For a couple spring weekends each of the last 10 years, Tracy Chamberlin believes he’s landed one of the best golfing gigs in Wichita.
After Sunday’s final round of the Wichita Golf Association’s City Fourball tournament at Crestview Country Club, the 49-year-old Chamberlin offered high praise for his 52-year-old playing partner, Steve Newman.
“Steve is the best,” Chamberlin said. “That’s all I can say about him. He really makes the golf, for me, almost stress-free.”
That’s not to say Chamberlin shies away from any heavy lifting. He and Newman were equally effective in a 6-under-par 66 that gave them a six-shot victory over Johnny and Charlie Stevens in the championship flight on Crestview’s North course.
Chamberlin and Newman, the top qualifiers after opening weekend rounds at Sim and MacDonald, finished the 72-hole tournament with a 21-under-par total of 265. It was their fifth city fourball title since 2004, the most successful run by a two-man team in the tournament since Johnny Stevens and Nick Onofrio won five times from 1986-95.
Chamberlin and Newman started the final round tied with the father-son team of Stevenses. A sizzling back-nine 31 that included six birdies gave them a comfortable winning margin.
“We teamed really well this year,” said Newman, who also won the 2000 tournament with Mike Shepard. “Neither one of us is playing our best golf right now, but we teamed about as well as we ever have.”
Chamberlin and Newman made just one birdie in the best-ball format in their first 10 holes, but both pointed to a crucial stretch of pars that helped them cling to a two-shot lead at the turn.
After Newman hit into the water at the 456-yard seventh, Chamberlin registered a par. Newman returned the favor with a 12-foot par save at No. 8, then salvaged par at No. 9 by getting up and down from the back slope of a greenside bunker.
“That was as good of a par as you’ll ever see,” Chamberlin said.
Chamberlin started his team’s run of six birdies in the final eight holes with a 10-footer at No. 11. After Newman rolled in a 20-foot birdie from the back fringe at the par-3 12th, Johnny Stevens told the duo, “You guys are unbelievable.”
The Stevenses erased half of their four-shot deficit when Charlie birdied the par-4 13th after Chamberlin and Newman each bogeyed the hole. Chamberlin matched another Charlie Stevens birdie at the par-5 14th.
The threat to the Chamberlin-Newman lead ended on the next two holes. After Charlie Stevens’ 6-foot par putt slid by the edge of the hole at No. 15, Newman dropped in a 5-foot birdie that restored the four-shot advantage. At the par-4 16th, Chamberlin drained a 20-foot birdie as Newman exclaimed, “Yes, sir!”
“When Tracy made that putt at (No.) 14, it really just nipped our momentum in the bud right there,” Charlie Stevens said. “And when he rolled in the one at (No.) 16, it was all but over.”
The Stevenses, winners of the 2009 tournament, finished with a 72 for a 271 total. That was four shots ahead of third-place finishers Austin George and Ryan Bina, who closed with a 69.
Newman punctuated his team’s latest title by sinking a 4-foot birdie at No. 18.
“It was really good golf on the back side,” Chamberlin said. “Other than the hole we bogeyed, we were in good shape on all the holes.”
At Crestview Country Club (North)
Chamberlin-Newman 66-65-68-66—265; Jo. Stevens-C. Stevens 67-65-67-72—271; George-Bina 69-71-66-69—275; May-Sanchez 65-69-73-70—277; Bannon-Peterson 64-70-76-71—281; O’Keeffee-Quinley 65-71-78-67—281; Copp-Jolliffe 70-70-73-69—282; G. O’Hair-C. O’Hair 69-69-75-70--283; Fox-Hamilton 69-64-74-78—285; Caro-Ruffin 72-68-72-73—285; J. Alefs-S. Alefs 69-71-68-77—285; Dennis-Johanson 69-68-72-78—287; Je. Heenan-Jo. Heenan 71-69-80-72—292; Bonta-Stepien 72-68-79-75—294.