Eric Manning emerged from a three-man playoff to win the Central New York PGA Section Championship on Aug. 17 for the second straight year. The two-day, 36-hole event presented by Cadillac, Club Car and Rolex was held at Timber Banks Golf Club.
On the first playoff hole, Manning (Elm Tree GC) sank a long putt for birdie on the 18th green to claim his sixth career title over Kevin Roman (LMA Life Member) and Mark Tucker (Cazenovia CC). Manning earned $3,750 for the win.
“This feels great,” Manning said. “Like I said last year, I don’t know how many more times I can do this. It’s a lot of fun. I always mark this tournament on my calendar to try and prepare and be playing good so I have a chance.”
Manning was tied for third heading into the final round. Both he and Tucker
bogeyed No. 18 in regulation while Roman, who shot a 69 in the final round, made par. The three players finished at 2-under-par 142 in regulation forcing a playoff.
“I didn’t start out that great. But I knew there were only a couple of guys ahead of me,” Manning said. “I made a couple of birdies late to keep in touch with them. But I bogeyed the last hole when I had a chance.”
Manning missed a par putt from the same distance on 18 in regulation. In the playoff, Manning made an adjustment and tapped a slight downhill putt to the cup which hung on the rim for a couple of seconds before finally dropping in for the win.
“I thought it was short but it just had enough to fall over the front edge,” Manning said. “Missing that putt in regulation helped me in the playoff. I knew it wasn’t going to break as much. I knew where a needed to aim it. Golf is fickle game. Fortunately, a few things worked in my favor.”
Manning, who has won the Section Championship in three different decades, fired back-to-back rounds of 71. His other titles were in 2020 (at Seven Oaks), 2018 (at Teugega GC), 2012 (at Turning Stone Resort Casino), and back-to-back crowns in 2006 and 2007 Shenendoah GC.
Manning, Tucker and Roman all earned spots to compete in the 55th PGA Professional Championship, April 17-20, 2022 at the OMNI Barton Creek Resort & Spa (Foothills & Coore Crenshaw Courses) in Austin, Texas.
First-round medalist Bruce Martins (Elm Tree GC) came in fourth (first round 68, 1-over 145 overall) but declined the alternate spot. There was a three-way playoff for tournament alternate between Cazenovia Golf Club professionals Jeff Reader, Michael Berger and Dennis Colligan. Reader won the playoff and is first alternate, Colligan is second alternate and Berger is third.
Michelle Murphy (Hamilton College) was the second-round medalist with a 4-under 68. She finished tied for eighth with Nick Serafino (Timber Banks) and Michael Deuel (En-Joie GC).