Eric Manning improved upon last year’s runner-up finish by winning the 2019 Central New York Stroke Play Championship on July 15 at Cortland Country Club.
The Stroke Play Championship, sponsored by the PGA Tour and Omega, is the second CNY PGA major of the season and worth double points in the Bradley’s Jewelers Player of the Year standings.
Manning shot back-to-back rounds of 70 and finished one stroke ahead of three-time champion Dennis Colligan (Cazenovia Golf Club), who fired a 4-under 68 in the second round to finish at 3-under 141 overall.
“It’s definitely satisfying to win,” Manning said. “Any time you win it’s satisfying. To beat the best players in the section gives you a boost of confidence.”
Manning is well-versed with the Cortland layout. Manning, a Cortland native, served as the club’s head professional for 10 years before moving to Elm Tree Golf Club. He earned $1,500 for the victory.
“I grew up on this course,” the 54-year-old Manning said. “So even though I was off a bit it was a comfort to know I can still manage to play decent.”
Colligan, who leads the section’s player of the year standings, earned $1,250 as runner-up.
Manning played bogey-free golf for the first 26 holes but said he missed plenty of birdie opportunities in the morning session. He changed that by recording four birdies on the first seven holes in the afternoon.
“I had a good start in the afternoon,” he said. “But the back was a struggle. I think the key for me was I made a 30-footer for birdie on 16. I think that got me going toward the finish.”
Manning knew Colligan was making a push to overtake him. Colligan carded six birdies in the second round and was 6-under after 14 holes. But bogeys on 15 and 17 hindered Colligan’s run.
“I knew he (Colligan) was watching me,” Manning said. “I knew he was right there behind me. He’s been playing good all year. I figured on a course like this, the premium is driving. If you drive the ball here you can shoot a good score and he’s an excellent driver.”
Alan Savage (Turning Stone Resort) led the morning round with a 3-under 69. He finished third. Defending champion Michael Deuel (En-Joie Golf Club) finished fourth.
The tournament field featured 24 players who were playing for a total purse of $6,750.