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Veteran partners prevail in Tommy Keane Invitational

  • Golfers participate in the 47th annual Tommy Keane Invitational qualifying round at Lakeland Golf Course in Quechee, Vt., on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Valley News / Report For America — Alex Driehaus

Special to The Valley News
Published: 9/26/2022 9:01:55 PM
Modified: 9/26/2022 9:01:58 PM

QUECHEE — The die was cast Friday in Tommy Keane Invitational qualifying when Craig Steckowych and Brett Wilson shot a tournament record 61 to earn the top seed in the annual event at The Quechee Club.

It wasn’t easy the next two days, but after advancing to the final with three consecutive 2&1 match victories the veteran team from the New Hampshire Seacoast captured the 47th TKI with a 3&2 win over the team of Lebanon High School products Vince Kimball and Zach Pollard

For Steckowych it was his first title with Wilson, and fourth overall. He teamed with Brian Doyle to win at Hanover Country Club in 1997, ’98 and ’99.

“I had a hiatus from the golf tournament for about 15-to-18 years or so, and after Brett and I talked coming back we made the final the last two years,” said Steckowych. “I guess three was the charm.”

While Steckowych is no stranger to the championship, winning for the first time was special for his partner.

“This means a lot to me,” Wilson said. “If you look at the board of previous winners, all the people that I grew up wanting to emulate when I became an adult are on it. And a lot of them aren’t with us anymore.

“Steck is a very good friend and to play with him, and to win it with him, means a lot.”

Steckowych and Wilson advanced to the afternoon final with a win over Pat Pelletier and Adam Pippin in their morning match while Pollard and Kimball defeated Dean Cashman and Chris Hynes, 2&1 to make to a championship final played under battleship gray skies.

In last year’s final Steckowych and Wilson fell behind early only to lose to a birdie by Scott Peters and Andy Hydorn on the 18th hole.

This time they won the first two holes when Pollard and Kimball made bogey, and then stretched the difference to four after seven holes.

“It definitely would have been a entirely different match if we could have just gone through the first two holes a little smoother, but that’s the way it goes,” said Pollard. “What can you say about those guys? I mean, we knew what we were up against for for sure. Their track record is pretty impressive.

“We knew we had to bring our ‘A’ game and didn’t quite have it today.”

Kimball and Pollard, who claimed the 2013 Keane with then partner Tyler Silver, kept battling back and got to two down with a birdie on 10. But having to concede 14 after two errant shots dropped them three down, and fighting to stay in the match.

“It’s tough to go down two in two holes, but those are two of the best players in New Hampshire,” said Kimball. “We tried to come back but they are such good players.

“We didn’t win but it was great being in the championship for the first time. I love the adrenaline around it.”

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