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Campbell sets course, tournament records in TL Open

Matt Campbell chips onto the second green during the second round in the Tupper Lake Open golf tournament on Sunday. Campbell won the pro division with a record low total of 130 during the 36-hole event. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

TUPPER LAKE — Matt Campbell captured the pro title Sunday in the 71st annual Tupper Lake Open Golf Tournament.

Not only did the pro from Central New York win the tournament for the second time in a row since his last appearance in Tupper Lake in 2017, he toppled a couple of records in the process. Campbell opened play by firing a course record 62 on Saturday and followed with a final-round 68 to set a new record low two-day total of 130. He finished at 12-under par during 36 holes of play on the par-71, 6,003-yard layout.

The 31-year-old, a native of Rome who has been playing on the Korn Ferry professional tour, opened the tournament with an eagle on the par-5, 460-yard first hole and never looked back. He finished with eight birdies and no bogeys on the way to his course record 62 on Saturday, and was steady again Sunday, despite playing the last six holes in a soaking rain that moved into the area later in the afternoon.

Campbell also shot a 62 in Friday’s practice round.

Scott Berliner, a pro from the Saratoga Spa State Park golf course, finished runner-up with rounds of 68 and 71 and a 139 total. Berliner is a five-time champion at Tupper Lake and a month ago, notched a victory in a PGA Northeastern New York Section pro event at the Whiteface Club in Lake Placid.

Randy Bedore chips onto the 18th green during the second round of the Tupper Lake Open on Sunday. Bedore fired two rounds of 90 on his home course competing in the tournament’s second flight. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

Lake Placid’s Art Griffin took third place with a 141 total. Trevor Jaycox and James Becker rounded out the top five, both with 147 totals.

Evan LaBarge, the pro at the Tupper Lake Country Club, finished with a 148, the same total turned in by Danny Edwards, who played in PGA Tour events during his heyday.

LaBarge stood in third place after firing a 1-under par 70 Saturday and enjoyed playing in the final threesome on Sunday with Campbell and Berliner. LaBarge, unfortunately couldn’t match his opening day effort during Sunday’s second round, but was perfectly happy watching Campbell play the game of golf.

“Matt is an eye opener. He made the course look easy,” said LaBarge, who added “I just participated,” describing his second round.

“Matt makes it look simple hitting greens in regulation, and he had the flat stick working,” LaBarge said. “He doesn’t miss putts. It was just great playing with him.”

Fifteen golfers competed in the pro division. Campbell took home a $2,000 check for first place. The event was sponsored by Belleville & Associates of Tupper Lake.

Doug Hart, a member of the Hales Mills Country Club in Johnstown, rallied to win the Tupper Lake Open’s first flight. He started off with a three-over par 74 on Saturday, and came through with a 69 on Sunday for a 143 total. Spencer Baum was second with a 151 and Saranac Lake’s Dustin Fischer placed third with a 153 that included rounds of 76 and 77.

Glenn Stephenson, who owns a home in Lake Placid, held the first flight lead after firing a one-over par 72 on Saturday. But he faltered Sunday, especially during the rain late in the round to finish in fourth with a 154 total.

Stephenson played with Hart on Sunday, and said the champion was unflappable during the wet weather.

“Doug was very solid, and his effort in those conditions was heroic,” Stephenson said. “He just hung in there, got up and down; he just was steady.

“I just had a good solid round Saturday,” Stephenson continued. “I was two under after nine and things were falling into place rather nicely. I wasn’t prepared for the rain (Sunday). That’s when things fell apart. I didn’t have an umbrella, I was soaked, I couldn’t hold onto my clubs. I felt a little helpless.”

Don Sovey took the second flight title with rounds of 79 and 82 and a 161 total. Peter McConnell placed second with a 163 and Steve Gagnon finished third on his home course with a 165.

Tupper Lake golfers swept the top five spots in the third flight, with Josh Pickering claiming the win with a pair of 83s and a 166 total. Wayne Roberts was runner-up with a 174, Liam LaMere placed third with a 176, Matt Dechene finished fourth with a 178 and David Williams rounded out the top five with a 179 total.

David Camadine was the senior champion with rounds of 73 and 80 and a 153 total.

William Bechard and Ron Belleville of Tupper Lake were the next closest seniors, both carding 160 totals In addition to playing in the pro division, LaBarge had the added duties of helping make sure the tournament ran smoothly. Although his game may have suffered from that, he said the big concern was making sure all the golfers were happy with the weekend. And in the end, LaBarge said things couldn’t have worked out any better, with the exception of the rain during the late stages of the second round.

“We were hemming and hawing about even having it this year due to the whole COVID thing,” LaBarge said. “A couple of months ago people were telling us they wanted to come. The phone was ringing every day. We made some adjustments in an effort to keep everybody safe, and I think we did a very good job. The staff, the volunteers, everyone pulled together. Everybody said this is the best they’ve seen the course in years. Everybody was super pleased.”

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