DALTON — It was a wire-to-wire win, but it wouldn't be fair to say that the Little Brown Jug victory by Chris Ferriter and Joe Wilson was easy.
The duo from The Orchards either led or was tied at the end of each of the first two rounds in the 45th edition of the best ball tournament at Wahconah Country Club.
"Every year when I come up and see the jugs and look at the names on them, just to reacquaint myself with them," said Ferriter. "I look at it every year and I've always wanted to see a jug with my name on it. In 2016, we're there."
The first-time champions had only one birdie on the front nine of the final round, but had four birdies on the back nine and held off defending champions Brent Dietz of the Great Horse Golf Club and Bill Tefft of Cedar Knob by two strokes. Dietz and Tefft were seeking their fifth championship since 2010.
Ferriter and Wilson finished with a 11-under-par 202 for the three rounds. Dietz and Tefft, who shot a 5-under 66 for the day's low score, finished at 204.
Mike McCarroll and Chad Stoffer, who were in a three-way tie with the eventual champions after the first day, shot even-par 71 in the final round to finish at 207, five strokes behind the winners.
While the champions had a good back nine, both Ferriter and Wilson say an early par saved their round, and maybe their championship.
"The tournament might have been won with Joe's par save on two today, early in the round," said Ferriter. "From that point on, we played really, really steady."
The second hole is a 220-yard, par 3 hole. Playing in the next-to-last group, Dietz and Tefft parred the second. It was the first of three straight pars for them. Ferriter and Wilson had birdied the first hole in the first round, but parred it the last two days. The second hole did not start off well.
"I did not hit a particularly good tee shot, and ended up in the bunker on the right" of the green, Wilson said. "It was a long bunker shot and I hit it pretty well. I left myself maybe 15 feet, and Chris gave me a perfect read on the putt."
Except for a birdie on the eighth hole, it was all pars on the front nine for the eventual champions. Wilson made the birdie on the eighth.
"After [the second hole], we played really steady. It saved our momentum," said Ferriter. "It was tough out there. At that point, it was a lot windier and the course was playing tougher, I thought.
"But after that putt, we settled down and I thought, played really well."
They might have been playing one hole ahead of the eventual champions, but Tefft said he and Dietz knew exactly what they had to do. They were keeping tabs on the foursome behind them.
"We knew where we were at," said Tefft. "Especially when we birdied 13, we figured we tied them for the lead because we knew on the tee we were one back. That's a good birdie."
That was the good news. The bad news came one hole later, when the defending champions shot a bogey on the par-5 14th hole. That turned out to be a two-stroke swing because Ferriter and Wilson birdied the hole. It was the first of three birdies on the final five holes for the eventual champions.
"We started a little in the hole," said Dietz. "We wanted to be six [under par]. Unfortunately, I think we needed to be seven. I think it would have been interesting if we got to six under for the day."
If there was going to be a real chance for the defending champions to catch up, the 2016 winners made it hard. After making the turn, Ferriter and Wilson birdied the par-4 10th hole. Wilson used an 8-iron and hit his ball to within five feet, and he rolled in the birdie putt.
"If I only had one tournament to play, I'd make it the Little Brown Jug," Ferriter said, shortly before receiving his trophy — an actual little brown jug.
"I tell everyone that."
1. Chris Ferriter/Joe Wilson 66-69-67—202; 2. Brent Dietz/Bill Tefft 70-68-66—204; 3. Mike McCarroll/Chad Stoffer 66-70-71—207; 4. Ross Fauteux/Rob Tedoldi Jr. 66-70-71—209; 5. Chris Burke/Matthew Perry 71-67-72—210; 6 (tie) David DeMarco/Lance Hope 68-72-72—212, Glenn Stopera/Michael Stopera 69-74-69—212.
First — Randy Driscoll/Jeff Puleri 72-68-67—207. Second — Glenn Dickerson/Scott Manship 72-70-71—213. Third — Ron Cohen/Jay Taub 76-71-70—217. Fourth — Hiroshi Akimoto/James Smith 75-75-72—222. Fifth — John Salvini/William Shea 80-79-68—227. Sixth — Chico Gelinas/Leo Kruczkowski 76-75-73—224. Seventh — Tom Cooney/Ron Marcella Jr. 79-76-73—228.
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.