Shuttle Meadow Country Club hosted its annual club championships on Sunday, and while the club has been around for more than 100 years, this summer’s tournaments seemed to carry an added sense of appreciation given the coronavirus outbreak that endangered such events over the past few months.
“Fortunately for us, golf is a sport you can do safely, so we made sure to let people know where they should be and what they should do and keep everyone healthy,” said Tim Gavronski, the club’s golf professional. “The weather’s been good, and this was fun to watch.”
Gavronski and the rest of the crowd gathered to watch Johnny Downes win the men’s club championship over top-seeded Jacob Lindsay, who was a junior champion in 2019. Prior to the championship match, Lindsay appeared on track to roll to the title after a historic performance in the semifinals against Brendan Fagan.
“That was the best golf I’ve ever seen in any of the matches at Shuttle,” Davronski said of Lindsay’s semifinal performance. “He was 3-under par through 16 holes. That was the best I’ve ever seen in this competition.”
Lindsay saw everything go right in his semifinal round, particularly on the greens.
“The putts were all falling,” Lindsay said. “I was lucky to roll in a couple on 11 and 14. That was really key to keep it going. I was four ahead at the turn, so I was able to relax a little. I was hitting good putts and the speed was really dialed in.
“But in the afternoon, I think the putting went over to [Downes].”
Once Lindsay met Downes in the championship match, it was Downes who got into a groove to make sure he wouldn’t finish as the runner-up for the second straight year.
“I definitely got some breaks and took advantage of them,” Downes said. “I started making some putts, and once you start doing that everything seems to flow better.”
Things were flowing for Victoria Fagan in the women’s club championships, winning the title over defending champion Erin Downes in what was Fagan’s first time playing under a head-to-head format.
“It was a lot of fun,” Fagan said. “It’s definitely a lot different than stroke play.”
What wasn’t different for Fagan was the winning. Fagan was a two-time state champion with the Berlin girls golf team before going on to play at LIU Brooklyn, and now has another addition to her trophy case.
“This was a completely different experience than what I’m used to, but I really enjoyed it,” Fagan said. “With the power outage this week, it was seeming like the championship would get pushed. But I’m glad everyone was able to come out. This was a great crowd, definitely the biggest I’ve ever had for an event.”
The big crowd witnessed a classic championship match in the legends club championships, where Andy Nicholas and Paul Smith were deadlocked heading into the final hole. But Nicholas came away with the win in a tense match that never saw either player lead by more than two strokes.
“Both of us played very well,” Nicholas said. “Neither of us have a better game than what we showed each other today. But somebody has to win and somebody has to lose, so I got lucky for a change. “But my driver was good today. I hit 99 percent of the fairways and kept it straight and long, long for me at least.”
Nicholas, Fagan and Downes will all see their names on the wall outside the pro shop for the next year after a day of competition that saw down-to-the-wire finishes and historic performances.
“It’s a great course, it was great weather and great competition,” Nicholas said. “You couldn’t ask for any better.”