Tony Davison is a big believer in being a gracious loser.
"I try to teach my kids that all that matters is they speak highly of you and you did your best," Davison said.
Davison certainly did his best earlier this month playing in the Pequot Golf Course men's club championship.
And unlike last year when he was a gracious loser after finishing as the runner-up, this time he was a gracious winner.
Davison won his first men's club championship by shooting a three-round total of 220 (72-75-73) in the stroke play event. It was one of the tightest title matches in recent years, as he slipped past defending champion Jim Lathrop II by one slim stroke.
With nerve-racking five holes to go, Davison, 50, took the lead for good and held on.
"He played well and I just played well," Davison said. "I just happened to nip him out. Basically, it came down to anybody could have won. I just hit a couple of better shots. … It meant a lot to me because I'm not a spring chicken anymore."
During the final round on Aug. 12, Davison expertly managed the golf course as well as his nerves. With help from his fan club, he kept his composure.
"It made me realize that I'm glad I don't do this for a living…," Davison said. "A lot of members and friends came out. What got me through that, everyone had nice things to say. The words of encouragement were pretty overwhelming.
"I fell apart the year before. This year, I didn't fall apart because of that."
Davison, who lives in Mystic and works for Electric Boat, joined Pequot in Stonington three years ago, buying a membership as a military retirement present.
He has a real passion for the game. He regularly practices in his backyard, using his chipping area.
Practice is paying off. He's had a good summer of golf at Pequot, winning the men's club championship and reaching the playoffs in his Monday league.
Ever since his victory, he's been on a "miniature high."
"It's been a very, very great year at Pequot," Davison said.
He loves the fact that he can share the sport with his family. His three children - Chris, 21, Brooke, 16, and Lauren, 11 - all play. He plans to partner with his father-in-law, Kent Thomas, in the Pequot member-guest tournament next month.
His wife, Suzanne, supports his hobby.
'They all love golf," Davison said.
Golf will never be a matter of life and death for Davison who will remain to keep things in perspective.
But it sure feels good to win.
"I've always been a gracious loser," Davison said. "This is the first time I'm a gracious winner. I've been a good loser for a long time."
• Not even a persistent downpour could douse the spirits of the golfers playing in a charity golf tournament to benefit Glenn Landers of East Lyme Saturday at Cedar Ridge Golf Course in East Lyme.
Landers, a regular at Cedar Ridge, was paralyzed last month in a trampoline accident. His friends and family spent weeks organizing the tournament.
The result was a wonderful event.
One hundred and eighty-three golfers turned out despite the dreadful, wet conditions.
"He would have been out there in those conditions," said Chris Medeiros, Cedar Ridge general manager. "We decided to make the best of it and go for it."
"It poured until 3 p.m. The greens were quite flooded… Everybody will remember that day as opposed to a sunny day. Most golf courses would have been closed. He is a very well like guy and it showed."
The event raised approximately $30,000 and also raised the spirits of everyone involved.
During the tournament, some golfers had a chance to speak to Landers via Skype. Landers is receiving treatment at the Shepherd Clinic in Atlanta.
"We passed the iPad around," Medeiros said. "He was pretty emotional about it. It was a very special day for everybody that knows him and myself included. He's got a very, very long road ahead of him."
• The Pequot women's golf association held its club championship tournament earlier this month. Heidi Heyniger won her fourth title in the last eight years, posting a two-round total of 178 (91-87). Holly Rood (186), Karen Schlosser (191) and Ruth Parylak (202) rounded out the top four of the championship flight.
In the net flight competition, Jane Callahan took first with a 134 (67-67). Karen Stangeland (140), Sandy Kress (142) and Roberta Walinsky (144) completed the top four.
In the President's Cup, Joe Pratt Jr. won the men's event and Chris Trisciuzzi placed second. Linda Hatch was the women's winner.
Trevor Hutchinson captured the junior club championship, shooting a 76. Grant Farr finished second with a 79 and Ryan Tobin was third with an 80.
• Michael Hawley defended his Stonington Country Club men's club championship, winning his third title overall by beating Diederick van der Velde.
And Jeanne Tingo added another win to her championship title collection, defeating Jill Bach in the final.
Several other championships were decided on Aug. 12.
