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Published Sunday, September 10, 2000,
in the Akron Beacon Journal.

LOCAL GOLF/SHAW CUP

Hello! D'Avello answers the call

Pressed into service, he helps Public Team to a three-point lead

BY BRIAN WINDHORST
Special to the Beacon Journal

When the call came at 8:30 yesterday morning, Doran D'Avello was in his car with his morning paper and was headed toward Starbucks.

About 25 minutes later, he found himself standing on the first tee at Good Park, ready to play for the Public Team in the first day of the sixth annual Shaw Cup.

And play, he did.

D'Avello, who had to be pressed into service when Shaw Cup teammate Rick Merrow's back stiffened up, and playing partner Steve Fricker won one match and halved the other to help the Public Team take an 8 1/2-5 1/2 lead after the first day of the event.

``I gave Larry (Public Team captain Larry Zimmerman) my cell phone number last week and told him to call me if something happened,'' D'Avello said. ``And today, I played very well; I had nothing to lose.''

But D'Avello and Fricker weren't the only heroes yesterday for the Public Team. Every player on the squad contributed at least half a point to the cause, and it leaves the team in good position going into today's 14 individual matches at Prestwick Country Club.

In fact, at one point during the morning two-man best-ball round, it looked as if the Public Team might take all seven matches from the Private squad and turn it into a rout.

The Private Team never led a match at any point in the morning round and trailed every match heading to the 18th hole.

But the Private Team avoided a morning sweep by winning the 18th hole in three of the four matches that when that far, earning three halves and 1 1/2 points, to trail just 5 1/2-1 1/2 instead of 7-0.

The biggest stroke came from Don Padgett III, who proved to be the hero for the Private Team on the day, when he drained an 8-foot, sidehill, downhill putt for par on the final hole that gained him and teammate Sam Spino a halve with Chris Minear and Ron Bell.

Bell and Minear had once led the match by four holes, thanks to a 3-under 32 on the front nine.

It seemed to pump a little life into the Private Team, which took four of the seven afternoon alternate shot matches to get to within striking distance. Leading the way was Padgett again, rolling in a 20-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole to give him and partner Ron Hauenstein a 2 and 1 win over Larry Horner and Tim Davis to make the score 7 1/2 to 5 1/2.

But D'Avello and Fricker closed out their match with Dave Pulk and Kurt Peterson 2 and 1, a few moments later to get the Public Team a comfortable lead, but far from the expected runaway.

``We were really able to cut the gap in the afternoon,'' Private team captain Mike Cassell said. ``I really thought we might find ourselves down seven at one point.''

But the most touching moment of the day came early in the morning, when 14-year-old Nick DelMedico, an 8th grader with spina bifida, hit the ceremonial first ball. Nick is part of the Challenge Golf Program, which has received more than $125,000 from the event over the past five years.

The matches resume today at noon, and the Public Team will need to win four points to regain possession of the Shaw Cup, which it won four times in a row before last year's 18-10 loss. The Private Team needs 8 1/2 points to get at least a tie, which would allow it to hold onto the cup.


Messages for Brian Windhorst can be sent to bwindhor@thebeaconjournal.com.


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