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Clint Schreiber and Adam Crisp walked to the tee box on hole one, slapped hands, and wished each other luck.
"Lots of birdies," Schreiber said to his playing partner.
Schreiber got his wish, and much more.
The finalists of the Jermain Memorial Match-Play Championship combined for 13 birdies yesterday morning in a tremendously competitive duel at Ottawa Park.
Schreiber trumped Crisp's six birdies with seven of his own to win 2-and-1 and capture first place in the championship flight. The 34-year-old Schreiber birdied the final five holes, including No. 17 when Crisp managed par. Match over.
"I putted my eyes out on the back nine," Schreiber said. "If you get a hot putter when you have two good players, sometimes that's all you need. Fortunately, my putter got hot at the right time."
Crisp perhaps cooled to lukewarm down the stretch, but he was far from cold, posting birdies on the final two holes following a rare bogey.
"There's not much you can do besides watch them drop in the hole green after green," said the 20-year-old college student.
In the "A" flight final, Chris Flynn topped Bill Ernst 4-and-2. Dan McCloskey outlasted Tom Kontak 3-and-2 to take the "B" title, and Adam Lublin stopped James Blanchard 3-and-2 in the "C" draw. Each division began with a 32-man bracket.
Schreiber was able to exact some revenge on this course four years removed from a runner-up finish in which he relinquished a one-hole lead late before falling in the first tiebreaker hole. Schreiber elected not to enter the tournament last year because his work schedule did not permit ample practice time. He spent the winter practicing with his coach, and then captured a co-title at White Pines in Swanton on May 3.
"But this is the biggest one," Schreiber said.
And if there was a biggest moment yesterday, it probably happened on hole 13. Trailing by one, Schreiber, who was accurate most of the day, hit a tee shot that trailed left and landed on the green - of hole one. He smiled, laughed it off, then chipped his second shot within a few feet of the intended hole and matched Crisp with a par.
"I figured as long as I forced him to make birdies I was OK," Schreiber said. "Fortunately I didn't give him any holes. The ones he won, he won because he took them."
Of similar importance was Schreiber's success on the three par 5s, which favored Crisp, the longer driver of the two. It ended in a wash, with each winning one and tying on another.
"I played alright, but I could have played a little better," said Crisp, a 2006 Bowsher graduate who began his college career at the University of Toledo before transferring to play at Owens last year. "I didn't make as many putts as he did. He putted better, so he won."
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