TYRONE, Pa. - The Sinking Valley Country Club Two-Man Invitational is special to Jimmy Gillam and John Handrigan, and not just because they've won the championship two years in a row and four times overall.

Gillam's father, the late Jimmy Gillam Sr., was the club pro at Sinking Valley and Handrigan was his assistant at SV for awhile.

"It's special because I grew up around here," young Gillam said of Sinking Valley. "I was always around for the two-ball. I used to work it as a little kid, so I have a lot of memories over the years here, and it's always been fun."

Now 21, the former Tyrone High School standout now lives in Altoona and will be a senior at Coker College in Hartsville, S.C.

Handrigan, now golf coach at Queens College in Charlotte, N.C., has known young Gillam a long time.

"I worked for his father here at Sinking Valley, and he took me in like a son," Handrigan said. "I met Jimmy through him, so we had a close relationship. Then I recruited him to Coker College, where I was coaching at the time.

"To be honest, the memories [of this tourney] are of Jimmy's dad," Handrigan said. "When I come here, it's his tournament because he was here so long, so it's an honor to win this one. It's the biggest tournament for us because of his father."

The Gillam-Handrigan duo won the 41st annual event by shooting best-ball rounds of 68, 61 and 64 over the weekend for a 193 total - four shots better than the runner-up team of Artie Fink and Bernie DeLoretto, who had rounds of 65, 69 and 63.

"Jimmy played really well [Saturday], and that put us in a commanding lead today," said Handrigan, 32, a native of Toronto, Canada. "We both played pretty solid today, making some birdies, but Jimmy putted really well. He made a lot of putts that made things a little easier for us."

The champs held off Fink and DeLoretto by sinking birdies on the last three holes Sunday.

"Jimmy birdied 16, I birdied 17, then he sunk about a 50-footer on 18," Handrigan said.

"Friday, we both played pretty lousy," Gillam said. "Yesterday, I played really well, and John was there when I needed him.

"Today, it was sort of the same deal. Even though we shot 3-under, we struggled on the front nine, but we played well on the back nine. We birdied the last three, and that was a nice way to finish."

Gillam and Handrigan will team up again next weekend to defend their title at the Park Hills Two-Man. When Handrigan returns to North Carolina, Gillam and Artie Fink will be teammates for the Iron Masters and Summit events, which they won a year ago.

Is Gillam looking for a repeat of the four titles.

"My goal always is to win," he said.

Championship flight: 1. John Handrigan-Jimmy Gillam 193; 2. Artie Fink-Bernie DeLoretto 197; 3. Anthony DeGol-Jake Biltz 201; 4. Greg Ferguson-Jimmy Ferguson 205; 5. Ben DelBaggio III-Terry DelBaggio 207.

First flight: 1. Wally Clapper-Spencer Hinish 209; 2. Ryan DelBaggio-Chris Perry 211.

Second flight: 1. Bill Allen-Mike Raley 212; 2 (tie). Brian Dinges-Brian Hall and Ben Walters-Mike Rook 214.

Third flight: 1. Henry Marche-Jim Roseberry 214; 2. Kevin Quinn-Nick Filak 215.

Fourth flight: 1. Doug Hershey-Josh Gibson 226; 2. Dan England-Dave Wertz 227.

Fifth flight: 1. Dave Panasetti-Scott Meredith 231; 2. Ronald Long-Tim Yingling 232.

Sixth flight: 1. Rodney Marshall-Mike Luther 232; 2 (tie). John Sisto-T.J. Keith and John Gummo-Scott Gummo 233.

By Jim Lane
Altoona Mirror