the turn before eventually getting to 6 under after 13.
At the time, Berkheimer was 1-under, but the news that he was only a few strokes behind seemed to have a calming effect on him.
“I told Bruce that we needed to get at least 4 under on the back,” Berkheimer said. “And, lucky enough, I got five (birdies on the back nine).”
Berkheimer’s victory could have been prolonged had it not been for a bogey that Sweitzer carded on No. 18. Up to that point, he was 6-under par.
Berkheimer can now include his Champion of Champions title to an Interclub crown he won a few years ago. Despite those wins, as well back-to-back wins with Lowder Jr. at the June Invitational, Berkheimer has his eyes set on one particular prize.
“I’d like to win the (York County) Amateur,” he said.
Matt Henry, who claimed this year’s York County Amateur, finished third at 3 under, while Denny Lankford, Lowder, Kory Trout and Steve Goodley tied for fourth at 2 under.
Northeastern High School golf coach Wayne Jacobs claimed the Super Senior title Sunday. The 67-year-old Jacobs, who said he hadn’t completed a full round of golf since June, shot a 1-under 69 to best Dale Bievenour by one stroke.
Ace recorded at Out Door: Bob Newcomer had a hole-in-one on Sunday at Out Door Country Club.
Newcomer used a 6-iron to ace the 151-yard 17th hole. It was witnessed by Lynn Newcomer.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.