On Sunday, November 23, 2014, the Pitman Men's Golf Association played their 13th Annual Top Ten Shootout tournament. This event features the top ten players from this past season, all playing against one another in the same group! As with all the Shootout events, all ten players begin on the 10th tee together in one group and hole by hole we eliminate the high NET score until we finally come up the 18th hole with two players remaining. If there are any ties for the high score, we use a sudden death chip-off to determine who is eliminated. Here is a hole by hole recap of this year's event;
Hole #10: Greg Weiss started today’s event as he ripped one right down the middle! Most all tee shots were in good shape with the exception of Jim Jordan who found the hazard off the tee. Then Jim had a “brain fart” as he picked up his ball to identify it inside the hazard so he was penalized and then worked his way up the hole. Doney Ibarguen and Scott Schumacher both had tee shots within 75 yards of the green, Scott may have been inside of 50 yards??? In the end, Jim just couldn’t recover from the tee shot or the penalty and the first player eliminated was Jim Jordan.
Hole #11: Good news – Greg Weiss was not eliminated on this hole! The last two years Greg was ousted on this hole but not today! There were a few players that had to lay up due to a poor tee shot off the 11th and with everyone getting a handicap stroke on this hole, all eyes were on the guys who hit poor tee shots. Doney hit a decent tee shot off the tee but it went too far through the fairway and he had to pitch out. Then the trouble began. In the end, Doney was eliminated by way of high score on the 11th.
Hole #12: I think all the tee shots headed towards the right rough except Greg Weiss. Greg found the trees on the left and had to pitch out. He must have been “pumped up” about getting by Hole 11 because he airmailed the green with his next shot. This left him with a very touchy shot from behind the green. Everyone else had no problems with the hole and in the end, Greg was eliminated by way of high score.
Hole #13: Things are now starting to get serious now that a few players have been eliminated. Nobody was in any real danger off the tee, in fact the scores were tight – we had a four-way chip-off; Kurt Wilsman, Hap McCleish, Steve Shanline and Ken Metzger. The selected shot was off the back right side of the green, just enough to be a tester for the first chip-off. Kurt went first and laid it in there 3’ 5” to put some pressure on the others. In the end, Hap McCleish caught his shot just a little heavy and he was eliminated by way of chip-off.
Hole #14: The new tee looks great but it remains closed through the winter season so everyone played from the matt. Everyone hit a good shot here, the pin was up front. Kurt was closest to pin but Scott may have been inside him except for the super-spin they took his ball back off the front of the green. He did get it up and down though! Mike Leonardo hit a great shot but ended up towards the back part of the green and with the pin up front it was a tough two putt, he made four. Ken Metzger missed a makeable putt to avoid the chip-off so to the back of the green we go – Ken Metger and Mike Leonardo. Both chips were pretty good but Mike was eliminated by way of chip-off.
Hole #15: Tough hole for Mark Wessner and Scott Schumacher because they don’t get any handicap strokes, they need to play hard on this hole to advance! Everyone played the hole pretty good and it came down to players needing to get up and down to move on. After everyone holes out, 4 out of the 5 remaining players are in a chip off; Kurt, Mark, Steve, and Scott. The location was just off the left side of the green and down the hill. Everyone hits a good shot and Steve is farthest at 6’ 7” and Scott is last to play. Of course he nearly holes the chip-shot as his ball hits the flag and ends up about an inch from the cup. Steve is eliminated by way of chip-off.
Hole #16: Congratulations to Kurt, Mark, Ken and Scott for making it to the FINAL FOUR! The only player that doesn’t get a handicap stroke is Scott. Everyone is in fine shape off the tee and with their approach shots. Mark plays a great shot from the left rough, the ball was down in a hole and he digs it out and gets the ball on the green. He was the only player to hit the green in two so it comes down to the short game. Scott was just off the front of the green but far enough where he had to pitch the ball on and of all things, his shot lands right on a ball mark and stops and jumps to the left, leaving him a long “must make” putt to survive. In the end, Scott is eliminated with the high score.
Hole #17: Now we are down to the $MONEY$ holes! Mark is the first to play and his is the only player not getting any handicap strokes, both Kurt and Ken get one stroke. Mark lasers one right over the pin and his ball finishes just on the back collar. The pin is back left. Ken just makes it on the front of the green with his tee shot and Kurt hits a great ball to the middle of the green. It comes down to putting and Mark figures he needs a miracle to just get into a chip-off. Ken is first to play and comes up way short leaving him a lengthy par putt. Marks turn – HE HOLES IT FROM THE FRINGE FOR A BIRDIE! That putt ensures him that he will at least get into a chip-off. Kurt escapes with a two putt for a 3 (net birdie) but Ken did not, he ends up with a 3 putt for a net par and is eliminated. Big putt Mark!
Hole #18: The last two surviving players, Kurt Wilsman and Mark Wessner! They both get a shot on the last hole so it’s even up. It’s funny when you think about some of the long hitters we had playing today, the last two guys were really the shortest out of the group??? Mark is first to tee off and rips one down the middle and Kurt’s shot leaked a little to the right but was fine. Kurt then played up to about 30 yards short of the front part of the green (pin was back) and Mark ripped a shot at the left side bunker but it cut right back to the front part of the green and onto the putting surface. Now Kurt needs to put some pressure on Mark with his 3rd shot and he does just that by hitting it about pin high to the left. Mark then putts up the hill but despite a full shoulder turn and release, he comes up 10 feet short. It comes down to Mark’s putt, if he makes he is the 2014 Shootout Champion, if he misses – another chip-off!
CONGATULATIONS TO MARK WESSNER, another big putt – he truly earned this victory on the last two holes by making the putts!
All in all, today’s shootout was about hitting timely shots and making putts. Every year I’m impressed by the quality of play during this event and today was no exception. Today’s winner finished with a gross score of 2 over par on the back nine but more impressive was the finish; He played a great shot on #16, another great shot and putt on #17 and then again on #18!
I would like to congratulate all the players and thank all those who were there as caddies or spectators, this enhances the event for those who are competing. I also want to mention it was nice to see one of our junior players, John Leonardo, caddying for his dad Mike!
PMGA Shootout Past Champions
2014 – Mark Wessner
2013 – Cliff Hardesty
2012 – Barry Fox
2011 – Scott Schumacher
2010 – Ed Wisnewski
2009 – Matt Myers
2008 – Scott Schumacher
2007 – Ed Wisnewski
2006 – George Ripley
2005 – Bill Demetris
2004 – Earl Trewin, Jr
2003 - Jack Barrett
2002 – Jim Digenni (1st Shootout Winner)