SCARSDALE There was a silent pause as Matt Dobyns searched the oversized sterling trophy for a meaningful link to the past.
“Gene Sarazen’s name is on this, right?” he asked.
Multiple times. The former head pro at Fresh Meadow Country Club won the Met PGA Championship in 1927, 1928 and 1938.
Dobyns holds the position now and was clearly pleased about sharing a little more history with The Squire after he defeated St. Andrew’s Golf Club assistant Tyler Jaramillo with a par on the first playoff hole Thursday at Fenway Golf Club.
There was no wiggle room coming down the stretch with five players one shot behind the reigning PGA Professional national champion.
“One thing I did notice was how many people were right behind me,” said Dobyns who closed with a 71 to finish with a 1-under total of 209. “I was thinking one of those guys was going to make a birdie or two. In my head, 2-under was the number … and I was in position to do that, but down the stretch of a tournament things get a little complicated.”
He suffered a bogey on the 16th hole and narrowly missed birdies on the 17th and 18th holes.
Jaramillo worked incredibly hard to stay within striking distance. The former Fenway intern was unhappy with a clunky pitch into the green, but regrouped and drained an 18-foot birdie on the final hole of regulation to force the playoff.
There was a fist pump or two in celebration.
“I tried hitting a low chip shot and caught it a little steep,” Jaramillo said “I didn’t really follow through so it came up short. The putt, I really didn’t know what it was going to do. My caddie and I kind of agreed it was a ball out and when I stood over the putt, it felt like I was aimed too far right so I adjusted a little more left and hit the ball. It was tracking the whole way.
“Making a putt like that is something you always dream about.”
Jaramillo drove into a fairway bunker on the left side of the 18th hole to start the playoff. He was forced to blast out and was left with 200 yards into the green. The approach flared left into the rough on the raised backside of a bunker.
It was an impossible place to be under that kind of pressure and the next shot landed in the sand. He didn’t have any miracles left in the bag and blasted to the fringe before missing a long bogey putt.
Dobyns was on the green in three, looking at birdie. He missed the first putt and tapped in to secure a win that comes with a $15,000 check.
“I birdied No. 18 all three days and was hoping to get one the fourth time around, but I hit a bad tee shot and it kind of spiraled on me,” Jaramillo said.
Defending champion Anthony Casalino (Innis Arden), Anthony Aruta (North Shore), Charlie Meola (Saxon Woods) and Frank Bensel (Centruy) all finished one stroke back at even par.
Each of them had a chance or two coming in.
Bensel made a great save at the 16th hole, but fell back when he uncharacteristically three-putted the next from 15 feet.
“There weren’t many opportunities to make birdie, and if you did have a chance or two or three, you needed to close the deal on it,” Bensel said. “I misread the speed at 17 left it short, and missed the putt for par.”
Steve Scott (Paramount) matched the low round of the championship with a 67 on Thursday and finished tied for seventh with Greg Bisconti (St. Andrew’s) at 1-over par.