By Matt Spielman
ELLICOTTVILLE – When Peter Morgante three-putted No. 17 on Saturday afternoon during the final round of the 45th annual Italian-American Charity Golf Tournament, he thought he lost a chance at victory for he and his partner Jon Gren Jr.
Turns out it just delayed the celebration for about an hour.
Tied at 16-under for the tournament, the duos of Morgante and Gren, James Panebianco and Salim Sarvaiya, and Frank Baggiano and Bill Emerson replayed hole No. 18 to decide the winner just prior to sunset on the Double Black Diamond course at Holiday Valley Resort.
“Quite frankly, I felt better up there for the playoff than I did coming down for the last hole,” Gren said following the round. “We knew that we needed to make a 4 to get into a playoff. Not knowing what you need to make the second time seemed easier because we were with the three people that we had to compete against so we were pretty calm.”
In the playoff, Gren reached the fringe in two shots, chipped onto the green and made his putt for a 4 to best the other two teams, who made 5s.
“I pulled it a tiny bit or it would have been on the green,” Gren said. “I hit it nice and solid and my chip was very nice.”
Playing No. 18 for the third time Saturday to decide runner-up, Emerson hit his second shot deep onto the green, putted his third shot close to the hole and made his second putt for a 4 to claim runner-up honors for he and Baggiano.
“It’s great. You get out of town. Everybody is here having a good time. The course is a grind because it’s challenging,” Emerson said. “I hit 7-iron and pulled it a little bit. I knew that putt a little bit and I was able to knock it in.”
Baggiano usually plays the tournament with his son-in-law, but his daughter is expecting a child any day now so Baggiano had to find a new partner.
“My daughter is pregnant and due any time now so Billy was gracious enough to play with me,” Baggiano said.
Coming in third place overall, Sarvaiya and Panebianco were crowned First Flight champions.
Eighty-four teams competed in seven flights during this weekend’s tournament, which raises money for WCA Hospital.
“It was a great weekend. We had three groups playing for the overall lead, what more can you ask for?” said Pete Pillittieri, Italian-American Charity Golf Association golf chairman. “All the money raised stays local. We buy equipment for WCA Hospital through three-year pledges.
“Hopefully it helps a lot of families and a lot of people.”
The tournament was originally held at Jackson Valley Country Club before moving to Peek’n Peak from 1973-88. It has been held at Holiday Valley ever since.
Complete results were not available late Saturday night and will be printed in Monday’s edition of The Post-Journal.