(Photo courtesy of Pat DiMartino)
When he’s not playing golf, you might find Pat DiMartino at the gambling table.
If he were at the poker table, Pat DiMartino would have needed a number of perfect hands to pull off what he did to win the Panther Valley Golf & Country Club’s men’s golf championship in August.
He barely made into the Field of 8, having to win a playoff to break the tie-breaker to get the eighth seed. Then of course he went up against the No. 1 seed in the first round of the match play event. He won that one. Eventually making his way to the finals against Shane Edwards, DiMartino was down 3 holes with just four to go. Well, DiMartino won 3 holes to tie Edwards at the end. Into sudden death they went, and after matching each other on the first playoff hole, DiMartino won the second playoff hole not long after sending the crowd into a frenzy by executing a high-risk downhill flop shot that put him just two feet from the cup. After Edwards’ par attempt failed to find the cup, DiMartino went on to tap in his 2 footer for par to win the marathon match.
DiMartino, who is a professional poker player, got the golf equivalent of a Royal Flush when it came down to it.
“I was behind all match,” said DiMartino, a former football coach at Susquehanna University. “I felt like I had nothing to lose so the pressure kind of fell on Shane, who is a better player than me. Down the stretch I started to really get locked in, especially with my putter. The adrenaline boost from the spectators really helped me get to the finish line.“
The lefty golfer’s tee shot on the second sudden death hole pulled to the right but where he got a great lie.
“I hit a flop shot that got me into tapping distance, but it was a downhill slope,” said DiMartino, a member of the club for the past three years but his first time in the championship event. “After talking to my caddy, Tyler Wilson, I decided to be aggressive and just go for it. It was pretty nice! It was definitely a fun battle.”
“Pat definitely kept his cool,” noted Dan McCarthy, Panther Valley’s Golf Pro. “If you didn’t know any better you would have figured that he’d been in that same position several times before, considering how calm he was out there.”
In getting ready for the championship round, DiMartino did do some homework.
“I arrived early on championship morning to firm up my bunker play, flop shots, and putting,” he said. “Luckily that practice session went really well and gave me a lot of confidence in my short game throughout the match. Based on how poor my ball striking had been, I knew this was my only chance to win. The way it worked out, that proved to be the difference.”
DiMartino also gave a lot of credit to his caddy.
“Tyler Wilson understood that I enjoy the “Spieth-Greller-esque” player/caddy back-and-forth as I like to talk through all my shots and yardages extensively,” said DiMartino, who also runs a sports analytics website for fantasy sports fans. “Tyler did a great job all day and throughout the event. I’ve caddied for his brother (Pat) several times in the past, so it was fun to be on the other side of things.”
If DiMartino has one regret it is that his father, Patrick, Sr., was not there to witness the championship. His dad passed away earlier this summer.
“He would have really enjoyed seeing me win,” said DiMartino. “He would have gotten a real kick out of it.”
As far as Panther Valley golf championships go, this one definitely had some kick to it and will go down as one they’ll be talking about for a long time.
For more about Panther Valley and its golf memberships, visit panthervalleygolf.com.