Two brilliant 6-under-par, 66s – and one golfer in the lake – highlighted the PGA Southwest Section Southern Chapter Championship on Aug. 16-17 at Sewailo Golf Club in Tucson.
Forty Niner Country Club assistant Derek Deminsky, fresh off his win in the Assistant’s Championship in July, fired his 66 on Sunday to overtake first round leader Chris Dompier, who had his career best at Sewailo with the same number on Saturday.
Deminsky’s two-day total of 9-under-par, 135, held off Skyline Country Club’s Dompier by a single shot.
A little swim
But the story of the day may have come from the lake on the fourth hole at Sewailo, where retired Safford pro and PGA member Burton Wadkins had a little bit of trouble with a shot on the water’s edge.
“It was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen on a golf course,” laughed El Conquistador’s Matt Hudson, who along with Tucson Country Club’s Tom Garrison, witnessed the event.
Wadkins, 75, had hit his second shot just into the water, and decided to go in after it and play it from the hazard.
“He asked about his options and we told him where he could drop it,” Hudson said, “He said, ‘I’m going to go down there and hit it!’”
The problem – a large slope at the water’s edge – and when Wadkins began trying to remove a sock and shoe, Garrison saw it coming.
“He takes his shoe off and starts trying to take his sock off,” Hudson said. “Tom goes, ‘Holy cow, he’s going in.’”
Garrison was prophetic, as shortly after Wadkins got in to hit the shot, he slipped on the loose rocks and fell in up to his neck.
Was it worth it?
“Why sure … I still made par!” Wadkins said. “That’s the name of the game.”
He hit the partially submerged golf ball – while he was soaking wet – about six feet from the cup, and drained the putt for the all-world par.
He was fine, but had to change into rain pants on No. 5, and played the rest of the front nine wet until he could get to a change of clothes.
Dompier’s 66 on Saturday came after an incredibly hot front nine. He birdied seven holes, coupled with two bogeys, to shoot 5-under on the front. A hole-out from the bunker on No. 9 provided the final birdie.
Holding a two-shot lead after Saturday’s round he played strategically on Sunday, working his way around the course in 2-under-par, 70.
“I was playing the percentages that somebody would not shoot 66 today,” Dompier said. “I played very conservative off the tee and tried to make a lot of pars.”
“The pins were tougher out there today – 66 was a very good score and Derek shot it, so hat’s off to him.”
The one shot could have come at the tenth hole, where Dompier missed for par from two feet. His second-place finish comes off the heels of a win at the Santa Fe Open, and another second in the PGA National Qualifier.
“I’ve been playing great, it’s been a good run.”
Deminsky’s opening round 69 left him three shots from the lead, so he knew he needed to go low.
After an opening bogey, he played solid the rest of the way in, making seven birdies to shoot his 66.
“I just really played great,” he said. “I hit the ball really well and had three birdies all off the same shot, a 52 degree wedge.”
“I knew I had to play great, Chris, Don (LIttrell) and Scott (Schultz) are all good players and I knew they were going to shoot low numbers and I would have to make a lot of birdies.”
He got some help from his wife, Erin , who caddied for him over the two days.
“It was nice to have my wife out there with me,” Deminsky said.
Skyline Country Club’s LIttrell finished third at 2-under, 143, while Oro Valley’s Schultz was fourth, just one shot behind.
Deminsky takes Chapter Championship
By Kevin Duke
Associate Editor – Golf Arizona Magazine