After completing 36 holes tied with Bobby Stroble, venerable ex-PGA pro Charlie Sifford pointed to the younger man and said, "I've blown 'em all out except one. Now I've got to get him."
That the 57-year-old "godfather" of black golf did with a birdie on the first extra hole, winning the 19th annual Capital City Open and $1,200 at Lee Elder's Langston golf course yesterday.
Sifford, struggling and scrambling all round, came from three strokes back after 13 holes to the Stroble by birdieing 15 and 16. At 18, Stroble took a bogey but Sifford, in the following threesome, left an eight-foot putt for par on the lip of the cup to force the playoff.
On Langston's 465-yard par-5 first hole, Sifford's two-iron second shot stopped 50 feet past the pin on the back downhill slope. But Stroble's eight-iron second shot was left and in a trap.
After Stroble blasted to within eight feet, Sifford rolled a beautifully curving putt that stopped less than a foot from the right edge of the cup.
"My caddy, Richard (Jelly) Hansberry, told me how it (Stroble's putt) was going to break," said Stroble, 25. "I didn't believe him and didn't stroke it firmly enough. He was right all the way. And I just Blew the tournament."
After tapping in for the bird and top money, Sifford, head pro at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Brecksville, Ohio, was all smiles.
"The greens were a little tricky today," he said, "but as long as you can keep beating the young boys, you know you're still alive."
James Black, who began the final round a stroke behind Stroble and Sifford, made Langston look like a pitch-and-putt course with his 350 yard drives. But he couldn't find the range with his putter and finished tied with Nate Starks at 144, one stroke out of the playoff.
Jay Washington won the seniors division with 147. Eythl Funches bested Frances Mays and Elizabeth McNeil on a second playoff hole of the women's title.
Herb Wellman was the top amateur, at 146, with Bill Mays at 147 and Nathanial Morgan at 148.
Army Navy Country Club successfully defended its championship of the Virginia State Golf Association Northern Section team matches with a 15 1/2-2 1/2 victory over Evergreen yesterday.