By Mike Dougherty
SCARSDALE – The adrenaline was pumping as Brian Komline watched the ball settle on the green on his final hole, thinking he needed to make one more birdie.
And then he got a good look at the slippery putt.
“I had to shift gears,” Komline said “It was a slider, and really fast so I was pretty happy just to make par and get in.”
Quaker Ridge Golf Club rewards that mindset.
Komline captured the Hochster Memorial by one shot with a 6-over total of 146 on a course that only surrendered birdies reluctantly. The member at Black Oak Golf Club in New Jersey went 76-70 and outlasted Ken Bakst, a three-time winner here who defied his age and the heat before losing momentum with four holes to play.
“I was trailing by three strokes when I finished my round,” Komline said. “I knew that Ken still had to play 15, 16, 17 and 18 and those are difficult holes. “I got lucky. Ken has won so many titles over the years. Sometimes it’s not enough to play well. Sometimes you need luck on your side, too.”
Komline, 41, was optimistic despite finishing the opening round with a score that left him in chase mode the rest of the day. He made a couple of bad swings, resulting in a double bogey on the 11th hole and then a triple bogey on the 16th.
“I knew that everything would be fine as long as I stuck to my game plan,” he said. “I just made a string of pars and three in a birdie or two. I really played well, kept on grinding and grinding and making pars. It was so hot. You couldn’t drink enough water, so it became a battle of attrition. I was fortunate to wind up one stroke ahead of Ken.”
Bakst won this event in 1992, 1996 and 2009.
The former member of Sunningdale Country Club in Scarsdale who built Friar’s Head is also the 1997 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion. He was sailing right along most of the day until failing to get through an 8-iron from the middle of the 15th fairway.
A bogey on the hole left him at 5-over.
Bakst toed a driver on the 16th and landed in the rough along the right side of the lengthy par 4. His approach clipped a small branch and came up short of the green. He chipped well short of the hole, then proceeded to putt three times to card a double bogey 6.
“Sloppy,” he said to himself walking off. “Terrible.”
Komline was resting comfortably on top of the leaderboard, but he kept the golf shoes on until a long birdie putt from Bakst on the 18th green wandered off line.
It would’ve been a popular win among the graying and balding.
“That was my tournament right there, on 15 and 16,” said the 57-year-old Bakst, who is hosting The Ike stroke play championship at Friar’s Head next week. “When you’re out on the golf course in the heat of battle, you’re not thinking about nostalgia. You are focused on executing a golf shot.”
Ned Zachar of GlenArbor Golf Club was the top local finisher. He tied for third place at 148. James Nicholas of Westchester Country Club was tied for ninth at 10-over par.
William Rice Hochster Memorial Tournament
At Quaker Ridge Golf Club
1. Brian Komline (Black Oak) 76-70-146
2 Ken Bakst (Friar’s Head) 70-77-147
3. Ned Zachar (GlenArbor) 77-71-148
3. Matt Lowe (Colonial Springs) 75-73-148
3. Gregg Angelillo (Baltusrol) 75-73-148
3. Nick Desa (Baltusrol) 72-76-148
7. Bryan Pendrick (Mill Rive) 77-72-149
7. Tyler Gentilella (TPC Eagle Trace) 73-76-149
9. Jamie Miller (Wanakah) 74-76-150
9. James Nicholas (Westchester) 72-78-150
11. Ethan Wall (Manasquan River) 82-69-151
11. Hans Albertsson (Ekwanok) 79-72-151
11. Greg Reilly (Darien) 76-75-151
11. Luke Feehan (Mahopac) 76-75-151
11. Trevor Randolph (Arcola) 71-80-151