By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor
As long as he has played golf, Tom Yarson has known Allan Bowman.
Bowman is the head golf pro at Cherry Valley Country Club, (CVCC) where Yarson grew up as a member.
A Montgomery High graduate, Yarson won the CVCC Club Championship in 2015 and 2016. Bowman has been at Cherry Valley since 1993 and has been the Director of Golf since 2000 at course that is located in Skillman.
Suffice to say, the two players know each other well on and off the course.
On July 25, the two combined to win the National Car Rental New Jersey PGA Pro-Scratch tournament that was played at the Hamilton Farm Golf Club in Gladstone.
“We were playing against 80 other teams,” said Bowman, who finished the day with five birdies. “Typically all the pros bring the best amateur, whether it is a member of their club or a friend.”
In the format of the tournament, both players played each hole and whichever player produced the best score, that was the score that was posted for the team on that particular hole.
Bowman recorded five birdies and Yarson scored three birdies over the course of the round. The two did suffer one double-bogey, but their final score of 6-under par was good enough to capture the championship. Besides the tournament trophy, Bowman received a check while Yarson was the recipient of gift certificates to the pro shop.
“We had a nice game plan going in,” said Yarson, a recent Rider University graduate. “We told each other, if we make birdies, we could win and we pretty much did that. We birdied the first hole and went a little downhill after that and lost a little focus. And then Allan chipped in from a spot that was impossible and we took off from there.”
Knowing each other as well as they do, the two golfers from CVCC were able to shake off the double bogey and were sharp for the rest of the way to earn the title.
“Tom and I played last year and finished one shot out of the money,” Bowman said. “We looked at each other and said we didn’t play great and we were not that far off from winning. We looked at each other and said we could do this. Thomas won the club championship last year for the second year in a row. We went in this year and said let’s tee it up there and try again.
“It came together. We had a little ham and egging going on a couple of holes. We had to rely on each other. I chipped and then couple holes later he chipped.”
Bowman has been making an impressive recovery from a fractured ankle he suffered nine months ago. He was playing solid golf before the injury and has picked right back up where he left off since returning to the course.
“They said it is about a 15-month recovery, so I had just started to get back to playing,” Bowman said. “I have been playing nine holes or 18 holes. Before I got hurt, I was playing some of the best golf of my life. Last year I qualified for the National Senior Club Pro Championship and was supposed to play 10 days after the injury. I was excited to qualify.”
Yarson is coming off a fine career at Rider, but has had less time on the course as he moves into the working world.
“I don’t compete as much anymore,” Yarson said. “Now that I am working full time, I try to play when I can. I have a job as an executive recruiter so that will take up a lot of time. The tournament was a lot of fun to play in. I’ve known Allan since I started playing golf when I was 4 years old. He played very well.”
Bowman was happy to get a chance compete against a talented field with an excellent partner.
“My number one commitment is to the members of the club and that hasn’t changed,” Bowman said. “If time allows, I will tee it up a little. I played in a pro-am at Echo Lake (Country Club in Westfield) last week and shot a 70. I always like to get out and play when I can.
“It was good to get to play with Thomas. We both seemed pretty calm, even when it was going bad. We just waited for our opportunity. He is so steady. He was a good college player and he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes.”
By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor