The most successful tandem in the history of the Wichita Golf Association’s City Fourball championship spent most of Sunday’s final round at Rolling Hills Country Club wondering if a sixth title was really possible.
Tracy Chamberlin and Steve Newman capped the two-weekend tournament with a sizzling 10-under-par 62, then waited more than an hour to see if it was good enough to track down six teams who started the day ahead of them. As the evidence became more favorable, Chamberlin turned to Newman and offered his perspective.
“I’d have to say if this holds up, it’ll definitely be the best one,” Chamberlin said.
It held up. Chamberlin and Newman finished the WGA’s 72-hole, season-opening event with an 18-under total of 268 – two shots ahead of the teams of Tyler Chapman and Neil Holland, and brothers Matt and Max Lazzo.
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“It was a lot of fun,” said the 54-year-old Newman, whose victory with Chamberlin moved them ahead of five-time city fourball winners Nick Onofrio and Johnny Stevens. “We teamed really well today. I played really good on the front and he played really good on the back.”
It was the kind of round Chamberlin and Newman needed to navigate a difficult path through the championship flight.
Chamberlin and Newman entered the weekend as longshots after qualifying rounds at Sim and MacDonald. A rugged putting performance led to a 73 at MacDonald and left them nine shots behind top qualifiers Charlie and Johnny Stevens.
The doubt lingered Saturday when the pair shot a third-round 67 at Terradyne, but still trailed 54-hole leaders Chapman and Holland by seven shots.
And it wasn’t totally erased Sunday when Chamberlin narrowly missed a 25-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole.
“I think we might have needed one more birdie,” Chamberlin said after turning in his scorecard.
But with a warm, steady breeze adding to the challenge, none of the teams could come close to matching Chamberlin and Newman’s 10-birdie performance. The Lazzos, who started the final round tied for third, charged to 6 under through their first 11 holes. But they bogeyed the par-5 12th, and weren’t able to birdie any of the final six holes as they posted a 5-under 67.
Chapman and Holland, who started the day with a one-shot lead at 15 under, couldn’t get going until it was too late. They birdied the final two holes for a 71, edging the Lazzos for second in a scorecard playoff.
When the last of the scores were posted, the reality of an unlikely victory sunk in for Chamberlin. It was the sixth city fourball victory for the pair since 2004 and their third in four years.
“There probably weren’t many ahead of us who were worried about ol’ Chamberlin and Newman,” said the 52-year-old Chamberlin. “I think that probably helped us. We were a little loose and we just played.”
At Rolling Hills
Tracy Chamberlin-Steve Newman 66-73-67-62—268; Tyler Chapman-Neil Holland 67-66-66-71—270; Matt Lazzo-Max Lazzo 66-71-66-67—270; Josh Russell-Noah Smithson 66-66-68-72—272; Charlie Stevens-Johnny Stevens 64-66-73-70—273; Darren Copp-Mark Jolliffe 67-69-70-68—274; Jack Courington-Austin George 67-68-70-69—274; Dal Peterson-Ted Sturgeon 67-68-70-71—276; Seth Haight-Paul Goddard 68-68-71-71—278; Mike Kerns-Whit Kilgroe 70-68-72-69—279; Jeff McCrory-Mike Shepard 69-70-70-72—281; Cale O’Hair-Gary O’Hair 68-70-73-71—282; John Alefs-Spencer Alefs 68-67-75-75—285; Mike Darrah-James Wurbs 69-70-76-72—287; Chris Campbell-Dan Zimmerman 73-66-75-74—288; Brian Chamberlin-Drew Chamberlin 71-70-75-73—289.