Turning 50 this year and never winning a Lancaster City Golf title, Tim Farrey was beginning to wonder if it was ever going to happen for him.
He’s competed in the annual event every year since his high school days, finishing second four times, three of those to his younger brother David who has 14 titles under his belt.
Three weeks earlier, Tim had just competed in his first senior tournament at Lancaster, and won the title by eight strokes over his next closest competitor.
Still, at 50, he wondered how much longer he would be able to compete with the younger golfers in the city tournament.
This was the year though, as Tim followed up last Saturday’s two-under-par round of 70 with a one-over 73 on Sunday, winning his first City Golf championship by one stroke.
“There is so much competition in Lancaster that it’s hard to do,” Farrey said. “But it felt like a heavy weight off my shoulders because I’ve wanted it for a long time.”
Farrey is no stranger to golfing in Sunday’s final group, as he has been there nearly a dozen times now, and was there again this year.
At the conclusion of Saturday’s first round, Tim was tied for the lead with Chad Olmsted, both of whom shot a 70 on Lancaster’s par-72 course.
Olmsted supplied the biggest highlight of the day, hitting a hole-in-one on the par-3 16th using his seven iron.
Derek Millin was one stroke behind the leaders on the first day with a 71, while Jeff Farrey sat at 72, and brother David at 73.
Tim and Jeff Farrey, along with Millin and Olmsted, made up the final group on Sunday, while the second-to-last group included David Farrey, Zach Hentrich, Caleb Gieseke and Dick Becker.
Going into the back nine on Sunday, Jeff Farrey, Gieseke and Becker all slipped out of contention, while Hentrich and Dave Farrey remained in the hunt.
Among the leaders, Olmsted and Millin were tied for the top spot, both at even par with nine holes to play, while Tim Farrey was one over, Dave Farrey three over and Hentrich four over.
On the front during Sunday’s championship round, Millin led the group by shooting a tournament-best 37, while Olmsted, Hentrich and Dave Farrey all had a 38, and Tim Farrey a 39.
On the back is where Tim really shined and began to pull away from everyone else on his way to collecting his first city championship.
With back-to-back birdies on the 12th and 13th holes, Tim essentially made it a three-player race with five holes to play, dropping to one under par. Millin remained even, and Olmsted went to two over at that point.
With four straight pars, Dave Farrey remained at three over, but then bogied the 14th, leaving him at four over with four holes to play.
Hentrich took a double bogey on the 11th, and followed with a bogey on the 12, putting him at seven over with six to play.
Olmsted and Millin each gained a stroke on Tim, when they each recorded birdies on the par-5 14th, and Farrey took a par.
With four holes to play, Farrey and Millin were both sitting at one-under-par, while Olmsted was now one over.
It became a two-player race after the 15th and 16th holes, as Olmsted took bogies on both, then finished with two pars for a 39 on the back and a 77 on the day.
Farrey and Millin both took pars on the 15th and 16th to remain one-under for the championship going into the par-4 17th.
Playing 396 yards from the blue tees, the 17th requires a good approach shot to an elevated green. Farrey stuck his second shot to within eight feet of the pin, while Millin found the bunker on the left side of the green.
Millin’s sand shot came up short of the green, leaving him with a two-putt for bogey, while Tim knocked down an eight-foot birdie putt to take a two-stroke lead into the final hole.
“When I birdied and Derek bogied, that was kind of a turning point, but then I made a big mistake on 18,” recalled Farrey.
Both golfers hit decent drives off the par-5 18th tee, but neither had a real clear second shot.
“I didn’t practice what I preach,” said Tim. “I tried to make a perfect shot and it didn’t happen. I actually hit it into the hazard.”
“I had a little down-hill lye, and the club kind of bounced off the ground, catching the ball half-way up and it went into the shrubbery,” Tim added.
Forced to take an unplayable lye, Farrey followed up with an approach shot that found the green, where he putted for bogey.
Millin’s approach shot landed to the right of the green, leaving him with a chip shot and a 12-foot putt to force a playoff. He couldn’t get the birdie putt to drop, leaving him with a par and a second-place finish in the two-day tourney.
There to share in Tim’s shining moment were his brothers Jeff and David, along with his son Nate, all of whom were golfing in the tournament.
“After I made my putt, I could hear my brother Jeff say, ‘He’s got it,’” said Tim. “But one of the best parts about it was probably the handshake from my brother David. It was kind of a handshake hug.”
Tim’s score of 34 on the back nine was the lowest of the tournament, as he recorded three birdies, five pars and one bogey on the finishing nine.
His two-day score of 143 was one stroke ahead of Millin and four strokes ahead of Olmsted and his brother David who tied for third.
Hentrich finished fifth at 153, Jeff Farrey sixth at 154 and Gieseke seventh at 160.