A see-saw battle turned the way of the veteran at the turn on Saturday, as Raman Luthra rode consecutive birdies on nine and ten to an eventual four-stroke victory over upstart Dan Yustin. Despite bogeying two of the first three holes on the day, Luthra found a way to hang in until the birdies started to come. And they did, in time to bring home another district men’s individual title.
In addition to the consecutive birdies round the turn, Luthra also pieced together a pair on holes five and six, to steady the lilting ship on the outward half. Yustin was unable to find the steadying rhythm that brought the course-record 65 on Thursday. A birdie would be followed by a bogey or a double, immediately giving back the strokes he had worked to gain.
Michael Carrig, the Timon-St. Jude and Canisius product from Cazenovia and Springville, finds a way to get in the mix, year after year, in the big BDGA events. On Saturday, he held together for a 74, putting him five strokes behind the victor and alone in third place.
A 4th place tie was forged between Joe Waleszczak and Chris Covelli. Waleszczak wrapped two excellent scores (69 and 71) around a round-two 78, the day the wind picked up. Covelli never seemed to find that magic sub-par round he often shoots to enter the fray, adding 72 to previous scores of 74 and 72.
Rounding out the top ten were the tie for sixth between Matt Stasiak and Kenneth Riter. Tied for 8th were recent Erie County Amateur champion Ryan Hawkins, Mike Boss and Billy Gaffney.
Raman Luthra is not the longest hitter in the world, but he is long enough. The ability to hit fairways and greens gave him the chance to utilize his superlative short game to distance himself from the field. Not getting ahead and hitting good shots might seem to be platitudes to those who cannot attain them; for a player like Luthra, those reminders drive him toward victory after victory in the Buffalo District.