Jake Katz of Williamsville completed a march toward victory with an 8-stroke win over Chris Covelli and Matt Stasiak on Saturday in Clarence. The recent SUNY-Binghamton graduate traveled the fairways and greens of Brookfield Country Club in absolute control of his game, posting three rounds below par.
After a second-round 66, Katz wasn’t threatened by the field. The lowest number posted by the other entrants was a Friday 69 by Matt Stasiak. While others may have been capable of the needed, mid-60s score, Katz was the only one to make the necessary number of birdies to reach it. After establishing the separation from the field, he did what all champions do thereafter: play conservatively, to force the pursuers to make their move.
To their credit, Stasiak and co-runner up Chris Covelli held their ground well. Neither scored above 74 on a challenging Brookfield course. In another year, the event might have reached a tantalizing finish, with the runners-up on 214, Michael Carrig at 217 and Mike Boss and Billy Wisniewski at 219. The 8 strokes between Katz and second place indicated the gulf in physical prowess and talent that exists.
Former champion and Brookfield member John Gaffney recovered from an opening 78 with consecutive rounds of par 72 to reach the top ten. Glen Oak representative Ryan Hawkins was the only golfer among the final 36 to lower his score each day, moving from 77 to 75 to a third-round 73, good for a T13 finish. Tim DiGuilio was lucky (or unlucky) enough to fashion three scores of 77, the only golfer in the field to record three identical numbers.
The 2012 Men’s Individual will be held at Crag Burn, while the Match Play will take place at Country Club of Buffalo. Without Katz to defend his titles, the BDGA will be a wild west of competition once again.