Mirabito-Stewart win playoff

NORTH NORWICH – Playing with the lead has proven a losing proposition of late at the Canasawacta Country Club Men’s Member-Guest Tournament. The 49th installment of the tournament bore a striking resemblance to the 48th as Tim Mirabito and Ken Stewart made up four strokes to chase down second-round leaders Tim Carson and Scott Seiler.

Mirabito and Stewart’s 4-under-par 66 forced a tie and the first playoff in the tournament’s near half-century history. On the first playoff hole, Mirabito sunk a five-foot downhill birdie putt on the 18th green, and clinched the title as Seiler’s long birdie try fell short earlier on the hole.

It was the second win for Stewart and Mirabito and Mirabito’s third overall. A decade ago, he grabbed the top prize with David Aust. Mirabito, affable and relaxed on the course, as is Stewart, was not thinking about shooting a specific number to make a run at Carson-Seiler. “You can’t worry what everyone else is doing, you just have to go out and make as many birdies as possible,” Mirabito said.

It was the second year in the row Carson and Seiler were in the final group. A year ago, the twosome was paired with leaders Bob and Mike Branham, and they were certainly not expecting the final-round 63 from Tom and Matt Ryan. The Ryans’ six-stroke comeback win set the stage for Saturday’s similar outcome. “We just couldn’t make any putts today,” Seiler lamented afterward.

Three teams found themselves tied or within one stroke of the Carson-Seiler standard on an exciting back nine. The hottest team on the course was several groups ahead of the leaders. Tom Porack and Brian Harmon moved to 6-under-par on the day and one shot back after a birdie on the 16th hole. Needing a birdie on the final hole to tie, the duo stumbled with a double bogey.

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