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GOLF: DeNunzio brothers cruise to title in Country Club Invitational

by ELI NELLIS eli@indianagazette.net on June 23, 2014 10:40 AM

Extra holes are often necessary to determine a champion in the Indiana Country Club Invitational. An exceptional group of players in the Championship Flight has led to some tight competition the past few years.

Matches like Sunday’s championship, though, are a lot less common.

Ronald and David DeNunzio, brothers from Greensburg, stayed on cruise control through the entire tournament and claimed their first championship by whipping the defending champions, Punxsutawney’s Justin Cameron and Sam Levy, 8 and 7, in Sunday’s title match of the better-ball match-play tournament.

The DeNunzios won the first four holes and finished their round in just 11 holes.

“We did not expect it to be that quick at all,” David DeNunzio said. “We started off, we birdied and went 1-up, and they bogeyed 2, 3 and 4. We were sitting in there for birdies on every hole and we didn’t even have to make the birdies, which was not as stressful for us. It gave us a little cushion early. We kept the heat on them, we were able to birdie 7 and 9 to take it to 6-up after 9. Sometimes it’s nice to have a match like that, kind of stress-free, but we played solid.”

“Any of these events, the fields are so strong, and it’s always nice to get a win,” Ronald DeNunzio said.

“You always have to play very well to get a win. Justin Cameron is a very good player. It’s always hard to get a win, and it was very nice to finally get the victory.”

The brothers had been feeling good, and that simply never changed during the four rounds they played in Indiana.

“Ronald really played great all week,” David DeNunzio said. “Like he said, to be in a lot of the same holes makes it easier on us. To be able to have two putts for birdie all the time, and to be able to watch a few drop and make some birdies, usually gets the job done. We were very excited to finally win in Indiana.”

“We were probably 7 under in our first match and probably 7 under again in our second match,” Ronald DeNunzio said. “Today we were 5 under, but we only played 11 holes. We probably would’ve been 7 or 8 under again today.”

Oddly enough, playing through such a tough group kept the brothers sharp enough to make it the whole way through. They won relatively comfortably over Doug Gradwell and David Smith, 4 and 3, in the quarterfinals; and Derek Hayes and David Murgas, 3 and 2, in the semifinals.

Gradwell and Smith, who beat the DeNunzios in the 2012 title match, went to 19 holes to beat David Myers and Jonathan Previte in the Championship Flight consolation match on Sunday.

“Our toughest match was probably our first match,” David DeNunzio said. “Right out of the gate we had a tough match, and we knew we did. To be able to get past that match, we just continued with our solid play and were able to get the job done.”

The brothers have been mainstays in the Championship Flight for the last several years. Their mother, Denise DeNunzio, who died in 2011, would ride in the cart and follow them as they worked their way up.

“Our mom would always come and watch us play in these invitationals,” David DeNunzio said. “We talked to her a lot out there. We were definitely playing in memory of her.”

Anthony and Tony Pellegrino won the First Flight championship, beating Frank and Rick Fairman, 3 and 1. In the Second Flight, Joe Kinter and George Pushnik beat Larry Bartosh and Geoff Kugler, 4 and 3. In the Third, Tony Sesti and Joe Altier beat Rich Bevan and Ed Moran in 19 holes. In the Fourth, Dave Hoff and Joe Lombardi beat Tom Dixson and Drew Adamo. In the Fifth, Jim Scerbo and Paul Rezk beat Mike Dinatti and Bob Faye, 2 and 1.

Dick Bedger and Dave Mateer won the Sixth Flight, finishing atop the standings with 28? points, a half-point ahead of Jerry Gillette and Scott Winters.

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