This year’s edition of the 32nd annual team tourney began with the usual putting contest on Friday afternoon.Only 28 contestants vyed for the $300 in prize monies. Many players unaware or prefering practice time. The cagy veterans waiting till the last minute before the prelims were to close before entering. Hoping the wind would die and their prelim qualifing round would keep them sharp in the finals. But several top contenders failed to qualify ; Greg Barsby, Randy Saab and last year’s winner Kyle Eckmann who was the only player in the last 2 years to hit from all 9 stations. In the end it was San Diego’s #3 Open player Max Nichols who took home the $100 first prize outlasting Jerry Goff, Steve Rico, Steve Johnstan and Scott Miller. Max had an amazing year on tour finishing tied for 4th at the USDGC shooting a 55(1075 rated) on famed Winthrip Gold course. Saturday morning dawned with cool cloudy weather. The weather report called from torrential downpours all day and hugh winds increasing as the day progressed. Thankfully, the weatherman’s dire predictions were like political promises. More bluster than reality. There was one good downpour around 2 p.m. (round 4) that sent most players scurring for shelter. One San Diego player though, newby Mason Newstead turned it to his advantage scoring 4 straight birdies during the heaviest part of the deluge.
This event is a match play event. Pitting each player on one team against the correspondingly numbered player on another team. Each team consists of 6 open players, 3 masters (age 40+), 1 grandmaster (50+),1 senior grandmaster (60+) and 1 woman. Match play is unique and fun format in that a each hole is it’s own tournament. Low score on a hole scores a point for that player. Total score for the round is irrelevant. Only that you scored better than your opponent on more holes. Matchs are 12 holes. The course is extended to 24 holes with 6 added holes on Snyder Hill (across Jacaranda Dr.) and the organizational picnic area which we rent from the city for 2 days each year for this event. At the end of 1 full round (24 holes)each player has played 2 matches. 60 competitive holes were played on Saturday. We took one 45 minute break for lunch provided by my son’s Cali Kebab restaurant. Players enjoyed lamb, chicken kebabs, pita bread,dirty rice,falafels, humus and salad.
San Diego started off with 2 straight wins. Arizona with 2 straight losses before lunch. But the afternoon rains were the great equalizer. By the end of the day Sylmar lead the pack at 4-1 and 4 teams including San Diego, Arizona, Redwood Empire and Huntington Beach were all 3-2 at day’s end. Sunday morning dawned bright and cool. By now everyone was intimately familiar with the course and their respective opponents. The traveling tour boys on the AZ team bore down and destroyed their competition. At the end of the 7 match round robbin Arizona, San Diego and Sylmar were all tied at 5-2. Each team had 1 loss among them to the other 2. When it went to points between them Sylmar and Arizona had 12.5 each. San Diego had 11. Head to head Arizona had beaten Sylmar so they were 1st. For second it goes back to head to head and Sylmar had beaten San Diego in the prelims so they were second. Ironically, 3 years ago when faced with the same 3 team tie San Diego got into the finals and then won.
The weather was perfect for the finals. I followed the lead group of Ricky Wysocki and Dave Feldberg for Arizona and Steve Rico and Gabe Cota for Sylmar. This grouping put on a clinic for the crowd following them. Ricky in particular showed why he is the top PDGA rated player (1048) in the world shooting a scorching 14 under in his match play final round. Lead by their Hall of Fame captain Dano Ginnelly the Arizona Team’s momentum carried them to a 10-2 finish in the finals over a flagging Team Sylmar.
The free drawing before the finals saw 70 items donated from the sponsors Innova Champion, Discraft, Legacy, and Dynamic Disc given out to tourney’s participants. This year’s primary sponsor SDHydro had a booth set up all weekend. They had samples, a free drawing and custom stamped discs for all the winners. This year we went to a VHS to DVD conversion store and had all the old Team Tourney videos from 1984 thru 1992 plus a special edition from 2009 made up. We showed these all weeked on a big screen TV at Friz Central. We’ll get these archived onto the website so players can get a glimpse of our past history (and see how far our course has come).
This year Team Redwood Empire won the Spirit Award for the first time. Amidst all the storm turmoil before the 5th round on Saturday we contacted their captain (during round 4)to let him know his team was responsible for scorecards in the 5th round. He had all his players lined up and ready to pick up their cards right on time which allowed us to stay on time and finish the 5th round on Saturday. After herding cats all day trying to get the rounds off on time and running cards out to forgetful players it was refreshing to see a team take responsibility and get the job done in a timely manner. Many thanks to all the staff; Mac the assisstant TD, Team Simmons Eric and EJ, Juan Tapaz, Hans Degnar, my wife Joanne, plus my shop guys Jesse, Mitch and Tyler. Special thanks to Fireman Dave who brought us all donuts on Sunday morning.
Till the next edition of the Team Tourney… Z ya