Steve Goodley breaks through to capture York County Amateur golf championship in playoff

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
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Steve Goodley, left, shakes hands with Zach Dixon after Goodley won the York County Amateur on Sunday in a playoff at Heritage Hills Golf Resort.

The dark clouds that hovered throughout most of the afternoon were somewhat symbolic of Steve Goodley’s fortunes in the York County Amateur over the years.

Goodley, one of the area's best amateur golfers over the past two-plus decades, has enjoyed some memorable moments in his previous Amateurs.

The lefty swinger has led the field after the first day of the event on a few occasions and has been near the top of the leaderboard more often than not.

All of that success, however, has been mitigated by the fact that Goodley never claimed the York County Amateur Golf Association's top prize.

Until Sunday.

Goodley surged into contention late before surviving a three-hole playoff against Zach Dixon to claim his first-ever Amateur title with a par putt on the final hole.

“I’ve been in a playoff before and these things have kind of been my nemesis before,” Goodley said. “I’ve had big leads and been close many times and it just wasn’t meant to be.”

Things didn’t look great for him early to begin the second day of this year's tournament at Heritage Hills Golf Resort. He was trailing first-day leader Bob Ruby by a couple of strokes, and Ruby was likely considered the favorite heading into the back nine.

Ruby, however, suffered a couple of bad breaks down the stretch to open the door for Goodley to rally back. Goodley had a chance to close out his triumph on No. 18, but missed a medium-range putt for par that left both Dixon and himself at even-par 142 after 36 holes.

“I had a rough start today,” Goodley said. “But I just grinded it out. It was a grinding day, and to be honest, at the end of the day I was just grateful to even be in a playoff.”

The playoff: Goodley took the early lead in a three-hole playoff against Dixon, who carded a bogey on the par-4 16th hole, while Goodley made par. That scenario flipped on No. 17, when Dixon evened it up with a par putt of his own, while Goodley bogeyed.

It appeared Dixon was in better shape on No. 18 when both golfers over-shot the green. Goodley knocked his shot out of the bunker to about 12 feet from the cup, which afforded Dixon the chance to chip his shot near the pin.

Dixon’s chip, however, bounced and roll down the slight hill on the green, leaving the Cool Creek golfer a longer par putt than Goodley. Dixon gave it a good try on his putt, but had to settle for a two-putt bogey.

That seemingly took all the pressure off Goodley, who wasn’t willing to just get it close – he wanted to end it right there.

“That was a pretty tough putt,” Goodley said with a big smile. “It was about a two-foot breaking putt, but I wasn’t thinking about that (a two-putt). I was just thinking only about making it.”

Sun breaks out: Goodley’s putt afforded him a chance to celebrate in front of a slew of fans and fellow competitors who watched from the outdoor dining area behind No. 18.

Shortly after that, and for really the first time all day, sunshine broke out from behind the clouds directly onto Goodley’s face.

“How about that?” he said with a grin.

Goodley had rounds of 68 and 74 on the par-71 layout, while Dixon had rounds of 73 and 69.

Ruby, who shot a 4-under 67 Saturday, finished in a four-way tie for third at 2-over par 144, along with Devin O’Connor, Logan Snyder and Bobby Stiffler. Ruby shot 77 on Sunday. Dixon and O'Connor tied for Sunday's best round at 69.

Alex Gekas and Matthew Wise tied for seventh at 145, while Ray Sheedy was ninth at 146. Defending champ Caleb Bryant, John Lowder, Kory Trout and Payne Baust tied for 10th at 147.

Lee takes women's crown: Julianne Lee, a Central York grad, won the women’s title with a 2-over par 146 on rounds of 71 and 75, which was eight strokes ahead of two-time defending champion Amy Kennedy, who had rounds of 78 and 76.

Grace Divet was third at 156.

Reed Krosse finished 36th overall, but broke the York County Amateur record for being the youngest ever to make the first-day cut. Just 14, Krosse shot a 5-over 76 Saturday, followed by 86 on Sunday.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.