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Palladino prevails for the seventh time
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Honourary chairs are not supposed to win their own tournament in the year they are being feted.

Vince Palladino, of course, is no ordinary honourary chair.

With the Idylwylde Golf & Country Club celebrating one hundred years of golf history in 2022, the decision was made to recognize the man who has captured the prestigious Idylwylde Invitational more often than any other golfer.

That said, that same man, whose teenage son nearly cracked championship flight one year ago, last hoisted the Inco Trophy in 2011. After advancing through to the quarter-finals four years running (2016-2019), Palladino fell just short of the top-16 last summer.

For a man whose streak of 21 straight appearances in championship flight (in years he attended the tournament), from 1991 through to 2014, is almost assuredly never to be equalled, there had to be moments of self-doubt about entering the winner's circle again.

For the record, the longest current streak of championship flight appearances is four by Kyle Rank and Don Martone.

"It's been 11 years since I won my last one and you wonder," said Palladino, not all that long after closing out a truly memorable weekend with a 4 and 3 triumph over Joey Kremer in an all-Idylwylde final.

"You feel like you're doing good things, you feel like you've still got it inside you, but you wonder if it will ever happen again. This is my Masters, this is my Augusta; to be able to do it again is awesome."

The now seven time champion - the late Fred Silver sits second with five titles to his name - demonstrated his resiliency right from the start, surviving a five player playoff on Friday and securing one of the final two top flight spots available after carding a 75 in the qualifying round.

But with victories over Laurentian University veteran Jacob Lacko (2 & 1), perennial contender Jay Jewett (2 & 1) and recent NCAA graduate and red-hot North Bay golfer Ryan Neil (1 up), Palladino proved that he remains a ways still from coming back to the pack.

"I hit the ball really, really well," Palladino acknowledged. "Typically, I'm known to be a short game wizard. I'm not the longest guy out there; you've got guys driving it 40 to 50 by me. But tee to green, this weekend, I was as good as anybody."

He needed to be.

Two up on Neil in the Sunday morning semi-final with two holes to play, Palladino was reminded of the ever increasing strength of the field that tackles the Idylwylde. "He hit maybe the best chip I've ever seen (in competition) in my life," said Palladino.

"He holed it from off the green to a crazy pin top right. All of a sudden, you're only one up going to eighteen and he's a good forty yards longer than I am. But I stayed with it and when it really mattered, I did what was needed."

To some extent, his opponent also caught lightning in a bottle at just the right time.

"Honestly, I haven't really played much golf, maybe two rounds in the last five weeks before Friday," said Kremer, originally from Toronto but calling Sudbury home these past few years.

"I tried to do all of the little things right to make it as good a round as possible. Somehow, I just started playing my best golf of the year, even though I haven't been playing much."

Three straight close wins, all by scores of one-up (over Mike Roberts, Frank Kucher and Nick Hofland) ensured that Kremer was more than a little battle-tested by the time he would meet Palladino.

"I putted and chipped so well, but just missed a couple of that last match with Vinny," said Kremer. "That was probably a difference maker."

The drama of 2022 tucked safely aside, tournament organizers will soon begin preparation for the 75th edition of the Idylwylde Invitational, with very little time to rest.

Following is a break down of the remaining championship flight matches, as well as some of the remaining flight champions:

First Round
Frank Kucher over Sean Landreth - 7 & 5
Joey Kremer over Mike Roberts - 1 up
Nick Hofland over Ryan Bastien - 25 holes
Lucas Bordin over Brett Jacklin - 4 & 3
Vince Palladino over Jacob Lacko - 2 & 1
Jay Jewett over Don Martone - 2 & 1
Kyle Rank over Ryan Hagger - 2 & 1
Ryan Neil over Scott Whalen - 1 up

Kremer over Kuchar - 1 up
Hofland over Bordin - 2 & 1
Palladino over Jewett - 2 & 1
Neil over Rank - 5 & 4

Remaining Match Flight Champions
1st Flight - Brett Walker over Sam Barber
2nd Flight - Marc Disano over Evan MacLean
3rd Flight - Chase Woitowich over Griffin Jones

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