Hidden Valley's Jack Allara wins Roanoke Valley Hall of Fame Senior Championship  (6 years ago)

By Randy King
Jul 29, 2013, 08:03

The Roanoke dentist joins former champion Ned Baber as the only golfers to win both the men’s and senior men’s Hall of Fame titles.

Jack Allara putts during the final round of the senior championship. He won his first senior title. Photo by Rebecca Barnett, The Roanoke Times

Face it, there was no shortage of storylines at the 2013 Roanoke Valley Hall of Fame senior championships.

While Hidden Valley’s Jack Allara captured the 55-and-over title to join longtime valley golf icon Ned Baber as the only two players to win the men’s and senior men’s title in HOF history, Hanging Rock’s Fred Widdowson took home his second 65-and-over crown and promptly burst into tears in a post-round interview.

While an emotional Widdowson was getting the job done for an ailing friend, Allara fought his mind-set much of the way in his bid to match Baber’s feat.

“To join this great champion, Ned Baber, I thought about it a lot and it did add a little bit of pressure,’’ Allara said. “It made me nervous from the start. I mean Ned is a former State Amateur champion [1960], he’s been a great golfer for a long time and you know who he is. And to join him is an honor.”

Allara, 59, then laughed and delivered one of the one-liners he’s become famous for since he joined the local golf scene in the late 1980s.

“Who knows, maybe one day there will be an ‘Allara Bracket’ in the Roanoke Valley Match Play?’’ he said. “Of course, a lot of people would probably like to hurry up and knock me off so I don’t get that.”

Allara, who won the men’s HOF title in 2001, had to stave off a late charge from two-time winner Bill Nunnenkamp in order to sew up the victory. While Allara was going bogey-bogey, Nunnenkamp birdied Nos. 16 and 17 to close to one shot going to the final hole.

“I snuck up on [Allara], he wasn’t paying any attention to me,’’ Nunnenkamp said. “Then, he comes up to me on the 18th tee and says: ‘You’re only one behind now.’ I said, ‘yeah, Jack, you’re going to have to play now.”

Well, the Roanoke dentist responded. Allara promptly answered with a 105-yard wedge shot that nearly flew into the hole, leaving him with a tap-in putt to seal the win.

“I hit the best shot I hit all day,’’ Allara said. “I could tell it was on the pin and when it came down and I heard the reaction from the people sitting there I knew it was pretty good.”

Allara, who took a two-shot lead on Nunnenkamp into the day after a first-round 3-under 70 at Ashley Plantation, closed with a 75 for a winning 36-hole total of 1-over 145. Nunnenkamp (75) and Roanoke’s Jack Tuttle (73) tied for second, two shots back.

Sparked by day’s best scores — 73s by Tuttle and fourth-place finisher Jeff Lynch — Roanoke Country Club used its home-course edge in the final round to rally to a seven-shot victory over surprising first-round leader Ole Monterey for the team title. It marked the fourth senior team title in the past five years for RCC. Ole Monterey has never won a team crown in 40 years of HOF play.

“We’re getting there,’’ said ninth-year Ole Monterey head pro Kelly Crovo. “Ole Monterey has gotten tougher over the years and its made our guys’ games better.”

In the super seniors, Widdowson brought the magic all day to record his third HOF crown — the retiree won the seniors title in 2003. His other super senior win came in 2008.

This was the sweetest of all. For many reasons.

“I’ve got a good friend at Hidden Valley and she has struggled with some physical problems,’’ said Widdowson, 70. “Her name is Naomi Simpson. Her husband [Charles] passed away a while back. I didn’t tell her about this. Maybe I will see her in church soon.”

Widdowson closed with a 73 for a 36-hole total of 145.

“When you get five years into the age bracket you’re usually on the outs,’’he said.

“But when I finally birdied No. 9 to take the lead it made me feel like Phil Mickelson going into the back nine at the Open on Sunday.”

Blacksburg’s B.H. Rakestraw, the 2010 winner, tied with first-round leader Don Assaid of Ashley Plantation for second at 151.

“I don’t think Fred hit but two greens on the back nine, but he got it up and down all day long,’’ Rakestraw said. “Don couldn’t make any putts and I couldn’t hit any greens so that was pretty much it. Plus, Fred never gave us any help.”

Assaid, a class rookie, said: “It wasn’t like Fred was hitting terrific chip shots, he simply made every putt to save par. But I’m tickled with second. Realizing I can play with these guys is a real boost to my confidence.”

Led by Widdowson, Hanging Rock captured the super senior team title for the fourth time in five years, staving off Blacksburg County Club by two shots.

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