ELI NELLIS: Crumbling takes five-shot lead into final day of VFW tourney
Once again, Rod Crumbling Jr. is in the driver’s seat at the State VFW Golf Tournament.
The two-time defending champion, also a winner of five of the last six state championships, made two eagles and shot a 2-under-par 69 on Saturday to take a five-stroke lead in the 59th annual event at Indian Springs Golf and Country Club.
Crumbling, of York County, sits at 3-over 145 overall, with a 76 in the qualifying round on Friday. Tony Orlandi, of Jenners, Somerset County, sits in second at 150.
The third and final round is today.
“Overall, my driver was almost perfect,” Crumbling said. “I don’t think I got in trouble one time off the tee with the driver. That’s a huge difference. It’s hard not to play well when your driver’s in play like that.”
Crumbling got eagles on Nos. 6 and 8, part of a very strong day on the course’s par-5s.
“I had a couple other putts for eagles that I just missed,” he said. “The par 5s, my second shots were just spot-on. I hit the 4-iron on one hole and a couple 6-irons … just perfect shots.”
“I played the par 5s 5 over, he played them I think 5 under,” Orlandi said. “That was the difference.”
Crumbling took a commanding 10-stroke lead on Orlandi last year, but struggled on the final day. Orlandi cut the gap to as little as three strokes, on No. 15, before Crumbling rebounded to win by five.
“Last year I had a 10-shot lead going into the last round. Tony’s five shots closer this year. It could easily happen,” Crumbling said.
Orlandi, who had to make a quick exit on Saturday as his grandmother turned 100, said he’ll look to play it steady and hope for the best.
“If he plays the way he did today … I don’t know that I can go that well,” he said. “Rod played so well, I actually got out of my game and started trying to keep up with him.”
Derek Stewart and Ron Janicki are tied for third place, 10 strokes back at 155. They’re followed by Matt McGinnis (156), Ducky Bistok (158), Michael Wargo (161), Don White (163) and Gary Boose (163).
“If I just turn my game up, I shouldn’t be over par,” Crumbling said. “I wouldn’t expect to be. You can always have your bad days, and it does happen — hopefully it doesn’t — but you’ve still got to play tomorrow.”
AT MEADOW LANE: The Coney Island-Meadow Lane Match Play Tournament kicked off last Sunday. For the first time, all first-round matches were played on the same day.
The winners of the 23 matches were Ray Sexton, Carl Kologie, Steve Leach, Alan Kuckuck, Butch Nanni, Brad Malenich, Kevin Jack, Scott Winters, Tony Super, Michael Usko, Jeremy Flynn, Jim McQuown, Rick Adair, Dean Tozer, Marty Obush, Fran Super, Scott Cunningham, Garet Weston, Austin Moody, Jesse Putt, Marty Medvetz, Tim Lipniskis and Rick Moorhead.
Tony DeLoreto, Rich Riddle, Weston, Super, Nanni, Alex Blazavich and Kologie won skins in the net scoring. Moody, Weston, Adair, Kuckuck and Super won skins in the gross.
The tournament continues throughout the summer.
• The first junior clinic of the summer is this week.
AT INDIANA COUNTRY CLUB: The Nell Jack Classic is Monday. Club pro Dan Braun said 36 foursomes are registered.
• The club has had a “very healthy response” to registration for the ICC Invitational, the better-ball tournament which runs June 19 to 22. There is a limited number of remaining spots.
Eli Nellis covers local golf for The Indiana Gazette. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.