Fri. Jul 12th, 2024

City Golf Seniors: Gillespie brothers set up semifinal reunion

By admin Jul10,2024

When the bracket for the 96th annual City Golf Tournament Senior Championship flight came out, Tim Gillespie looked at it and saw what might happen.

That mostly seemed up to his older brother, Troy. Tim entered as the No. 2 seed and a regular player in the tourney for the past 30-plus years. Troy, a terror in the men’s field as the last three-peat champ back in 1999-2001, hadn’t been on a golf course much over the past decade or more, let alone played competitively.

Troy had made an aborted attempt to qualify last year, but due to an illness he was fighting, dropped out early.

He came back in 2024, earned the sixth seed and opened with a win over Garry Lee in Round 1 while Tim managed to slip by Lance Ringler.

Just one more win and they’d be paired together in the semifinals, which would certainly bring back more than a few memories of meetings in the City Tourney gone by. Sharing a cart, they took care of business as Troy nipped No. 3 Chad Osborne 2 and 1 while Tim outlasted No. 10 Gary EuDaly, 1-up in Sunday’s quarterfinals at Cascades.

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Troy Gillespie hits off the first tee at Cascades Golf Course in his match in the Bloomington City Golf Tournament on Sunday, July 7, 2024.Troy Gillespie hits off the first tee at Cascades Golf Course in his match in the Bloomington City Golf Tournament on Sunday, July 7, 2024.

Troy Gillespie hits off the first tee at Cascades Golf Course in his match in the Bloomington City Golf Tournament on Sunday, July 7, 2024.

“We were playing one time and I was 2-up on No. 6,” Tim said. “And I heard (my mom) go, ‘You’re going to let your brother beat you?’ We’ll, he drives the green, makes an eagle, then knocks it (to a foot) on the next hole. And by the time the nine’s over, I’m 2-down.”

It’s shared with a good laugh. Their mother is 87 now and happy to see her boys together again. “She got a kick out it,” Troy said.

Unfortunate circumstances made it possible, however.

“My father got sick a few years back and I took some time off to take care of him,” Troy said. “He passed away and this November, it’ll be three years, so I figured, my wife never says anything about golf and she said, ‘I can’t believe you haven’t started back up playing.

“So I figured it was time. I got the itch this year. This is only my seventh round in four years.”

Troy is a five-time champ in the Men’s Championship and at 55, will face Tim, seven years his senior.

Tim Gillespie hits off the first tee at Cascades Golf Course in his match in the Bloomington City Golf Tournament on Sunday, July 7, 2024.Tim Gillespie hits off the first tee at Cascades Golf Course in his match in the Bloomington City Golf Tournament on Sunday, July 7, 2024.

Tim Gillespie hits off the first tee at Cascades Golf Course in his match in the Bloomington City Golf Tournament on Sunday, July 7, 2024.

“I felt good, I really did,” Troy said. “I embarrassed myself last year. I came out and tried to qualify and played nine holes and I had a few health issues, so I didn’t even finish. So I figured this year, I better redeem myself a little bit more.

“Just the history of the tournament. Being back in it means a lot to me.”

But as competitive as he is and wants to be, he brought little expectations into the weekend.

“I figured if I made it past the first match, that’d be great for me,” Troy said. “I’m starting to hit the ball like I used to.”

Tim isn’t playing too badly himself.

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“I was 74 or 75 yesterday and probably 71 or 72 today,” Tim said. “I don’t think I’ve ever won against Gary EuDaly. We’ve played about four or five times.”

EuDaly didn’t allow Tim to look ahead at all and they were even coming on to 18. But EuDaly’s drive hit a tree for the second day in a row. This time, he couldn’t find it and had to take a drop. Seeing that, Tim made the safe play off the tee.

“I was going to try to hook one around there and I just hit it with a cut so I’d miss that tree,” Tim said.

Joining them in the semis are defending champ Jim Alexander and No. 4 Chuck Combs, who made the second weekend for the first time.

Charles Combs hits off the first tee at Cascades Golf Course in his match in the Bloomington City Golf Tournament on Sunday, July 7, 2024.Charles Combs hits off the first tee at Cascades Golf Course in his match in the Bloomington City Golf Tournament on Sunday, July 7, 2024.

Charles Combs hits off the first tee at Cascades Golf Course in his match in the Bloomington City Golf Tournament on Sunday, July 7, 2024.

Alexander vs. Combs

The Gillespie’s tight winning margins were the order of the day in the flight as Alexander and Combs both pulled out 2 and 1 wins.

This will be the first semifinal appearance for Combs, who knocked out No. 5 Darren Fuller, 2 and 1, thanks to wins on 12 and 14. He played the back nine in 1 under with seven pars.

“I didn’t play my best golf today,” Combs said. “Front side, we just alternated holes. Win one, lose one. But it was mostly, don’t make bogey, because bogey loses a hole.”

Oddly enough, his tournament success came after a rare miss in playing in the City Tournament last year.

“My son was down at Fort Know going through some training so we went down there for his graduation,” Combs said. “I really hated missing it. I’ve played in it since 1983 or ’84. I missed it for four years while I was in the service and then two other years.

“It’s fun. I love match play. It’s puts a little pressure on you.”

He knows his semi opponent well, since he was 6 in fact, as Alexander played little league baseball with Combs’ older brother.

Alexander and No. 9 Bill Kelson were neck and neck, oftentimes literally on the course as their tee shots on 16 both stopped about 10 feet across from each other.

Even on 17, their drives both skipped left and just over the cart path just eight feet apart with Alexander just 1-up. Alexander was able to skip his ball over the bunker and back to the front landing area of the green. But Kelson’s pitch hopped right into the bunker.

Roger Rainbolt hits off the first tee at Cascades Golf Course in his match in the Bloomington City Golf Tournament on Sunday, July 7, 2024.Roger Rainbolt hits off the first tee at Cascades Golf Course in his match in the Bloomington City Golf Tournament on Sunday, July 7, 2024.

Roger Rainbolt hits off the first tee at Cascades Golf Course in his match in the Bloomington City Golf Tournament on Sunday, July 7, 2024.

Super Seniors down to the wire

Just one match didn’t go to the 18th, which was third-seeded Mike Vernon’s 3 and 2 ‘rout’ of No. 11 Tom Smith.

Meanwhile, two-time defending champ Rory Brown and last year’s runner-up, Dan Neubecker, were stretched to the limit to stay alive and Roger Rainbolt continued to catch lightning in a bottle as a 13th seed with another upset, eliminating No. 5 Dick Meacham. All advanced with 1 up wins.

No. 8 Jeff Smith had a 2-up lead on Brown after an eagle win on No. 6 and it was just one when Brown started his winning run on No. 12. He also took 14 and 16 to go up two and hung on as a par was good enough to halve 18 to close it out.

Neubecker birdied the first three holes to go up early but was even at the turn. He managed to grab a two-hole lead before Devitt’s approach on 16 stopped six feet away to set up a win, forcing Neubecker to hold on for two more holes to move on.

Next Saturday’s semifinals will pit Brown against Rainbolt and Neubecker against Vernon. The Super Seniors will play just an 18-hole final on Sunday. No one has ever won three straight Super Senior titles since the bracket was started in 1992.

Mike Vernon hits off the first tee at Cascades Golf Course in his match in the Bloomington City Golf Tournament on Sunday, July 7, 2024.Mike Vernon hits off the first tee at Cascades Golf Course in his match in the Bloomington City Golf Tournament on Sunday, July 7, 2024.

Mike Vernon hits off the first tee at Cascades Golf Course in his match in the Bloomington City Golf Tournament on Sunday, July 7, 2024.

BLOOMINGTON CITY GOLF TOURNAMENT

Sunday’s results

PHIL TALBOT MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP — [1] Jason Bannister d. [9] Hunter Desilets, 3 and 2; [5] Brad McLaughlin d. [4] Mitch Oard, 2 and 1; [2] Chris Williams d. [10] Brayden Bunger, 6 and 5; [6] Logan Vernon d. [3] Simon Deliyannis, 3 and 1.

PAUL GRAY SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP — [1] Jim Alexander d. [9] Bill Kelson, 2 and 1; [4] Charles Combs d. [5] Darren Fuller, 2 and 1; [2] Tim Gillespie vs. [10] Gary EuDaly, 1 up; [6] Troy Gillespie vs. [3] Chad Osborne, 2 and 1/

ROSS RUSH SUPER SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP — [1] Rory Brown d. [8] Jeff Smith, 1 up; [13] Roger Rainbolt d. [5] Dick Meacham, 1 up; [2] Dan Neubecker d. [10] Dave Devitt, 1 up; [3] Mike Vernon d. [11] Tom Smith, 3 and 2.

MEN’S REGULAR — First flight: [8] Alec Freund d. [1] Aaron Hancock, 3 and 2; [5] Matt Newman d. [4] Jeff Nelson, 4 and 3; [2] Tony Arnett d. [7] Randy Lientz, 1 up; [3] Robert Wise d. [6] Daniel Melwid, 19 holes. Second flight: [8] Chris Stedman d. [1] Joe Kelly, 1 up; [4] Brian Wise d. [5] Brad Scroggins, 22 holes; [2] Andrew Conder d. [7] Bryan Fyalkowski, 1 up; [6] Jeremy Wise d. [3] Hogan Conder, 4 and 3. Third flight: [1] Russ Wilkie d. [8] Ivan Serrano, 6 and 5; [4] Devin Potts d. [5] Zach Brown, forfeit; [2] Alex Bruce d. [7] James Richardson, 3 and 1; [3] Tyler Baker d. [6] Young Oh, 1 up. Fourth flight: [8] Graham Freund d. [1] Kevin Gallagher, 5 and 3; [5] Kyle McWhorter d. [4] Matt

This article originally appeared on The Herald-Times: Gillespie brothers set up semifinal reunion in City Golf Seniors

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