Neihaus, Darnell win Clear Creek championships

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The main draw of the Clear Creek Club Championship didn’t have much drama on Sunday. That was all saved for the senior division.

Jim Darnell finally won on the fifth hole of a sudden death playoff, beating Hugh Hasty for the senior title. Both players were tied at 154 after finishing the second round. Hasty shot a 75 on Sunday to wipe out a five-shot deficit and force the playoff, but couldn’t close it out.

Jim Darnell

“It was fun, it’s always fun to watch them do something out of their comfort zone a little bit, they’re not used to it,” Clear Creek Golf Course pro Kent Smith said of the playoff.

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Darnell won a $120 prize, and Hasty $60. Rounding out the senior championship flight was Richard Rogers with a score of 156, while Jeff Cowan and Joe Grayson tied at 157.

In the main draw, Kevin Neihaus shot a 73 on Sunday to take a five-shot victory over Keith Ehrhardt. Neihaus finished with a two-round total of 154 and erased a three-shot deficit heading into the final round.

Mike Hurley and Jim Warren tied for first place in the first flight, and second overall, after they shot 159 for the tournament.

“I hit it pretty good. I didn’t really do anything special. I made two birdies, three bogeys, and the rest pars,” Neihaus said. “I tied them on the seventh hole, took the lead on eight, and they didn’t play very well the rest of the way.”

Neihaus shot an 81 on Saturday, and said a handful of bad shots then kept it from being even more of a runaway.

After the group at 159, Trey Martin carded a 160, Tom Jones 164, Mark White 165, and Luke Yocum a 188.

“I hit the ball good all weekend. A couple of bad shots cost me seven strokes on Saturday,” said Neihaus, who won $120 for his efforts. “I just hope I can keep playing this good. It’s always good to win a championship and get your name on the plaque.”

In the senior division’s first flight, Mike Caruthers won first place and $120 with a score of 156, Bob Burr came in second and won the $60 prize with a score of 162. Wayne Scott finished with a score of 166, Joe Tom shot 178, and Reed Mosher 180.

Only eight golfers competed in the main draw of the Club Championship, which was only open to Clear Creek club members.

Six people competed in the Club Championship last year.

“I wish more people in the county were members so we could get some more competition,” Neihaus said.

All eight of this year’s finishers in the Club Championship earned a spot on Clear Creek’s Warren County Cup team later this summer. The Ryder Cup style competition pits a team from Clear Creek against one from the Vicksburg Country Club.

The next big tournament at Clear Creek is the Warren County Championship July 28-29. It is open to all county residents.

Smith said the smaller field of the Club Championship brings a fun element of competition that’s sometimes missing from larger tournaments.

“They don’t do it much, it’s just once or twice a year where they get out and compete, and it’s a smaller group,” Smith said. “It’s just the guys that are members there that pretty much play together a lot. They get to put their game to the test and see who’s the best for one weekend a year.”