Langdons win Milakovich in playoff
IRONWOOD — It took two full days of golf and three extra playoff holes, but Zack and Cody Langdon finally emerged as winners in the championship flight of the Milakovich Memorial Tournament at the Gogebic Country Club on Sunday.
After Pete Barbera sank his par putt on the 553-yard 18th hole, Zack Langdon made a hard-breaking 2-1/2-footer for a birdie 4 (and the win) on the third playoff hole.
Zack Langdon is from Ironwood, while his brother is from Marquette.
"It was nerve-wracking," Zack Langdon said. "I hit it hard because I didn't want it to break. It went in the middle of the hole. I've been second here before, so it feels great to win."
The last time organizers could remember a playoff was when Jim Malokovich and Rusty Malovrh won in 2004.
"It shows the caliber of golf in our area and how close everyone is," Jim Malokovich said.
The Langdons and Pete Barbera, of Alexandria, Va., and Pete Barbera Sr., of Jacksonville, Fla., entered the playoff when they both fired 68s on Sunday.
"We both missed 4-foot putts on No. 16 and that sure would have helped," Zack Langdon said. "We used our short game with chipping and putting. The scramble is the cure."
Pete Barbera said his team played well at the end of regulation with birdies on No. 12, 13, 14 and 17.
"We look forward to the Milakovich so much every year," he said before the playoff. "Now we've got a reason to hang around. They've done a great job with the course. We've been playing good leading up to the tournament. Now, we'll see if we measure up this year."
And they almost did, but the Langdons edged them and were first time winners.
Justin Borseth, of Bruce Crossing, and John Houle, of Green Bay, Wis. finished with a 69 and took third in the championship flight.
"We caught fire on the back nine with four birdies and no bogeys," Scott Erickson said. "We had a lot of good opportunities and birdies on No. 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18. The course was fantastic with all the water we've had."
Jason Asunto and Sam Davey, of Ironwood were second in the first flight by carding a 70.
After sweltering heat this past week reached the 90 degree mark, early morning tournament temperatures started in the high 40s and were cold enough Saturday evening that people were wearing pullovers, jackets and sweatshirts. But it remained mostly sunny through the tournament.
The golf course had been very wet all spring, but golfers said the course was "a little damp" but very playable.
"We had lots of compliments on the course," Jim Milakovich said. "Fred Tijan and his staff worked their tails off. I was very happy with all the work they've done and the condition of the course."
Club professional Tyler Leskela said a good course helped to make a great tournament.
"Three guys on the ground crew and not one bad comment."
Andy Borseth and Todd Roehm were medalists on Saturday by shooting a 66, which included a blistering 31 on the front 9. Paul and Guy Vaara also fired a 66, but lost out on medalist when the countback was traced back to the 18th hole. Borseth and Roehm made a birdie while the Vaaras parred the hole.
Joe Strong and Pat Peska were next with 68s, and Frank and Craig Zadra shot 69 on Saturday.
Six teams of golfers came in with a 70 and qualified for the championship flight on Sunday. Besides the Langdons and Barberas, they included Simon Store/Jordan Barto, Jim Usitalo/JohnMesich, Houle/Borseth, and Mark Martini/Chris Thomson.
Tim Steiger and Jack Croci, and Rusty Malovrh and Garett Greenwald also reached the championship flight with 71s.
One hundred two-man teams competed in 12 flights on Sunday.
When your family name has been on the tournament for years and years, you keep a watchful eye on everything that happens on the weekend. And Jim Milakovich did just that.
"I have a lot of thank-yous," Milakovich said. "I want to thank Tyler for all his work. We work well together and he wears many hats, including PR. I'd like to thank Chris Lahti for all the food, the bar and the service area. A big thanks should go out to all the volunteers. Without all those people, we couldn't get this done."