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Viskovich tops Tufo for Six-Man title

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POTSDAM — Watertown’s Joe Tufo concluded the 77th annual Northern New York Six-Man Golf Championship partially content.

Tufo’s Watertown team dominated the event, finishing 32 strokes ahead of second-place St. Lawrence University at the Potsdam Town and Country Club for Watertown’s first team title since 2009.

“It was a great team effort,” Tufo said. “To get all our guys low (scores) like that was really good. We were all having fun.”

But Tufo wanted to also add the individual honor to being part of the winning team and he fell just short, losing on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff to Massena’s Anthony Viskovich.

Both golfers were tied for the lead at 75 heading into Saturday’s second round and both shot 75’s again on Saturday.

Each bogeyed the first hole of the playoff and then Tufo ran into trouble on the second playoff hole, a 377-yard par four.

Viskovich’s tee shot went straight down the fairway while Tufo’s veered off to the left, hit a tree and wound up deep inside a patch of trees and bushes.

Tufo could not even be seen from the fairway as he took his second shot, which came out of the shrubbery, but hit a rock and rolled back several yards.

“I tried to make sure (the tee shot) hooked and I tried to hit it too hard and it got away from me,” Tufo said. “I kind of lost it on my own. It hurts.”

Tufo’s trouble meant all Viskovich had to do to win an individual title, something his father Gil did twice, was two-putt from about 15 feet, which he did.

Viskovich had to wait about 15 minutes before his second shot while people searched for Tufo’s ball and then for Tufo to walk about 10 yards deep into the trees and bushes to attempt the shot.

“I was lucky enough to go first and I think that helped a lot,” Viskovich said. “I hit the best 3-wood I’ve hit all week on that (second) hole. It was a matter of fighting the nerves and trying to add up in my head what was going on. When you get under the gun like that, it’s pretty difficult.”

Tufo birdied the first hole Saturday to take a quick one-shot lead over Viskovich and he birdied five and Viskovich bogeyed seven to extend the lead to three strokes.

But Tufo ran into trouble on the eighth hole, hitting into a hazard and settling for a double-bogey six. Viskovich, meanwhile, knocked in about a 70-foot putt on the eighth hole for a birdie and the score was tied.

Viskovich took a two-stroke lead on the 10th hole when he birdied and Tufo bogeyed. But Tufo got a stroke back when Viskovich bogeyed the 12th hole and forced the playoff when Viskovich bogeyed 18.

“It was fun to watch,” said St. Lawrence University’s Joe Keniston, who was in the threesome. “I had some struggles early so I was out of it pretty much going into the back nine. I tried to stay out of their way the best I could. I had the honors for the last four holes which helped set the tone for them. I tried to keep it in play and in the middle to give them some visual shots to chase after. (Tufo) made an unbelievable putt on 17 to stay in it.”

Viskovich, a former two-time junior champion in the event, got some advice from his father before Saturday’s round.

“I was just making pars and tried to be patient,” Viskovich said. “That was one thing my dad told me to do today. I kind of circled this on my calendar. My dad won this a couple of times, and he won it here in 1987. He’s going to be very excited. I can’t wait to go home and give him a hug.”

n NOTES: Potsdam’s Bill Ford finished with a two-day total of 155 strokes and won the super senior division for a third straight year. Watertown’s Ralph Larson shot 156 to win the senior division and Malone’s Devin Delisle won the junior division at 153. Next year’s tournament will take place at the St. Lawrence University Golf Course.


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