When Scott Heyn and Corby Segal emerged as winners of the 15th Annual Straight Down Fall Classic Pro-Am Tournament, it ended a tour de force of ties.
After finishing the first round tied for second place with a seven-under 64 on Saturday, the Heyn-Segal pair was still tied with five other teams at 10-under, including their final-round foursome mates Ricky Barnes and Andrew Medley, after 10 holes Sunday.
They soon pulled ahead with a birdie putt from Segal. That moved them into a tie with the teams of Fred Couples and Nick Shaw and Ryan Kennedy and Nick Amen at 11-under.
When the round ended at San Luis Obispo Country Club, Heyn and Segal were tied for first with Couples and Shaw at 13-under after another birdie putt from Segal on the 18th hole.
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Segal, the amateur in the duo and a caddy on the PGA Tour, putted for par on the first and only playoff hole in front of hundreds at the clubhouse, to beat the bogies of World Golf Hall of Famer Couples and Shaw. “Corby putted the lights out today,” Heyn said.
Segal also made a 30-foot putt on 16 to birdie. After an early bogey in the final round, the pair realized that they needed to be more aggressive, but neither player lost their sense of enjoyment.
“It is the most fun event, and the biggest event, that Straight Down puts on,” Heyn said.
Many of the top teams went head-to-head on the second day because of team tee-off redistribution, which made for competitive and exciting play. One scorekeeper expressed trouble keeping track and changing the score sign of the Barnes-Medley and Heyn-Segal scores, which fluctuated around nine-under for a fair amount of the morning.
The same went for the scores of Templeton native and Atascadero High graduate Roger Tambellini and his partner Mark Nicoletti, who were stuck around seven-under for the first ten holes.
The pair eventually worked its way up to third place after Tambellini birdied on the 18th hole, finishing 11 under with a score of 132.
The annual Fall Classic is not like other golf tournaments because it provides a chance for the public to see professional and amateur players up close.
“It’s a great tournament for the citizens of San Luis Obispo,” PGA Champions Tour golfer Loren Roberts said. “They can walk down the fairway. It has a great feel.”
The atmosphere of the tournament is what keeps Roberts, a San Luis Obispo native and Cal Poly graduate, coming back each year.
“It’s my hometown, and it’s nice to come out and see people that I only get to see once a year,” Roberts said in between signing autographs and taking pictures with aspiring young golfers.
He also gave credit to Mike Rowley, his partner and founder of Straight Down Clothing Company, for inviting him back each year and for his sponsorship of the tournament. Roberts and Rowley won the tournament in 2010, finishing this year nine shots under par with a net score of 134 in a tie for eighth place.
Members of Straight Down’s Touring Pro team excelled at the tournament, including Larry Mize who tied for eighth and Heyn, the Club Pro Champion.
Kennedy, who also awarded the Club Pro Champion title, and his amateur partner Amen, finished the day seven under and the tournament 11 under with a score of 132.
“It was ver y much a team effort,” Kennedy said.
Each player made four birdies on Sunday and stressed the importance of fun during the tournament.
Said Roberts: “It’s always a good day at the Straight Down Fall Classic.”