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WACO belongs to Waynesboro

Caron takes title north of the border once again

Caron takes title north of the border once again

August 11, 2008|By TIM KOELBLE

The silver anniversary of the WACO Championship was golden for Steve Caron on Sunday.

A mid-afternoon interruption of rain and hail was not about to get in the way of what Caron was about to experience on at Beaver Creek Country Club.

Caron kept the WACO Championship in the hands of Waynesboro, Pa., golfers for a seventh straight year as he posted a final-round 4-under-par 68 for a two-day 138, four strokes ahead of Chris Baloga, of Towson, Md.

"I kept (the title) in the 'Boro," said the 26-year-old Caron, who has never finished out of the top 10 since he first played the WACO in 2004. "It's a great feeling to win this."

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Caron, two strokes behind defending champion Kenny Smith at the outset of play, snared the lead for good on the par-4, 425-yard sixth hole with a 15-foot uphill birdie putt.

But coming off the sixth, lightning brought players off the course and heavy moisture followed keeping players idle for 90 minutes.

"I tried to stay as loose as I could during the delay," said Caron. "When I saw lightning, I said 'Oh no' to myself that this couldn't happen."

At the turn, Caron still held a one-shot lead over Smith and led a charging Baloga by two.

Caron's nemesis has been putting in the past, but Sunday he had the blade going well enough to control the outcome.

He distanced himself with birdies on 11 and 13 to open up a four-shot lead as Smith bogeyed the 12th hole.

"Putting has been the problem, but today I made some birdies," said Caron, "and my irons were sharp."

They were sharp as a tack when he virtually sealed the win on the par-4, 420-yard 17th hole. His tee ball was pulled far into the left rough, but he stepped in and nailed a pitching wedge to within four feet of the flag to set up another birdie, leaving the 18th hole as a mere formality.

"I knew I won on 17 and I really wanted this win," said Caron. "I saw Baloga was close and got a little worried and didn't want to be defensive."

Smith, the defending champion, struggled to a 3-over-par 75 and ended in a tie for third at 143 with Bernie Deane and former WACO champion Finley Benjamin.

"Fudge (Caron) really came on strong and I forced too many shots today," said Smith, who said the rain delay did not bother him. "The score was already going (Caron's) way. I just didn't have it."

Baloga finished with a 3-under-par 69 for a two-day 142.

Other winners in flight competition included Jim Sklencar in the second flight with a 73-153, Harry Troxler with an 82-169 in the third flight and Dan Allen with an 82-174 in the fourth flight.

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