Neet Outlasts Souza in Pinehaven Playoff
CapitalAreaGolf.com - 7/12/2016
GUILDERLAND – John Neet continues to beat the odds, both on and off the golf course.
The Golf Galaxy pro, still battling pancreatic cancer but feeling symptom-free, sank a three-foot par putt on the fourth playoff hole to edge Stadium Golf Club head pro John Souza and win the third Northeastern New York PGA Professional Classic of the season Monday at Pinehaven Country Club.
It was Neet’s second tournament win of the season and the sixth of his career. He shot a 64 on his own ball to win a Pro-Am team event at Normanside Country Club last month and also picked up a couple of second-place finishes so far, including the Section’s Stroke Play Championship, in a remarkable season highlighted by an unexpected return to good health.
John Neet makes the winning putt at Pinehaven. Photo: Bob Weiner.
Both Neet and Souza shot 70s (-1) in regulation to finish a shot ahead of Saratoga National Golf Club assistant pro Bob Cain. Support for the event came from Satch Sales, Inc, DLL Financial Services and PGA Tour.
Neet earned $925 including $550 for the win plus $375 in the Bonus Pool.
Souza earned $770 including $470 for 2nd Place plus $300 in the Bonus Pool.
JOHN V. JOHN
The fourth extra hole was contested on hole #2, a short 364-yard par-4. Both players hit hybrids off the tee. Souza’s tee shot landed in the fairway, about 135-yards from the green, but a huge tree was blocking his path. Neet’s ball hit a tree and landed in the left rough, 174-yards from the pin. Neet’s approach shot went just over the green, while Souza lifted his wedge shot over the tree. It landed on the green, but about 40 feet from the cup.
John Souza lining up a putt during the four hole playoff at Pinehaven on July 11.
Souza’s long birdie putt came up eight-feet short. Neet chipped his ball to three-feet. After Souza missed his par putt, Neet tapped in for the winner.
“I thought I hit my putt hard enough, but the greens got slower as the afternoon went on,” Souza said. “John is a very skilled player. I had a couple of chances to beat him, but I didn’t. That’s the story of my season – up and down.”
“I thought he was going to beat me with a birdie on the first extra hole when my own birdie putt came up just short,” Neet said.
“In the playoff, I try to block everything out and just play the course. I don’t play against the opponent unless it’s truly a match-play situation.”
John Neet is congratulated by Bernie Jorgensen of Club Car for winning the NENY PGA Pro Classic #3 at Pinehaven CC.
TAKE 4 OF THESE AND CALL ME IN THE MORNING
Neet was fortunate early in the playoff. The first playoff hole was contested on the par-5 17th hole. Although Neet hooked his tee shot into the woods, he was able to extricate himself from trouble. Both players reached the green in regulation, but both missed their solid birdie opportunities.
On the second playoff hole, #18, Both players had difficult lies. Neet’s tee shot landed on a little hill above a bunker. He was 147-yards away from the green. Souza’s tee shot landed in the rough, 150-yards from the green. His swing was hampered by an overhanging tree limb.
Neet reached the green, about 35-feet away, and two-putted for par. Souza’s approach shot came up short, but he chipped to two feet and made his par putt, as well.
The third playoff hole was on hole #1. Souza again used a hybrid off the tee, and his tee shot landed in the right rough, leaving him a long, blind shot to the green. His approach shot went long. Neet’s approach shot landed just short of the green. After Souza hit a sensational chip to six inches, Neet chipped to within four feet and again made the par putt to set up the final playoff hole.
“I won my first pro tournament in 1999, and I’ve scattered some wins since then,” Neet said. “I’m feeling great lately. It’s been nine weeks since my last visit to the doctor. My next visit to Roswell (Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo) is Wednesday.”
Souza began his round with an eagle-2 on the opening hole. He holed out from 150-yards with an 8-iron.
“It was a good way to start,” said Souza. “I played pretty well today. You never know about the scoring. That’s why I hung around to see if there was going to be a playoff. It ended up being a pretty good day overall.”
John Souza of Stadium Golf Club shot 70 (-1) to get into a playoff at Pinehaven on Monday, July 11.