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Hoover-Gaylord again reign in the Potentate

D.J. Sadvary of Wilkes-Barre tees off during the final round of the Potentate golf tournament at Irem Temple Country Club on Sunday. D.J. Sadvary and his partner, D.L. Sadvary, finished in second place in the sixth flight of the tournament.

Jonathan J. Juka/For The Times Leader

DALLAS – It’s like clockwork.

Every odd-numbered year, Jim Hoover and Bill Gaylord win the Potentate.

And since the year is 2009, it was time for the duo to take top honors again, and in convincing fashion, they didn’t disappoint.

After sitting through an excruciating rain delay on Sunday and only playing 36 holes of golf all weekend – compared to the usual 90 – the team combined to shoot 5-under 67 in the final round for an overall score of 8-under 136 to win the tournament for the third time in five years. Their closest competitors were the teams of Jim Fronzoni and Bob Zagorsky, Charles Brand and Joe Weiscarger, and Kevin Fisher and Jeff Hodorowski, who all finished the tournament at 3-under.

“Our round was basically the way it always is. Me and Billy always play well together and when I’m having a bad hole, he jumps right in and plays well,” said Hoover, who will play in today’s Pennsylvania Senior Amateur along with several other local golfers at Huntsville Golf Club.

The Potentate tournament was switched from the normal match-play format to stroke play on Saturday after Friday’s first round was washed out because of rain.

The teams played 18 holes on Saturday to qualify for the championship flight and then another 18 of a possible 27 on Sunday.

Up until Hoover and Gaylord were in the clubhouse with a five-stroke lead after 18 holes Sunday, it was unknown if all 16 championship flight teams were going to head out for another nine holes.

But thanks to a late start of about 30 minutes and a rain delay of nearly 45 minutes in the middle of action, each team only played 18 holes on Sunday.

And that was fine for the winners.

“It was a long day today, but everybody went through it,” said Gaylord, who hit all six of his team’s birdies during Saturday’s round. “(Hoover) shot really good today. Shooting 67 from the back tees here is pretty good.”

Hoover, a member at Irem, was coming off the club’s senior championship two weeks ago, his fifth title. Not only that, but he has also registered six club championship wins to help his knowledge of the course and help him claim his fourth Potentate title.

“The greens on this golf course are (make or break), and when you’ve been around as long as I have you know where you have to hit the ball,” Hoover added. “And that’s the main thing on this course; you have to hit the ball where you’re going to be able to putt.”

The winners combined to score six birdies on Sunday and were at 5-under after 13 holes were completed.

Jim Blinn and Brian Corbett, who won the tournament in 2006 and were paired with Hoover and Gaylord after Saturday’s qualifying round, combined for 1-over on Sunday and finished the tournament at 2-under.

Every team except the winners appeared to struggle on the wet course as several bunkers were flooded with water, every green and fairway consisted of moist conditions limiting carts to cart path lanes only and just four teams finished the championship flight with a score under par during Sunday’s round. The three teams that finished tied at 141 were also under par on Sunday with Fisher-Hodorowski firing 69, Fronzoni-Zagurski shooting 70 and Brand-Weiscarger carding 71.

“It’s always tough to hit shots off the fairway, but when it’s wet it’s a tough thing to do,” Gaylord said. “But everybody had to go through it.”

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