By Gary Kalahar
Logan Anuszkiewicz walked away with another one Sunday.
With golfers allowed to ride carts for the first time in the Jackson Masters, Anuszkiewicz was the only player who chose to walk for both rounds on a warm weekend at the Grande Golf Club. He was literally the last man standing when he defeated Dave Crandall on the first hole of a playoff to put a stamp on one of the best seasons a Jackson golfer has ever compiled.
Anuszkiewicz birdied No. 1 from 8 feet to win the playoff after he and Crandall tied at 2-over-par 146 in the tournament’s debut at the Grande. Tom Raymond finished third at 148, and Steve Maddalena took fourth at 150.
Anuszkiewicz, headed into his sophomore year at Hillsdale College, had not won a major local tournament before this year. He has now won three in a span of two months, and he finished second and fourth in the other two to run away with the Golfer of the Year award. His Honor Roll point total is the third-highest in the 22 years the award has been presented, and he could still add to it at the Tournament of Champions.
“It’s been awesome,” Anuszkiewicz said of his breakout season. “I’ve wanted to win, and I was pretty bummed really after I put up a good round in the County Open (a 66 in the second round) and lost. That stung, and so coming out here I wanted to finish the year with a bang.”
Anuszkiewicz finished second by two strokes in the County Open, and that was all that separated him from winning the City Championship, Jackson Masters, Lyle Ambs and County Open – a feat accomplished just once before, by Dave Hill in 1955.
While Anuszkiewicz is getting used to winning, he had to turn back two players who both held up well in their first serious bid for a title. Raymond, the first-round leader by a stroke, still shared the lead with four holes to play. And Crandall, who said he was not nervous playing in his first appearance in the final group after beginning the day in second, stood alone in the lead on the 17th tee.
“I am happy with the way I played,” said Crandall, whose previous best finish in the tournament was a tie for 17th. “I’ve always thought I’m good enough to do it, I can’t ever get it together. I’ve always had confidence in myself. I’ve never put it together at the right time.
“Now I’m ready to start winning.”
Anuszkiewicz did hop on a cart for some of the lengthy jaunts between green and tee, but other than that, he was toting his bag.
“Walking helps me slow down a little bit,” he said. “When you’re riding, you’re to your ball like that. When you’re walking, you have time to think between shots. If you’re mad, you cool down. If you’re too happy, it’s time to mellow down. And with college coming up, I figured I better get used to carrying my own bag.”
There was plenty of both for Anuszkiewicz on a roller-coaster day that started with 10 players bunched within five strokes at the top.
Anuszkiewicz, playing in the next-to-last group, took apart the front nine. He sank birdie putts ranging from 4 to 25 feet on Nos. 1, 3, 6 and 9 for a 4-under 32 that shot him into a tie for the lead. He fell back with a double-bogey after finding a water hazard on the 14th and figured his chances were doomed after a bogey from the fringe on No. 17.
“I was pretty upset,” he said. “That was a big hole, and I just wanted to get it on the green.”
He got up and down for par from behind the 18th green to post the only sub-par round of the tournament, a 1-under 71, and wait for the final group.
Raymond, who had knocked in a 30-footer from the fringe on No. 11 for an eagle to get to 1 under, saw his bid end with three bogeys and a double bogey from the 13th through the 17th.
That left Crandall, who nicely saved par with a 5-foot putt on the difficult 16th to stand at even par and two strokes in front. But he pulled his tee shot on the par-3 17th into a hazard and took a double bogey. He made a run at a 20-footer for birdie on the 18th.
“I made one bad swing on 17 that cost me,” said Crandall, a timber buyer for Tri-County Logging. “I know everybody’s got the same kind of story … but I had it. Even if I make bogey, it’s good enough to win. One real bad swing, no doubt.”
Crandall’s birdie attempt from 17 feet on the playoff hole just slid past.
Todd Marston, who began the day a stroke off the lead and seeking his third Jackson Masters title 35 years after his first, tied for fifth at 151 with three-time champion Mark Kurzynowski.