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Bruce Takala started off Saturday’s final match like gangbusters.
Takala topped 2007 senior’s champion Eddie Sanchez on the eighth and ninth holes, where the pair started, to grab a 2-hole lead.
But it wouldn’t stay that way for long.
Sanchez scored back-to-back pars on the 10th and 11th holes and would eventually go up to stay, holding on for a 3 and 1 victory in Saturday’s Atomic City Invitational senior’s final.
“I hit the first two greens and Eddie didn’t,” Takala said. “When I was hitting the green, I was putting a lot of pressure on him.”
But Takala’s iron shots, which looked solid at the opening, would lose their touch later, even as Takala continued to boom his drives 40 or 50 yards past Sanchez’s.
Meanwhile, Sanchez stayed on or near the fairway throughout his round and made enough putts to earn his second straight title in as many tries.
The early 2-hole deficit didn’t faze the senior’s champion at all.
“In match play, there are a lot more holes left, but when you get behind, you can’t quit,” Sanchez said. “Being two or three down early doesn’t hurt you. Late in the match, it’s a different story.”