The 53rd annual Cumberland County Golf Championship turned into a father-son celebration. Brian Dreier won the CCGC at Gates Four Golf & Country Club, while his son, Sutton Dreier, won the inaugural CCGC Junior Division title.
"I'm proud of him," Brian Dreier said about his 15-year-old son. "He's just getting his feet wet with tournament golf. He's improving a lot, but he's got a ways to go. I'm excited for him. But considering the field I competed against and the field he competed against, I'm going to say my win's a little bit better."
"I think it's awesome that we both won the same year. They said we're making history, so I guess it's the first time it's ever been done. I'm excited to see what I can do in the future,” the Northwood Temple sophomore said.
Brian Dreier had to come from five shots behind in the final round to win his first CCGC title since 2012. This was the first time he had played in the event since 2015, when he turned professional.
He just regained his amateur status in January. Brian Dreier, 48, shot the only subpar round, a 1-under 71, on the last day of the 54-hole event.
The playing conditions toughened up with cooler, windy weather moving in, and the tees moved back to 6,962 yards.
"This was very unexpected with the quality of players in the field," Brian Dreier said. "But today was one of the best ball-striking rounds I've had. That's what it takes when you play a tough golf course in the wind. You've just got to be patient. You can't force anything. It was good enough to hold everybody else off."
As Brian Dreier headed to the tenth tee box of the final round, he was locked in a battle with some of the best amateur golf talent in Cumberland County. Defending champion Thomas Owen, the two eight-time CCGC champions in Billy West and Gary Robinson, Jack Keefe, the leader after the first two rounds, and Brian Dreier were separated by only two shots.
Things started to change quickly on the back nine. Keefe bogeyed three holes in a row and finished in third place at 3-over par after rounds of 69-71-79 — 219.
Robinson saw his chances end with bogeys at 11, 12, and 13 and a double-bogey at 15. He tied for sixth place with rounds of 72-72-79 for a 7-over 223.
He did end his tournament on a high note with a birdie on the last hole.
Owen's putter let him down on the back nine. He tied for fourth place with Spencer Goodnough after rounds of 70-75-75 — 220. West made the turn at even-par and held a one-shot lead over Brian Dreier with four holes left to play.
But he missed the green at the 15th and 16th holes and couldn't get up and down. Those two bogeys opened the door for Brian Dreier. He took advantage by making a 10-foot birdie putt on the 52nd hole of the tournament, the 16th, to open a two-shot lead.
Brian Dreier had a 12-foot birdie putt at the par-5 17th, but he slapped his leg in frustration when it slid by the hole.
"I left myself a perfect look on 17 up the hill," he said. "I was trying to get that putt to go in to give myself a little bit of a cushion."
West, 47, needed to birdie the last two holes to tie.
He missed his 12-foot birdie putt at 17 to end his chances. However, he did walk off the 18th green smiling when he holed a 30-foot birdie putt to lose by one shot.
"It was ironic to make a 30-footer when I had missed some six to eight footers that you need to make to hold onto the lead," West said. "Brian just went out and played an excellent, clean round of golf. I couldn't be happier for him. I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to get it in one or two better."
West, who was trying to win for the ninth time, shot rounds of 72-69-75 for a one-over 217. West could blame his loss on the par-4 16th hole, which he played in 4-over par for the tournament.
"I thought whoever shot par or better on the back nine was going to win," he said. "Brian played the best golf down the stretch."
West pointed out that when he was trying to win the CCGC title for a third straight year in 2012, Brian Dreier beat him.
And this year, when he was trying to break the tie with Robinson who holds the most championship titles, Brian Dreier was his nemesis again.
Ironically, Brian Dreier's father-in-law is Gary Robinson.
That may explain why Sutton Dreier is off to a good start in his young golfing career with his dad and grandfather as teachers.
"His granddad and I are trying to instill as much wisdom as we can," Brian Dreier said. "I think it's important for him to see me and his granddad play well. It gives him something to move him along and help him gain
Sutton Dreier won the CCGC Junior Division title in a playoff over Chris Bucholtz. Both players shot 167 in the 36-hole junior tournament.
Sutton Dreier parred the 18th hole while Bucholtz made a bogey to force the playoff. In the playoff on the par-4 first, Sutton hit his tee shot into a fairway bunker.
But he blasted the second shot to within 15 feet of the hole and made the birdie putt to win. Next up for Sutton Dreier will be trying to beat his dad on the course.
"He hasn't beaten me yet," Brian Dreier said. "But it's not going to be long. He already hits it past me. He's going to put together a good round, and I'm going to have a so-so day. But I'm going to beat him as long as I can."
13-year-old Taft Courie won the first year of the CCGC Boys Middle School Division with rounds of 72-74 — 146.
Allison Ferguson shot 103-99 — 202 to win the Girls Middle School Division.
Charles Robertson won the men's Open Division with rounds of 77-82-81 — 240. He won by two shots over Brett Miller and Jon Riddle.
Mike Lane took the Senior Division title with rounds of 73-74-74 — 221.
Scott Azzarelli finished two shots behind. In his 27th consecutive CCGC tournament, Charles Franks was the Super Senior champ with rounds of 82-79 — 161. He won by four shots over Ray Miranda.
Jennifer Eavenson shot 84-91 — 175 to win the Women's Division CCGC Title three shots over the 2020 Women's Champion Clara "Duckhee" Brown.
"I'm pleased with the momentum the tournament is getting," said tournament director Bill Bowman.
"These are the champions of tomorrow. They will carry on the golfing tradition in Cumberland County. Yes, I think the tournament is in good shape for the future."
The 54th Annual Cumberland County Championship dates have been set for Oct. 7 – Oct. 9, 2022, with registration beginning on Aug. 1, 2022.
Gates Four will remain the "official" site of the CCGC with some new enhancements designed to make the tournament more enjoyable, competitive and accessible to more Cumberland County golfers.
Additional information and tournament updates can be found on the CCGC website: www.cumberlandcountygolfclassic.com.