Already prevented from playing for a title at one major local golf tournament this year, John Mikiewicz and Tom Biscotti found solace at another.
And they plan on giving this one their best shot.
The defending championship duo finished with a 67, the third-best score of Friday’s preliminary round, to reach today’s championship flight of the John A. Allan Invitational Golf Tournament at Fox Hill Country Club.
“We didn’t have our best stuff, but we hung in there and still had a good score,” Biscotti said. “You have to get in. That’s number one.”
That’s something the pair had problems with earlier this month at the Wyoming Valley Country Club Classic. After winning that member/guest event in 2012, Biscotti and Mikiewicz couldn’t even enter the field three weekends ago when the WVCC filled its slots with club members who’ve been golfing there the longest.
“The bottom line was the tournament field was based primarily on seniority,” said Biscotti, who is a WVCC member. “I fell short this year. Obviously, it was extremely disappointing. Being two years removed from winning the tournament, not having a chance to compete was hard. We got over it.”
“Tom took it hard,” said Mikiewicz, who said the pair felt disrespected by the decision. “They wouldn’t let us in. We were disappointed. Tom and I feel strongly about that.
“It’s motivation for us.”
No such snubs at Fox Hill, where the defending champs easily made the 16-team championship flight. Biscotti and Mikiewicz will battle the team of Walter Kuharchik and Holy Redeemer High School’s state championship head coach Art Brunn Jr. at 7:40 a.m. today for the right to move into the eight-team afternoon rounds.
Kuharchik and Brunn opened with an even-par 70 on Friday.
Monmouth-bound Mariano Medico, Brunn’s star protege at Holy Redeemer who come off his second straight Golf Association of Philadelphia Junior Boys Championship on Thursday, also reached the championship flight.
Teaming with his brother Larry Medico Jr. for the second straight Allan Tourney, Mariano Medico used some steady play throughout the day to help the team finish with a 68. That sent them into a 7:20 a.m. round today against John Mulhern Jr. and Len Coleman, who finished with a 70.
The team of Brenden Carroll and Pat Ross carded the lowest score of opening day with a 64. They’ll tee off at 8:10 a.m. today against Michael Crossin and Evan Joyce, who wound up shooting a 71.
David Kluger and Eric Williams teamed up to shoot the day’s second-lowest score with a 65, and Robert Gill and Brian Corbett were right behind at 66.
But all of them seemed to be watching Mikiewicz and Biscotti, who matched the team of Dr. Paul Keating and Matt Teasdale with a 67.
“I think it’s a nice little perk of being defending champions — it gives you more credentials,” said Mikiewicz, a Fox Hill member who was overjoyed last season with his first Allan title. “It’s just a different environment going in. Last year was our chance to prove something. Now that we did it, we want to be even better.”
His guest takes just as much pride in attempting a second straight Allan title.
“Fox Hill is home for me, too,” Biscotti said. “I grew up playing this golf course. Winning the John Allan was probably my proudest moment as a golfer. I’m extremely excited to be in this again.”
Especially after the pair was shut out of the Wyoming Valley Classic.
“If there’s any extra motivation to be had, that certainly provided it,” Biscotti said. “Obviously disappointing, but now that we’re here, we’re just excited to play our best and defend our championship.”
If the preliminary rounds were any indication, that won’t be as simple as it sounds.
“Tom and I talked about this extensively,” Mikiewicz said. “Once we hit that tee-shot on the first hole, it’s a brand new game. It’s a new tournament. Nobody is going to give anything to us. Everybody wants to beat the defending champs.
“It almost puts a target on your back.”
Results for Saturday’s rounds were not available at press time. For updates, check out psdispatch.com and timesleader.com throughout the weekend.