SARANAC INN - On most every day of the golf season, Walt Farmer and Chip Wheeler are on the job at Saranac Inn making sure visitors are playing a course that's in top-notch shape.
On Tuesday, they teamed up to play on the layout instead of work, and their 3-under-par round of 69 was good enough to claim a two-stroke victory in the 22nd annual Tail O' The Pup Cup two-person scramble tournament.
In rainy, windy conditions, Farmer and Wheeler posted a pair of birdies on both the front and back nines to claim their third title in the tournament's history. They also claimed back-to-back championships in 2006 and 2007.
Chip Wheeler, right, and Walt Farmer, middle, pose with the Tail O’ The Pup Cup trophy following their tournament victory Tuesday at Saranac Inn. They are joined by tourney host Eddie Yanchitis.
(Photo — Chris Stevens)
On most days Farmer works as the superintendent at Saranac Inn and Wheeler is the head greenskeeper. On Tuesday, they were the only players in the 11-team field to fire a round under 70 and one of three twosomes to finish below par. Two other pairs - Robin Weeden and Rick Young and Lake Placid's Rhett Colby and Craig Bergmann - finished deadlocked in second place with 1-under par 71s. Weeden and Young ultimately grabbed the runner-up spot after winning a putt-off.
"We put in anywhere from 40 and 100 work hours here each week," said Wheeler, who shares the Saranac Inn course record of 68. "We want to make the course nice to play, and today, we got a break from work. It's exciting to win this again. Some pretty good golfers show up each year to play in this tournament."
"Chip's my big driver guy and I made two huge putts," Farmer said. "I made two long birdie putts on 3 and 14 - both par 3s - and that was the difference. We ended a four-year drought today. We're really happy about that."
Fourth place went to Bryan Morgan and Tom Rath, who combined to shoot a 1-over par 73. Tim Hooker and George D'Ambroso rounded out the top five with a 74.
No team turned in a score higher than 79 in the tournament, which is held each year to celebrate the birthday of Eddie Yanchitis, who hosts the event and owns the Tail O' The Pup restaurant in Ray Brook.
Some of the tournament proceeds annually go a graduating student from Saranac Lake High School, with Ben Monty being this year's recipient. Monty, a three-sport Red Storm athlete, will be attending SUNY Oswego in the fall.