In the men's competition, Michael Smyle won the A Flight and Dick Hoag took the B Flight while Bob Valenti placed first in the C Flight and Norm Auger won the D Flight.
Linda Olisky captured the A Flight for the women.
In other club news, Bob Johnsen scored a hole in one on the 167-yard, eighth hole on July 14. Witnesses were Rob Johnsen, Matt Johnsen and Jason Brownlie. Rick Harley aced the 140-yard, No. 2 hole on Aug. 21. Shawn Irwin, Trey Fitzgibbons and Kirsten Fitzgibbons were witnesses.
John Lyon won the Frisbie Cup, a two-day stroke play event for men 65 and over. He finished with a net score of 138. Ron Hantman was the gross division winner with a 164.
Miggie Belden finished first in the Halsey Cup, a one-day stroke play tournament for women 65 and over. She had a net score of 70, nipping runner-up Marilyn Thorpe (71).
• GOLF Magazine has chosen Lake of Isles as one of its Top 100 Course You Can Play. The North Stonington course is ranked 85th in the magazine's September issue and listed No. 1 in Connecticut.
Since opening in 2005, Lake of Isles, a 36-hole Rees Jones designed course, has been a regular on GOLF Magazine's list.
"We are extremely pleased that GOLF Magazine has once again selected the North Course as one of the top courses in the country," said Archie Cart, General Manager, Lake of Isles, in a released statement. "This honor is noteworthy because these accolades have become increasingly more competitive as new courses are being built around the country.
"I believe Lake of Isles' challenging and beautiful layout, pristine course conditions and the overall guest experience makes us one of the top daily fee courses in the country."
• Dave Bohara and Bill Hanley combined to win the gross division in the Norwich Golf Course Member-Guest event on Aug. 12. They posted a 68, beating the duos of Jim Homiski and Kevin Flanagan and Dave Derosier and Dave McNally. Mitch Connors and Tom St. George took first in the net division with a 60. Steve Nunn and Nate Servidio finished second.
In other Norwich news, Justin Bohara captured the club junior championship on Aug. 5. In the final, Bohara, who attends Norwich Free Academy, beat A.J. Sanca of Griswold, 4 and 2.
Bohara took an early 4-up lead after five holes. His lead dipped to two holes heading to the 15th before he closed out the match by winning 15 and 16.
Norwich also held its Senior Invitational earlier this month. David Jones won the overall title while Bohara finished one stroke off the winning pace with a 70.
John Smutnick took first in the sophomore flight (60-69) with a 73 while Jim Homiski and Doug Smith shared second with a 74. In the junior flight (70-and-up), Stan McFarland placed first with an 80 while Roger Dionne, Tom Morrison and Ed Mercado tied for second with an 82.
• Casey Roan of Shennecossett Golf Course, Kevin Shea of Great Neck Country Club in Waterford and Patrick Boucher of Lake of Isles turned in strong performances at the 16th Connecticut PGA Professional Championship held Aug. 13-14 at Wampanoag Country Club. They tied for 11th, shooting 3-over 147. Roan had rounds of 75 and 72 and Boucher fired 73 and 74 while Shea had a 77 and 70.
• The Old Lyme Country Club women's golf association held its Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation fund-raiser earlier this summer, raising $3,376. Twenty-seven women participated in the competitive golf scramble and then took part in a raffle and auction.
Charlene Amacher wrote in an email that "the unscheduled rain did not prevent more 27 women from Lyme/Old Lyme, East Lyme, Essex, Guilford, and Old Saybrook from enjoying a spirited team competition for a truly worthwhile cause. "
Amacher added that special thanks goes to Kathy Nadeau, Carolyn Daddona and pro Rob Barbeau for organizing the important event.
• Lakes of Isles in North Stonington is holding its junior championship on Sunday.
• This is a big weekend for senior golfers at Stonington Country Club. The senior women's club championship, for ages 55 and over, runs Saturday and Sunday. The men start this weekend and finish on Sept. 2.
• Shennecossett Golf Course in Groton is hosting the Jack Kelly PGA Junior Tournament of Champions on Sunday, Sept. 2.
• The Pequot Golf Club Member-Guest tournament is Saturday, Sept. 22. Registration deadline is Sept. 2.
Gavin Keefe is The Day's golf columnist