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Rinker, Howerton claim member-guest title

The game of golf can alternately be frustrating and exhilarating, so it comes in handy to have a partner one can count on in tourneys featuring just such an arrangement. That proved to be the case Sunday, when long-time friends and golfing partners Phil Rinker and John Howerton claimed another Halifax Country Club Member-Guest Tournament.

The twosome, friends for more than 25 years, put together identical rounds of 65 to claim the title by one stroke over W.J. Long and Kyle Gravitt (61-70-131), and two strokes over Brad Thomasson and Jeff Kidd (67-65-132).

Thomasson and Kidd were awarded third after a match of cards with Tom Kluge and Jackie Thomasson.

Kelly Chappell and David Day carded a 68-65-133 to win the First Flight, followed by Mark Repokis and Grady Spencer (68-67-135) and James Lewis and Ed Edgar (68-68-136), Lewis and Edgar winning after a match of cards with Brad Mele and Chris Mele (68-68-136).

Robert Fallen and Brandon Harris (72-68-140) were Second Flight winners, ahead of Rodney Watts and Andy Schleifstein (72-70-142) and Scott Bosiger and Keith Jones (72-71-143), while John Hayes and Tim Johnson (76-66-142) were Third Flight winners, ahead of Bill Payne and Ronnie Pate (75-71-146) and Joe Gasperini and Linwood Holt (75-73-148).

Dennis Witt and Graham Witt won the Fourth Flight with a two-day total of 79-71-150, ahead of Jerry Burnett and Bill Mizelle (79-73-152).

Consistency and trust were keys to the win, Howerton and Rinker explained afterwards.

“He’s one of my best friends, and that just says enough about how I feel,” said Howerton.

“It’s special, our chemistry is very good, and it’s a special bond.

“We got up and down when we needed to get up and down, and we didn’t make many mistakes.

“We just played solid and didn’t make many bogies and made birdies when we needed to.”

Rinker and Howerton trailed three other teams heading into the final day of play, including Woody Clay and Chris Young, Ronnie Moore and Chris Dockrill and Long and Gravitt, who smoked the course the first day with a nine-under par 61.

Rinker said he and Howerton didn’t feel any added pressure to get back in it on Sunday.

“We were behind the eight ball, but we’ve been there before and come back,” he explained.

“We’re always in the hunt, because our chemistry is so good, said Rinker, adding he and Howerton played consistent golf once they had the lead.

“When you play with John, he doesn’t make many mistakes. When one of us wasn’t in a hole, the other one was there,” noted Rinker.

“We’re probably the oldest in the championship flight, but we just play good together.”