Alex Johnson stood off the left side of the 18th green early Saturday evening, putter in hand, knowing that he and his partner, Mike Schifano, needed something special to happen on the last hole of regulation at the 51st Italian-American Charity Golf Tournament at Holiday Valley Resort.
“Knock it close and hope for the best, really,” Johnson said were his thoughts.
Well, guess what?
His thoughts and prayers were answered in as dramatic a way as possible.
“It broke both ways, it was the right pace and it just went in,” he said.
The response from the folks watching from next to the green was instantaneous.
“That’s AJ, baby,” someone yelled. “Good putt, dude.”
“Good” would be a massive understatement.
Spectacular was more like it, a stroke of the putter that ultimately lifted Johnson and Schifano to the tournament championship. Hoisting the large trophy that comes with the title, however, would have to wait, though, because there was still more work to do in the form of a playoff.
Joe Vitello and Colin Whitermore, who led after two rounds, weren’t going anywhere.
In fact, it was their birdie-4-net-3 on the 17th hole and Johnson and Schifano’s net bogey 6 that gave Vitello and Whitermore a two-stroke lead heading into the final hole only to be spoiled by Johnson’s amazing putt.
“That was something silly,” he said. “It was 90 percent luck and 10 percent skill.”
Whitermore responded by making a clutch three-foot putt immediately after for a 5, net 4, allowing he and Vitello, to join Johnson and Schifano back on the 18th tee box to try and settle it yet again in a playoff.
By that time, a heavy rain began falling, but Johnson remained calm, cool and collected as he played the finishing hole for the fourth time in three days. His second shot on the par 4 landed in the greenside bunker, but he blasted out and needed two putts for a natural 5, net 4. Vitello and Whitermore weren’t able to match it, allowing Schifano and Johnson, whose 60 on the first day led the field, to walk off the green with their first I-A net best-ball victory in five tries.
“Breaking 200 is great,” said Schifano, who combined with Johnson on a 60-64-66-190 total compared to a 63-60-67-190 for Vitello and Whitermore.
Fittingly, to cap an impressive day of golf, the sun reappeared after 8 p.m. and a rainbow could be seen in the sky above the resort.
“It’s incredible,” Schifano said.
Just like his buddy’s putt on the 54th hole.
NOTES: Following are the flight winners: Ryan Calalesina-Corey Schmitt, 61-68-62-191, First Flight; David Munella-Dave Currie, 66-63-67-196, Second Flight; Mike Prinzi-Cody Anderson, 67-65-63-195, Third Flight; Jordan Bardo-Jordan Woleen, 69-64-61-194, Fourth Flight; Dennis Palermo-Bernie Auer, 69-63-64-196, Fifth Flight; Peter Morgante-Jon Gren Jr. 70-70-65-205, Seventh Flight; and Bucky Lombardo-Rich Shelley, 73-68-67-208, Seventh Flight.
