Local golf: Zinn claims Calhoun County Senior Championship
by Al Muskewitz
Sep 13, 2013 | 8976 views |  0 comments | 56 56 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Chip Howell hits onto the green on Number 8 at Anniston Municipal Golf Course during the Senior Tournament. (Photo by Stephen Gross)
Chip Howell hits onto the green on Number 8 at Anniston Municipal Golf Course during the Senior Tournament. (Photo by Stephen Gross)
As celebrated as Mike Zinn’s victory in the Calhoun County Senior Championship was among the regulars at the Anniston Municipal Golf Course, no one was more surprised by it than the guy who won.

Zinn couldn’t remember the last time he won an individual title, but he claimed his first county major Thursday by shooting a 2-under-par 68 on the course he’s played regularly for years.

The 59-year-old retired school system maintenance man won by a shot over Chip Howell and Steve Davis. David Martin, looking for a record-tying sixth county crown, was another shot back at even-par 70.

“I wasn’t expecting this,” Zinn said. “I said I’m just going out and try to pull my points like I do in our Saturday morning game and not embarrass myself. I’m tickled to death.”

Zinn had four birdies and two bogeys. He got to 2-under with a birdie on 1. That left him with the tricky par-3 second to finish.

The pin was on the lower level of the three-tiered green and wanted to make sure he didn’t go long like he did when bogeying the hole as No. 11 earlier in the round.

He hit a 6-iron off the tee short of the green, then thought he stuck his 60-degree wedge into the ground, but the ball came out nicely, caught the middle deck and rolled back to gimme range for his clinching par.

“Pat O’Brien told me just go out and have fun,” Zinn said, referring to the former County Senior champion and long-time playing buddy at The Hill. “I’ve got to call him about this.”

Howell and Davis both had chances to at least force a playoff.

Howell left five-foot birdie putts short dead on line on each of his last two holes and Davis missed a 2 1-2-foot par putt on his last hole.

Howell, unaware what Zinn was doing on the course, had five birdies and four bogeys on his round. His birdies on 3, 5 and 12 came immediately after making bogey.

“You can make big numbers on 17 and 18 so I was tickled to have birdie putts at them,” Howell said. “Just one more (stroke) than I needed.”

Davis was 2-under after back-to-back birdies on 18 and 1. It looked as if he might be headed for playoff without playing partner Bob Mosakowski. On his final hole he ran a 15-foot uphill birdie putt past the hole, then missed the par attempt coming back.

“That’s the only short putt I missed all day long,” Davis said. “I hit the ball about as good as I could hit it. I was never in a bad position all day long.”

Martin was most disappointed. He had won five previous County Senior titles and needs one title more to tie Chris Banister and Eric Hamilton for the most county championship titles.

Martin, 69, had three putts stop within two inches of the cup — one that hung on the lip — and bogeyed No. 10.

“It’s hard to swallow to get that close to No. 6 and not get that thing,” Martin said. “These things are hard to come by and I’m getting a lot older than these young boys — a lot older. This might have been my last good chance to get it.”

Martin did win his age division (65-69), as did Zinn (55-59), Allan Mangham (50-54), Vernon Marcoullier (60-64) and Lois Carter (70-and-up). Davis had the longest drive and Norris Ray won the closest-to-the-pin prize.

Sports Writer Al Muskewitz: 256-235-3577. On Twitter @almusky_star.
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