By Mike Dougherty
EAST WILLISTON — Rob Labritz has impeccable timing.
The director of golf at GlenArbor captured Met PGA player-of-the-year honors by winning the Treiber Memorial on Friday at Wheatley Hills Golf Club. It’s a noteworthy achievement that is commemorated each season by the presentation of an Omega watch.
Labritz, 42, held up fine in trying conditions and finished with 25 points under the Stableford scoring system. Tam O’Shanter head professional Mark Brown wound up settling for second after birdie putts on the last two holes narrowly missed. He finished with a total of 21 points.
Kyle Baehler, a Sunningdale assistant, was third with 19 points.
“I was nervous over every shot, which was cool,” said Labritz, who also won player of the year in 2008. “That’s why I play. … It’s good to know my swing held up, and my putting is getting better, so I’m very happy.”
Labritz also won the Polo Golf Head Pro Championship and the Metropolitan Professional Championship. He got into the PGA Championship by holing out from the fairway in a playoff at the PGA Professional National Championship.
“I played good,” Labritz said. “To know that I had to win coming in here to get player of the year, and actually do it, makes it even better.”
Metropolis head pro Craig Thomas ran away with the senior title, finishing with 24 points. The 50-year-old from White Plains closed with nine straight pars and was nine points ahead of Mill River head pro Mark Mielke.
After struggling early in the season, Thomas closed with momentum. He won the MGA Senior Open in August, right after celebrating the milestone birthday, then came up with a pair of aces during a practice round for the Senior PGA Professional National Championship last week at Creighton Farms in Aldie, Va. Thomas holed out at the 15th with a 7-iron from 169 yards, and the 17th with a 5-iron from 205 yards.
He was playing in a group that included Mielke and longtime friend Brett Upper.
“I hadn’t hit first all day and they were hemming and hawing about what to hit,” Thomas said. “I was like, ‘C’mon already,’ and stepped up, hit a 7-iron. Upper says, ‘That’s in.’ And the greens have all these undulations, so I’m like, ‘Are you sure?’ We go up there, and sure enough, it was in.
“Mielke’s caddie snapped a picture of it and texted it to me. I sent my girlfriend the picture and wrote, ‘Hey, I just had a hole in one.’ I pushed send after we got on the 17th tee and it was time for me to hit, and then I did it again. They were like, ‘It went in. It went in.’ I was like, ‘You guys are messing with me. There’s no way.’ ”