DALLAS TWP. — Before heading down to to begin their futures in Florida, Mariano Medico and Tyler McGarry wanted some fun in the sun back home.
They rounded up a group of buddies for the Potentate Golf Tournament finals and enjoyed one last blast in Northeast Pennsylvania.
It turned into a fond farewell party with their second straight Potentate title.
McGarry’s soaring eagle put the duo back in play early, Medico followed with the consistency he hopes will soon make him a pro and the M&M boys outlasted their close friends and former teammates Chase Makowski and Zack Mulhern by winning their second straight tourney championship match, 3-up in 16 holes on a balmy Sunday at Irem Country Club.
“We play well together,” Medico said. “It’s the karma, mojo. We got to the finals and we played steady.”
It may have been one of the final local amateur events for Medico, a former Holy Redeemer star and recent Syracuse grad who majored in economics. He plans to head to the West Palm Beach area within the next month and try to make one of the PGA’s tiered tours, following the path of former Pittston Area state champion and current Web.com tour player Brandon Matthews.
“I’m moving to Florida, I’m going to turn pro,” said Medico, who is leaning toward trying to get a low-level tour card and begin a career he hopes will someday put him on the PGA Tour. “Brandon was an inspiration and he’s doing well on the Web.com tour.
“If this was my last (amateur) one for awhile, what a great way to finish here.”
After spending a sun-splashed championship day when temperatures threatened 90 degrees, Medico and his playing partner will head south together.
McGarry, an ex-Pittston Area standout, plans to spend the next two years finishing up his college degree while golfing for Keiser University in West Palm Beach. McGarry began his college golf career at Misericordia, but transferred to St. Andrews University in North Carolina last year.
“(St. Andrews) wasn’t the right fit for me,” said McGarry, who also has his sights set on a pro golf career when his studies are done. “I’m going to Keiser, I’m really looking forward to it. We’re going to be playing a lot together.”
Before setting their sights on a Florida future, Medico and McGarry shared in one last blast from the past.
Medico was on opposite sides of the green from Makowski, who teamed with him to lead Redeemer to the 2011 PIAA Class 2A finals and the 2012 state championship before the two spent their freshman college season golfing together at Monmouth University.
“It’s tough,” Medico said. “I used to compete with him (Makowski) in high school. At the same time, we still want to beat each other. You can get off track real easy and start having conversations. You still need to stay focused.”
Meanwhile, McGarry teamed up for two years with former Wyoming Area High School regional qualifier Mulhern on Misericordia’s golf team. And although McGarry’s Pittston Area team and Mulhern’s Wyoming Area team were fierce rivals, the two apparently never were.
“I met Zack in high school, Zack and I spent two years at Misericordia together,” McGarry said. “We roomed together, got to know him better, had a lot of fun. You want to kill them out there, but at the same time, they’re your close friends.”
It was just as odd for the other side.
“I’ve had the experience of people watching you,” said Mulhern, who will be finishing up his final semester at Misericordia this fall. “It’s tough. The hands get a little unsteady, everything feels heavier. Nothing beats competing and challenging for you. Especially when I got to play against one of my best friends and with one of my best friends.”
Makowski had a chance to send the finals to a 17th hole, but his bid at birdie stopped just short of the cup to send Medico and Makowski to celebration.
“Couple more rolls and it would have probably dropped,” Makowski said. I just wanted to give it a run, extend the match.
“It was a lot of fun,” continued Makowski, a recent graduate of Monmouth with a degree in finance who relished the battle with his old buddy Medico. “It’s been awhile since we competed together. A lot of competition in high school, we have so many memories playing golf together. It’s cool to think you’re going against someone who was, and still is, one of your best friends.
“We gave it a good run.”
Initially, Mulhern and Makowski gave the eventual two-time Potentate champions fits — taking an early 2-up lead.
Then McGarry teed off on No. 4 with a 197-foot drive to the fairway and the day changed for good.
“I was very, very frustrated after missing a putt back on 2 and and hitting it almost out of bounds on 3,” McGarry said. “There was a little aggression on the drive. That kind of got me going.
“That was big.”
It turned even bigger when McGarry put his next shot into the cup for an eagle, trimming the team’s deficit to one.
“That was key for us,” Medico said.
From there, the duo steadily made par after par, increasing their advantage from one hole to three by the time No. 15 ended, and finished the match two holes early with yet another par on 16.
“It may have looked like it was a big pillow fight with a lot of pars,” McGarry said of the team’s second straight title. “But the greens were really bouncy, where you’d hit a good putt and it would roll out. Last year it wasn’t as wet.
”I thought we worked a lot harder for this one.”
Reach Paul Sokoloski at 570-991-6392 or on Twitter @TLPaulSokoloski