Terry Hertzog played two games at the Blaisdell Pro-Am on Tuesday.
First, he teed off his round of golf at Pennhills Club with the day’s first pairing at 9:30 a.m. He eventually turned in a round of 67, three strokes under par.
Then, Hertzog would need to play the waiting game.
“I thought I would be one stroke short when I finished,” Hertzog said. “I guess it showed how tough the pins were today. I think everybody knew that if they got to four-under, that was going to do it.”
When Hertzog finished his round, the tournament’s last group had yet to begin play. He knew that his score would give him a chance to claim the $50,000 prize awarded to the Pro-Am’s winner, but also knew that four-plus hours of waiting would be required before he could be sure.
“I went to a buddy’s hotel room and asked if they had an office,” Hertzog said. “I just needed to distract myself for a couple hours. I did some work, checked emails and things like that. It was good for awhile, and then I’d check the scores online, and the further along it went the more I started thinking that I could actually win.”
Hertzog’s name sat at the top of the leaderboard for hours. Eventually, when the final group finished the 18th hole around 5 p.m., his score held up to edge runner-up Kirk Stauffer by a stroke.
Zippo Manufacturing Company owner George Duke presented Hertzog with a check for $50,000, a trophy and a one-of-a-kind Zippo lighter to commemorate the event, which Zippo exclusively sponsored.
“I told (Duke), I’ve won a couple Pennsylvania Opens, I’ve won our section championship three times in Philadelphia, and I’ve never come close to winning 50 grand,” Hertzog said. “I think the biggest check I’ve ever won is $15,000. The generosity to have a tournament where you can win this much money is amazing.”
Hertzog hails from Lititz, located in Lancaster County, and serves as a golf instructor at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, regarded as one of the top courses in the United States.
He started the day with an eagle on the first hole and a birdie on the second. Sitting at three-under with 16 holes to go, consistent play the rest of the way would be required.
“I’ve learned the hard way. If I start thinking any further than this hole, the shot I have at the time, it doesn’t usually turn out well,” Hertzog said. “You wind up thinking about the check, you start getting tense and then you hit bad shots.”
Hertzog would birdie holes eight and 13 while bogeying 11 and 16. On 16, he battled a slick, sloped green, a characteristic of the course he described as challenging.
“I thought that some of the hole locations were really difficult if you were on the wrong side,” he said. “If you weren’t careful on some of the slopes, the ball could really get away from you. They had a little more speed today than yesterday.”
Stauffer, a Bradford native representing Chautauqua Golf Club, birdied the 18th hole to pull into second place. He also birdied four, six and 11 while bogeying three and five.
Jeffrey Martin, of Attleboro, Massachusetts, and John O’Leary, of Sterling, Virginia, each finished at one-under to tie for third place. Those four were the only competitors to finish under par, which Pennhills club professional John Rook said spoke to the difficulty of Tuesday’s layout.
“The course was immaculate. Greens were rolling fast,” Rook said. “What made it tough today was the wind, especially on the back nine. It was tough to gauge and seemed like it was blowing pretty quickly, so that’s what made the scores jump up.”
Tuesday’s event followed Monday’s Pro-Am outing, in which two professionals were randomly paired with three amateurs. The groups played for prizes out of a $20,000 purse.
The team of Tim Hall Jr., Corey Haas, John Nick Forrest, Curtis Knight and Stephen Kusenko won low gross honors with a 15-under 125, while the low net crown went to the team of Dave Reid, Chris Simon, Jonas Vossler, Andrew Duvall and Tim Fries, who turned in a 24-under 116.
“The weather couldn’t have been better the last two days,” Rook said. “A little sprinkle here (today), but the weather has been horrible in Bradford this summer.”
This was Hertzog’s third time playing in the Blaisdell tournament, an event that he said he learned about from Simon, a longtime friend and area native.
With a smile on his face and prize in his hand, Hertzog thanked each of the tournament’s organizers while prompting a collective chuckle from the crowd with his plan for future Blaisdell events.
“My goal now is to keep this tournament as quiet as I can,” he joked.