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Lynch, Couture master field.

Byline: Jay Gearan

SUTTON -When Pat Lynch boards his plane home to California today, his luggage will be a little heavier. But he's used to that. And he'll be smiling as he soars west.

For the fifth time, Lynch will be bringing home the first-place Masters Flight trophy he won with Paul Couture at the annual Pleasant Valley Country Club Invitational Sunday.

With solid play, Lynch and Couture, a PV member and a master of the long putter, won six of their seven matches throughout the weekend, amassing points and again entering the winners' circle.

"I'm erratic, but Paul is very steady," said Lynch, who lives in Redondo Beach, Calif., but always makes the PV Invitational a key stop during his August vacation. "We made a lot of birdies especially on the final day. From just about anywhere on the green, Paul is so good at putting."

And Lynch isn't worried about his team's chances in this tournament three years down the road when long putters will not be allowed because of the recent USGA flatstick rules' change.

"Paul was a good putter before the ban," Lynch said, "and he'll be a good putter after the ban."

Runners-up in the Masters Flight were Jason Finne and Jeff Burkey. Finishing third was the only team to beat Couture and Lynch, Jay Kunkel and Dale Smith, who made a bold prediction when the Invitational ended, stating emphatically, "We will win this in 2014, that's a guarantee."

In the popular three-day event, Anthony Vigliotti, Worcester District register of deeds, and his son, John, repeated as Walker Cup Flight champs, going unbeaten through seven matches.

Gary Petro and Bob Beckwith won the U.S. Open Flight. Petro eagled the 13th hole, firing a 7-iron shot into the cup from 150 yards. Beckwith, of Blackstone National, was coming off an invitational victory last weekend at Oak Hill CC, where he won with former PV member Joe Sova.

In the Ryder Cup Flight, Joe Burke and John Blood, from Austin, Texas, were the winners, highlighted by Burke's first career hole-in-one on Saturday.

"It came on the third hole, played as our first," said Burke, who aced the 174-yard shot with a 6-iron, the ball taking a couple of bounces and diving into the cup.

"I've been waiting for a hole-in-one for 36 years," Burke, 50, said. "It felt outstanding."

Other flight winners included Tony Molinari and Mark Correnti in the President's Cup, John Gessner and Ben Moy in the Open Championship, and Ron Lukasevicz and Jeff Letourneau in the PGA Championship.

In the exciting end-of-the-tournament shootout, pitting all the flight winners in a "survivor" alternate-shot elimination format, beginning on the15th hole, Lukasevicz and Letourneau won it with a net par on the 18th hole, edging Couture and Lynch.

With a crowd surrounding the 18th green near dusk, Letourneau nestled a 50-foot putt to within a few feet for Lukasevicz to tap in.

"This was unbelieveable. And with all the pressure," Lukasevicz said. "Well, we've been friends since we've been 9 years old and this was such a great weekend."

"We had another good turnout for the Invitational," PV pro Paul Parajeckas said. "We had rain on Friday, but we were able to make up the rounds and get the whole tournament in."

ART: PHOTO

CUTLINE: Bob Beckwith, left, and Gary Petro follow an opponent's putt during the Pleasant Valley Invitational.

PHOTOG: T&G Staff/CHRISTINE PETERSON
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Title Annotation:SPORTS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Aug 12, 2013
Words:570
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