Eric Williams & Eddie Markowski battled Tommy Howe & Matt Froncek to a stalemate through 18 holes in the final round of this year's HGC Member/Guest. Markowski then drained a short par putt to win the match in sudden death.
Just a few weeks ago, Eric Williams and his son were having lunch at the Honesdale Golf Club.
Eric is one of the most talented linksters ever to emerge from Wayne County. He was a perennial all-star in high school and eventually went on to become a professional golfer before returning home to settle down.
The 35-year-old has been a dominant figure on the HGC scene. His name appears on the list of winners for many events. Eric has been junior club champion, men’s club champion and one half of a team that won the Member/Member.
On this particular afternoon, Benjamin Williams looked up from his lunch plate. By pure chance, the family was seated near the Member/Guest commemorative plaque.
The event has a long and storied history. For a quarter century, it was held in memory of John Carmody. After 25 years, the “Carmody Cup” was retired and a new, nameless trophy commissioned.
Sadly, the new cup didn’t remain nameless for very long. In 2002, longtime HGC member and event organizer Walter Markowski died of a massive heart attack while playing the course.
By June of 2003, elite golfers like Eric Williams were competing in the Member/Guest for the newly christened “Markowski Cup.”
Benjamin scrutinized the plaque mounted on the HGC wall.
“Hey, Dad...you’ve never won this one,” the wide-eyed, 6-year-old said innocently.
On Sunday afternoon, Williams finally etched his name on the HGC’s Member/Guest plaque. Eric combined with partner Ed Markowski to win the tournament in decidedly dramatic fashion.
Williams & Markowski battled Tommy Howe & Matt Froncek through an epic title match. Only after one hole of sudden death did this dynamic golfing duo finally claim the Walter Markowski Cup.
The final score was 1-up.
“I’m honored to have my name on the trophy,” Eric told TWI Sports. “Walter had a big influence on my game. He used to give me lessons at 6:30 in the morning when I was a little kid. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
Eric went on to say how happy he was to share this victory with Walter’s brother.
Ed Markowski is 55-years-old now. He is a respected professor at Old Dominion University in Virginia. Nevertheless, he makes the long drive each summer to represent the family at the tournament held in his late brother’s memory.
“We first talked about being partners the day of Walter’s funeral,” Eric recalled. “There was a brunch afterward and we pretty much decided right then. I think it’s great that he’s a part of this every year.”
The championship match seesawed back & forth all afternoon long before Williams & Markowski finally took command on the back nine. However, Howe & Froncek staged a desperate comeback bid over the course of the last few holes.
When the two teams arrived at the 17th tee box, it was still anybody’s match. Williams & Markowski held a narrow one-hole lead, but that quickly evaporated thanks to a brilliant birdie putt by Howe.
Tommy, who owns a previous Member/Guest crown from his days with former partner Mike Lynch, banged home an 8-footer to tie the match.
Williams & Markowski had a chance to win it at #18, but Eric’s chip from the right fringe drilled the flagstick and came to rest right next to the cup.
“I have to be honest with you: if that ball doesn’t hit the stick, it probably rolls 10 or 12 feet past,” said Eric with a chuckle. “I was just lucky.”
A buzz rippled through the big, appreciative gallery as the two teams headed for the first tee and sudden death.
Unfortunately for Howe & Froncek, Markowski dominated the 19th hole. Eddie stuck his approach shot on the front of the uphill green. He then calmly rolled his 22’ putt to within two inches of the hole. Markowski tapped in for par, which sealed the deal on a razor-thin victory.
“I’ve never seen him play as well as he did this weekend,” Eric said of his partner. “I think just about everybody was happy to see him win his brother’s cup. Eddie is a very good golfer and a good friend.”
In addition to the overall crown, Williams & Markowski also earned medalist honors for the tournament. The pair carded a sizzling 65 in qualifying action on Friday.
Williams & Markowski defeated Bill Cure & Mark Zefran to reach Sunday’s title tilt. The duo advanced via a solid 4&3 decision.
Howe & Froncek punched their ticket to the dance with a solid 2&1 victory over four-time defending champs Jimmy Gardas & Howard Vroon.
Bob Simons & Dave Weber earned consolation honors in the championship flight with a final round 68.
•First Flight: Irv Williams & Mark Albino defeated Ron Gardas & Dan Vroon, 2&1.
•Second Flight: Don Stanton & John Dyser defeated Dr. Newton Mullins & Carlyle Robinson, 4&3.
•Third Flight: Jim O’Neill & Bob McCloskey defeated Ed Martin & Spencer Williams, 1-up.
•Fourth Flight: Kim Johns & John Kowalski defeated Bob Rogers & HR Weiss, 4&3.
•Fifth Flight: Paul O’Neill & Dan Loring defeated Jeff Firmstone & George Muller, 3&2.
•Sixth Flight: Jim Gregg & Paul Zintel defeated Tom Nilsen & Lenny Henshaw, 2&1.