Jeff Thomas of Arbuckle and Scott Bement of Elk Grove thought a chance to win slipped away when both four-putted the 18th green Sunday in the annual Almond Blossom Invitational Golf Tournament at the Arbuckle Golf Course.
But two earlier birdies and a bunch of pars by Thomas lifted the twosome to the $400 first flight net prize at 6-under-par best-ball 138.
Bement laughed, “I’m glad we didn’t five-putt.”
Thomas interjected, “I knew we were in trouble.”
Bement has been an Arbuckle member for 30 years.
“I joined when Sacramento golf was really busy,” Bement said. “I could play all the golf I wanted here and faster than in Sacramento.”
Overall, Tom and Doug Crowther of Sacramento won the $600 prize with a 3-under 141 gross score.
Pete Rominger and Eloy Garcia of Woodland led a local dominance in the second flight at 12-under 132.
“I tried to stay inbounds, nothing flashy,” said Rominger after battling the blustery conditions Sunday. “Our biggest advantage was its our home course. We had homefield advantage.”
Garcia concurred, “We kept the ball in play and made some good putts.”
They won by a whopping seven strokes, ahead of Andy Geyer of Arbuckle and Pierce High School basketball coach Scott Burnum.
The teams of Steve Anderson-Mark Razo, Thom Stocking-Billy Cobb and Brandon Ottenwalter-Jordan Brainard pocketed $150 for third place.
Dan Juberg of American Canyon, a former greens superintendent at Auburn Valley Golf Course, was happy to keep his streak of having played in all but two Almond Blossom events since 1979.
He only plays a couple rounds a year and was elated to shoot 94 Saturday.
“It’s incredible,” he said. “I love this golf course. It’s always in great shape. It’s pretty fabulous.”
Bill Anderson of Loomis, Juberg’s partner, joked, “This has been a tradition for us for a long time. I played just terrible. The wind made it crazy,”
Dan Orovich, former Yolo Fliers Club champion in Woodland, likewise wasn’t disappointed in not playing well. He said, “This is the friendliest golf course in Northern California.”
Other first-flight gross leaders were Tyler Ward and Nic Weber at 143 and the teams of Tyler Raber-Jeff Middlekauf and Thomas Steinhoff-Jason Sweet at 144.