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|Criswell captures Panola title|
No coulda, woulda shoulda this year.
And no 13th Panola Woods Country Club men's championship for Mitch Ashmore.
One year after losing to Ashmore on the second playoff hole, Vidalia native Richard Criswell turned the tide, defeating Ashmore on the second playoff hole to claim his fifth men's title on Sunday.
"It all played out just about the same way," Criswell said. "I was struggling a bit coming in and Mitch is such a great competitor. It was nice being able to take one away from him because he is always taking away from us."
Criswell and Ashmore both finished at 151.
Ashmore had won three straight going into the weekend. Criswell won his last title in 2007.
"I don't think anyone envisioned this happening again," Ashmore said. "But I'm happy for Richard. He deserved it."
Criswell's fifth title ties him with Bill McMahon in second place for most men's championships at Panola Woods.
Criswell, who fired a tournament-best round of 74 on Sunday, actually thought he was one stroke behind when he headed to the clubhouse.
"It was odd," Criswell said. "I lost a ball on No. 10 and ended up with a double bogey, but made a birdie on 11. Around hole No. 15 someone asked where we stood and in my mind I was thinking I was three back, when I was actually only two strokes back because I forgot about the birdie. We got to 16 and he got into the woods to the left and had a double bogey and I made a bogey. On 17, I hit two good shots in front of the green and chipped in an eagle and Mitch had a birdie, so I was thinking I was one behind. I hit my driver off to the right on No. 18, but luckily it hit a tree and came back in bounds about two club-lengths. I thought I was still one behind when I just walked up and slammed a six-footer home like there was nothing to it, when I was actually tied with him. It almost lipped out Everyone was trying to congratulate Mitch, but he kept saying not until we add it up. Well, sure enough, I had a 74 instead of a 75."
"It's frustrating to lose a 3-stroke lead, but that's part of it," Ashmore said.
Both players parred the first hole.
"I knew I needed to try and win it on the first hole because he hits it a lot higher than I do and could clear the trees on the second hole," Ashmore said.
Criswell got his tee shot over the trees on the second hole and was able to birdie the hole, whereas Ashmore had a par.
"It was a crazy day," Criswell said. "It was like a sauna out there, so it was tough to keep your concentration. And I had not been playing much because I am working at Cenla Recycling in Alexandria. But it was fun playing with Mitch again. We both poor-mouth about getting old and not being able to play like we used to. It was a tough day for a lot of people. It's kind of like in any tournament, just about the whole group has the same type of day depending on how the course is laid out and the conditions."
Ashmore did claim the Senior Club Championship.
"I'm not naive enough to think I can come out here and win it every year," Ashmore said. "But it's always a lot of fun and I'll be back next year and we'll see how it turns out."
Jeremy Wood and Matt Malone finished in a tie for third place at 154. Malone finished tied for third last year with a 156.
Bill Colvin fired a 155, while Wayne Miley came in at 157 and Keith Dallalio and Larry Wagoner finished at 159.
Miley won the Super Senior Championship on the second playoff hole against Babe Huff, who won the first flight at 157.
George Cupit was second in the first flight at 165. Coye Pace was third at 166. Pat Hinson and Jerry Johns tied for fourth at 167.
Mike Smith won the second flight at 168, followed by Doug Wike at 170 and Ellis Knapp at 173.
Lee Rife was fourth at 184.
Clyde Savoy won the third flight with a 158.
Savoy had the only other 74 in the tournament, following his 84 on Saturday with 10 less strokes on Sunday.
Eddie Waltman was second at 174 and David Jones third at 176. Sam Lancaster came in at 179.
Joe James won the fourth flight with a 175. Bobby Enterkin shot a 181, while John Rife was at 184 and Larry Reynolds at 187.
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