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Sinking Valley golfers win Central Counties team event

Over the June 5-6 weekend, the Sinking Valley Country Club welcomed local golfers to the links for the second of the Central Counties Golf Tournaments to be held this year. The golfers competed for both individual and team titles. This was the first time the tournaments had returned for the competition to Sinking Valley in 10 years.
A total of 156 players turned out and the local Sinking Valley Country Club emerged as the team champion. Len DelBaggio (146), Dick Stever (148), Artie Fink, Jr. (150), Jimmy Gillam (151), Greg Ferguson (152), Don Filby (152), Ben DelBaggio Jr. (154) and Jeff Chestney (154) combined for a team total of 1198 to take the championship by 61 strokes over the next closest opponent- Summit Golfing Club of Cresson. All eight of the winning Sinking Valley Country Club golfers finished in the top 15 overall, and Len DelBaggio was just one stroke back in the individual competition, an indication of how well the local participants fared.
“We expect to win because we have the best players in the area, and with the tournament at Sinking Valley, we had a bit of advantage knowing the home course well and with the weather have been able to get out a good bit so far this spring,” boasted Len DelBaggio, who led the local team in scoring missing the individual championship by just one stroke.
“The course was in excellent shape,” exclaimed DelBaggio, who said his game must include everything, playing well on the greens, off the tee and in the fairway. “It has to be a whole all-around game. The course was the best it has been in years. The greens were perfect-smooth. The great conditions probably helped most in putting.”
After a dreary rain-threatened Saturday, in which the rains never came, the golfers were treated to a beautiful day for golf on Sunday. The golf course however, was in great shape both days. DelBaggio noted that “because the course was a little drier on Sunday, the ball would roll further.”
“We picked a good year to host it, because the course was absolutely perfect,” tournament director and head professional at Sinking Valley. “Our green superintendent, Neil Gartland did a tremendous job. Everybody was raving about the place, saying its the best they have ever seen it (and that) it’s is one of the best courses they’ve ever played, period.”
Tracy Smith of the Down River Golfing Club, Everett, whose previous best was a fifth-place finish, won the individual championship with a card of 71 in Saturday’s first round and 74 on Sunday for a 145 total with Sinking Valley’s Len DelBaggio hot on his heels with 72-74 for a two-round total of 146 to finish just one stroke back in the individual race.
“He was one behind me going into 17,” explained DelBaggio. “He birdied 17 and 18 so you have to commend Tracy for his good play on the last two holes. He hit his approach to within two feet on the last hole, so it was inevitable that he was going to win, unless I made my 25-foot put. I hit mine right up to the hole and he tapped his in and that was it.”
In what was regarded as extremely tough competition, eight golfers finished within six strokes of Smith’s 145, including four from the host club in very tight order.
“I’m really proud of Sinking Valley for winning the tournament,” Gillam said. “ I really appreciate Central Counties and the turnout they had-156 players, that was great.”
There will be three more Central Counties tournaments this year. The Junior Championships will be held at the State College Elks on August 2, the Senior Championships will be held in Lewistown on Sept. 19 and a Pro-Am will run in Huntingdon on Sept. 25-26.