FORT WAYNE – The rain fell for awhile at Orchard Ridge Country Club.
The scores, however, rose.
John Wray was the one who endured it the best Tuesday and won the Senior City Golf Championship for the third time.
Wray, 60, shot a final-round 3-over 74 to finish with a two-day total of even-par 142.
It was freezing cold and came out of nowhere, Wray said of the torrential rain that hit for 15 minutes early in the match, ruining his chances of a repeat 68.
It was much harder today. It was windier. It was tougher, I think, with the conditions. But I was struggling with my swing. My tempo wasn’t there and my putts weren’t dropping. It was just a struggle.
But Wray, who also won this tournament in 2002 at Orchard Ridge and 2010 at Autumn Ridge, still bested second-place finisher Sam Till Jr. by four strokes.
For Wray and Till, it was a fortuitous pairing, since they were able to discuss their upcoming participation in the United States Golf Association’s Senior Amateur, which begins Sept. 29 at Mountain Ridge Country Club in West Caldwell, N.J.
Till was the low qualifier from Indiana, shooting an even-par 72 at Elcona Country Club in Bristol. Wray carded a 73.
It will be Till’s fourth time playing in the tournament and the first for Wray, who prodded his playing partner for advice on what to expect.
They will be among 156 players who get 36 holes of stroke play to try and qualify for match play at the Senior Amateur.
John’s going to do just fine there, I think, because he’s playing well right now, said Till, 59, who shot a 76 on Tuesday. And it will help him to be with three other Indiana guys in a practice round, so we can show him around and have dinner together at the banquet.
The pressure of playing for a national championship will be greater for Wray than it was Tuesday, but Till believes he’ll be fine.
It’s a lot different because, A, you’re so happy to be there, and B, you’re not sure you belong until you show them you do belong, Till said. It’s a big deal, and he’ll enjoy it and do just fine.
Wray hopes he plays better there than he did at Orchard Ridge.
It will be my first time at the championship and it will be wonderful, Wray said. It’s about the fairways and greens, though.
At Orchard Ridge, the key for Wray was putting.
That’s the secret here, he said. You’ve got to putt good. There are so many good players, it’s wonderful to win this. You have to play good to win this tournament.
Tim Dobis, who shot a final-round 77, finished third at 6 over.
Steve Vernasco placed fourth at 7 over, including a final-round 76.
And Mark Childs posted a 77 to finish in fifth at 9 over.