Molloy, Richey win Spring Fling
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Zack Molloy may become the most sought-after teammate at McMinnville Country Club. He's certainly on a roll of a lifetime.
Molloy and Matt Richey won the Spring Fling by three strokes this weekend, going nearly wire-to-wire to complete the victory. They came into Sunday with a one-stroke lead after a 10-under, 62 Saturday, then proceeded to fire an 8-under, 64 on the final day.
It is the second straight year Molloy has won the Spring Fling. He also won the event last year - held on Labor Day - with Nick Stern. Molloy followed that victory by winning the 2020 Club Championship, giving him a sweep of the two biggest titles at McMinnville Country Club.
Although he's now won it three times with three different teammates - Molloy also won with Kenny McCormick - the club superstar was quick to praise his partner for their dominant play over Memorial Day weekend.
"Matt's putting really was the difference," said Molloy. "We would line it up and call it - either half a ball out, or a ball out left or right - and if we had the right read, he made it."
While Richey's work with the flatstick was impressive all weekend, both agreed that Molloy had the putt of the tournament. His save on No. 2 Sunday was vital to keep the team rolling.
"It was the shot of the tournament for us. Matt had hit his and it rolled off the green. Mine was still steaming when it went in," said Molloy.
Richey said it was a two-shot swing, "we were looking at double bogey if it doesn't fall," and really kept the team moving on the final day after coming in with the rest of the field giving chase. After the tournament, Richey was able to relax and enjoy a win he's been in search of for decades.
"It's the final notch on my belt," said Richey, noting the Spring Fling was the only club tournament he hasn't won despite playing in events since he was a teenager.
The Championship Flight, which featured seven teams, saw three groups come in at 129 to finish second to Molloy and Richey. Matt Cotten and John Wilson, the 2019 champs, shot 66 Sunday to tie for second, while Hank Patton and Matt Brown made a late charge with a 64. Pieter van Vuuren and Jamie Stinson were the biggest movers Sunday, shooting the best round of the day - a 10-under, 62 - to place second for the third straight year.
One of the biggest roars of the tournament came from van Vuuren Sunday after he sank an eagle putt on No. 10. He had already cleared the trees and the pond with his tee shot to reach the left fringe of the green, then continued his hot play by draining a 15-footer that had a hard break to the right at the hole.
"I think that was our turning point," said Stinson, who also had some big shots to get the team back in contention Sunday.
Brown and Patton started cooking late as well. After playing the first eight holes at 1-under, the duo proceeded to notched seven birdies in their final 10 holes. The best may have been their birdie on the Par-4, No. 15.
"We just started getting hot and the birdies starting coming," said Brown. "We got one right before the turn, then kept it going on the back. The one on No. 15 stood out.
"Hank hit a great drive and I was able to get the approach shot to about six feet and then follow with the putt."
Nick Stern and Bracton Womack, who were one off the lead going into the day, weren't able to keep pace on Sunday. They finished in fifth after a 5-under round on the final day.
"We just didn't have it today," said Stern, who was looking for back-to-back championships in the event after pairing with Molloy last fall. "We tried our best, it was just wasn't our day."
It was a huge weekend for the club, which saw 46 teams compete in what has become one of the signature local tournaments. The turnouts was one of the best in a decade and the competition was fierce throughout the weekend.
"It was great to see all the teams come out. The course was nice and I think everybody had a good time," said Wilson, one of the board members at McMinnville Country Club.
Click here for the Day 2 Spring Fling photo gallery
Check out the Day 1 Spring Fling photo gallery here
In the first flight, Greg and Andrew Brock won with a combined score of 132, including Sunday's 8-under, 64. Their highlight was combining to record an eagle on the always difficult Par 4, No. 13.
Andrew was able to nearly drive the green, fading a long ball off the tee to just under the hole. Greg did the rest, flopping a high chip near the hole and watching with a smile as it trickled in.
Bill Rogers and Keith Bryson, partners for over two decades in the tournament, won the second flight with a score of 143. The duo shot 71 on Saturday and were an even 72 Sunday.
Mike Taylor and Will Stern put up a round that would've been competitive in the championship flight Sunday to win the third flight. Taylor and Stern dropped low with a 6-under, 66 to win the flight. It was an eight-shot improvement from their round Saturday and it took a good partnership to do it.
"It's just brother-in-law golf," said Will Stern. "If I hit a bad shot, he always had a good one. And I was there to pick him up too. We just played well together."
Alan West and Jason Denney were again dangerous on the final day, shooting a 3-under, 69 to win the fourth flight.