“DID YOU KNOW”
Dick Sleichter Might Have Defeated Dow Finsterwald Except For His Honesty!
In 1957 the last PGA Championship contested at match play was held in Dayton, Ohio at the Miami Valley Country Club. Nine of the 128 professionals in the starting field were from the Philadelphia PGA.
One of those was Gettysburg Country Club professional Dick Sleichter who met Dow Finsterwald in the first round. After 16 holes the match was all square. On the par three 17th hole both players were on the green with their shots from the tee. When they arrived at the green they realized that Sleichter’s ball had spun back into its pitch mark. At that time the golfers were not allowed to repair pitch marks before putting. Sleichter thought that when he struck the ball with his putter it would jump up from the indentation and then roll toward the hole. What happened was that the ball popped straight up and Sleichter’s putter struck the ball a second time. Only Sleichter knew that he had hit the ball twice and he promptly reported it to Finsterwald. Finsterwald two putted for a par to win the hole and when they halved the 18th hole Finsterwald moved on to the second round eventually losing to Lionel Hebert in the final.
Later that year Sleichter won the Philadelphia Section Championship and the next year when the PGA Championship was changed to stroke play Finsterwald won the tournament at Llanerch Country Club.