Mike Schifano-Alex Johnson 60-64-66-190
Joe Vitello-Colin Whitermore 63-60-67-190
Ryan Calalesina-Corey Schmitt 61-68-62-191
Chris Pappalardo-Dan Brunenavs 64-65-63-192
George Panebianco-John O’Mara 63-66-65-194
Casey Digirolamo-Dusty Carlson 63-66-67-196
John Trussalo-Tim Magnuson 64-67-68-199
John I. LaMancuso-Adam McKinley 64-72-66-202
Jon Scalise-Kurt Eimiller 64-72-69-205
Sam Peppy-Charlie Moss 63-66-79-208
Brett Cappa-Derek Dawson 65-72-73-210
David Munella-Dave Currie 66-63-67-196
Pete Pillittieri-Andy Sandstrom 66-65-66-197
Blake Tarana-Quint Lawson 66-71-61-198
Paul Mole-Kurt Johnson 67-70-67-204
Paul Pappalardo-Sean Larson 66-69-70-205
Busty Triscari-Steve Johnson 65-70-71-206
John Sirianno-Ryan Calkins 66-70-72-208
Drew Rinaldo-Levi Madden 67-72-70-209
Colin Lodestro-John Geisler 66-71-73-210
Mike Prinzi-Cody Anderson 67-65-63-195
Rob Foti-Craig Lundgren 67-61-67-195
Adam Mason-Patrick MacIntyre 67-69-62-198
John Foti-Dan Cotter 67-66-66-199
Tommy Tantillo-Nick Bell 67-67-67-201
Henry Mole-Tom Ames 67-66-69-202
Angelo Volpe-Jim Brown 67-70-67-204
Mike Condella-Dave Anderson 67-70-68-205
Andrew Buttafaro-Andrew Parolini 67-71-68-206
Tony Triscari-Randy Nelson 67-66-74-207
Nick Munella-Jake Dwaileebe 67-72-69-208
Jasyn Consiglio-Josh Dankovich 67-71-71-209
Jordan Bardo-Jordan Woleen 69-64-61-194
Jordan Coccagnia-Kyle Rensel 69-63-67-199
David Foti-Nick Madden 69-68-65-202
Anthony Peppy-Reid VanEvery 68-69-65-202
Paul Mole Jr.-David Lobb 68-67-71-206
Sam Triscari-Dave Rowe 67-71-68-206
Chris D’Angelo-Steve Anderson 69-72-66-207
Nick Yachetta-Bruce Johnson 67-65-77-209
Joe Fangionne-Tyler Nelson 68-74-70-212
Sandy Volpe-Jamie Barton 68-79-66-213
Nick Amatuzzo-Jake Berg 68-76-76-220
Jordan Ricotta-Ben Lindquist 68-75-80-223
Dennis Palermo-Bernie Auer 69-63-64-196
Fred Pellerito-Dan Chendy 66-69-62-197
Tim D’Angelo-Jason Stronz 70-66-66-202
Jim Todaro-Tom Yocum 69-64-70-203
John L. LaMancuso-Mike Roberts 69-67-67-203
Sam LaMancuso-Evan Grey 69-68-66-203
Carl Pillittieri-Dave Bogdan 69-69-68-206
Todd D’Angelo-Joe Willig 69-70-70-209
Joe Calimeri-Chris Hammond 70-71-71-212
Dave Rizzo-Tim Mead 69-71-73-213
Bob Marchiando-Barry Minsker 69-78-77-224
Brooks Landy-Ryan Thompson 69-86-74-229
Peter Morgante-Jon Gren Jr. 70-70-65-205
Sam Restivo-Max Eimiller 71-68-67-206
Todd Frangione-Mark Tarbrake 70-69-67-206
Sebby Baggiano-Gary Yager 71-68-70-209
Ray Paladino-Dan Wells 71-74-67-212
Steve Cusimano-Jim Pullan 71-71-71-213
Joey Paterniti-Matt Bittner 71-71-71-213
Josh Ricotta-Kyle Luce 71-73-69-213
William Malenga-Salim Sarvaiya 71-73-71-215
Joe Paterniti-Paul Weinstein 71-71-78-220
Anthony Vitello-John Deppas 70-71-80-221
Anthony Tuccio-Dan Hocking 71-71-81-223
Bucky Lombardo-Rich Nelson 73-68-67-208
John Panebianco-Nelson Johnson 77-67-69-213
Chris Cusimano-Josh Nelson 72-72-69-214
Jim Panebianco-Tom Sedorchuk 72-68-75-215
Lucian DiNapoli-Brett Mucheck 73-73-69-215
Phil Ribaudo-Keith Martin 73-76-67-216
Joe Sinatra-Dan Hallberg 72-74-72-218
Jim LaMancuso-Chad Waddington 77-73-75-225
Joe Cordosi-Brent Sutter 73-80-75-228
Nick Trussalo-Kyle Hocking 74-77-77-228
Mike Panebianco-Dylan Kuropatwinski 78-77-79-234
Mike Yezzi-Matt Robbins 88-80-79-247
Article by Scott Kindberg