LAKE PLACID - While first-round leaders Dave Clark and Dustin Fischer struggled on the second day of the Whiteface Open, Dean Donovan snuck in for the win Sunday, claiming the tournament's open division title by four strokes.
After turning in an opening-round 75 on Saturday on Whiteface Club's beautiful par-71 layout, Donovan was six shots off the lead heading into Sunday's final 18 holes. Playing in the next-to-last group during the final round, the member of Ballston Spa Country Club didn't entertain thoughts about winning. But as it turned out, Donovan was the most consistent golfer over the weekend, finishing with a 72 for a winning 147 total.
"A big group of us just came up here to relax, play some golf and have some fun," Donovan said. "This is kind of surreal. This course is stunning, and it was enough just to come out and play here. Winning, that wasn't ever on my radar.
Dean Donovan of Ballston Spa watches his approach shot head toward the green on the 16th hole at the Whiteface Club during Sunday’s second round of the Whiteface Open. Donovan endured a double-bogey on the hole but still came up with a four-stroke victory.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
"On Saturday, I was six over after the first four holes," Donovan continued. "At that point, I told myself to sit back, start playing good golf and have some fun. I was able to do that for the most part."
Clark, a resident of Lake Placid, surged into the lead Saturday after firing a two-under par 69, which was his lowest round ever at Whiteface Club. Fischer, who will be a senior at Saranac Lake High School, was just a shot back after his opening-round 70.
Both golfers, however, were unable to carry their exceptional play into the second day. Clark wound up shooting an 83 to finish fourth, while Fischer carded an 81 to land in a second-place tie with Brad Hamse.
"If I knew before the tournament that I was going to finish second, I would have been ecstatic," Fischer said. "But knowing that I was right in the hunt on the second day and finished a full four shots back in second, that was kind of a sour feeling. Today, I just never got hot, but I'm still very happy with how I played."
"In the first round, I just kept the ball in play and never got out of position," Clark said after the tournament. "Today, I just hit a few bad shots that got me out of position. I'm not disappointed. I never came in here expecting to shoot a 69. I used to work here in the early 1980s, I've played this course a ton of times, and I've never had a 69. That's what I'm taking away from this weekend."
This marked the second straight summer that professional Peter Martin has hosted the Whiteface Open at the course he had headed for 37 years. This year's field featured 90 golfers competing in open, seniors, super seniors and professional divisions.
Last year's open division winner Bob Modliszewski opted to compete as a senior this time around, and he left the course as a champion again, shooting rounds of 71 and 77 for a first-place 148 total. Peter Hausin turned in two rounds of 78 to finish as the senior division runner-up with a 156 total.
"If you look at the scores today, they were much higher that Saturday," Modliszewski said. "It was the pin placements. I wouldn't say they were generous for the first round, but they much tougher today.
"On this course, your round is based on how you do on 12, 14 and 15," Modliszewski. "Today, I didn't do very well on those holes, but I finished strong - par, birdie, par. I'm pretty excited. Overall, I played pretty good golf."
An elated Mike Treska of Lake Placid took the men's super seniors title with rounds of 81 and 80 and a 161 total.
"I knew there was an advantage to being almost 69," Treska said with a smile. An 80 and an 81; that's pretty steady golf. I was steady all weekend. I'm very happy with the work I did out there."
Dennis Chagnon also turned in a 161 in the super seniors division but settled for second place.
Susan Kahler claimed the women's senior crown with two rounds of 79 and a 158 total. Caroline Roy was runner-up three shots back with a 161 total. Nancy Gordon won the women's super seniors division with rounds of 94 and 96.
The women's pro division title went to Florida's Cheryl Anderson, who had rounds of 72 and 73 and a 145 total. Tupper Lake's Scott DeLair, who works at the Saranac Inn Golf Club, won the men's pro title. He had rounds of 76 and 82 and a 158 total.