EXETER - As a member of Fox Hill Country Club, John Mikiewicz is reminded of some big memories on the course each time he walks into the clubhouse.
“Every time I walk in, I look at the boards,” Mikiewicz said. “The club championship board. Match play board. And of course, every board at the John Allan.”
Now, his name is also part of Fox Hill’s illustrious history.
Neither soft grounds nor rain delays disrupted the brilliant consistency of Mikiewicz and his teammate Tom Biscotti, who cruised to the Allan Memorial championship with an 11-under 167 by remaining calm through Sunday’s stormy tournament finale.
“We just played steady,” Biscotti said. “We hung in there and I had a great partner. He was on all day.”
Actually, the duo has been clicking for awhile.
The tandem also took the Wyoming Valley Classic at the end of last summer, claiming two of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s top amateur golf tournaments in less than a year.
“This is huge,” said Biscotti, 35, from Mountain Top.
Indeed, Biscotti and Mikiewicz were forced to fend off some big names - starting with last year’s Allan championship team of Rich Laneski and Brandon Matthews. That duo finished 10th this year with a 175.
“We had a great time, Rick is a great guy,” said Matthews, a former high school state champion at Pittston Area who’s now starring for Temple’s golf team and barely missed making the U.S. Open at Merion. “We just didn’t have it this year. I’m at home here. This is my home. No one treats me any differently, everyone treats me the same.”
After a rough start to the weekend, Laneski hit a couple key shots during Sunday’s regular round to help his team advance to the top 12 which golfed nine extra holes Sunday.
“Brandon and I had fun,” Laneski said. “To come back and make the final 12 as defending champions, it was a great weekend.”
A couple other teams made great tries at the top.
Brenden Carroll and Patrick Ross finished in second place, two strokes off the lead at 169. Defending Fox Hill club champion Ed Hennigan and six-time Irem Temple Country Club champ Jim Hoover teamed up to shoot 170 and place third. And PGA hopeful Matt Teesdale and his partner Dr. Paul Keating had their moments, including a field-low of 65 during Friday’s qualifying round, while finishing tied for fifth at 173.
“This is the best field in amateur golf in the area,” said Mikiewicz, 34, from Old Forge, “with potential pros. Matt Teesdale and Brandon Matthews, they’re going to be on the Tour in two years. Ed Hennigan and Jim Hoover, they’re credentials speak for themselves.”
Tough competition wasn’t all Mikiewicz and Biscotti had to overcome.
Sunday’s competition was stopped three times because of lightning flashes, and edured a rain delay that lasted nearly 90 minutes in the middle of the action.
“Every tournament that Tom and I have been in that we won, there’s been a rain delay,” Mikiewicz said. “Maybe that was a sign, getting us ready for a big stage. We sat, we walked around, we talked to people. We practiced when we could before the final nine (holes).”
In the end, though, consistency was the key for Biscotti and Mikiewicz.
The tandem held a two-stroke lead after Saturday’s opening round, and increased it to four strokes heading into the nine-hole finish.
Why would the ending be any different, even with a little rain in their way?
“Exactly,” Mikiewicz said. “Why would it be? We never sweated a single bogey.”
Along with keeping bogeys out of their way through 27 holes Sunday, Mikiewicz said the team had a chance to hit 26 birdies - although they converted just four.
“We hit green after green, birdie putt after birdie putt,” Mikiewicz said. “We didn’t make many, but we just hit great shots and put ourselves in a very comfortable place - especially with how the weather was. This was the most comfortable I’ve ever been on a golf course playing in a big tournament. When you let your partner feel at ease, good things always happen.”