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Sunday, June 30, 2013

4th of July Tournament Results

Part of the gallery.... (had left my wide angle in the shop)
To say that the conclusion of this year's "4th of July Tournament" was "exciting", would be a gross  understatement. It finished with a "big bang", or more appropriately, with "fireworks" if you will.

I had been doing the scoreboard for the better part of two and a half hours, and wishing I was on the golf course watching the last few holes of the Championship Flight, and see if any of our locals had a chance, when Ann Cowan came in and said to me that Joby Gray had just missed a
Joby teeing off during the playoff
looks in form.
short putt to win the tournament outright and that he would be in a playoff against Eric Fox, the first day's leader.

Eric Fox reading his putt on #1
The tournament's scores had already brought some excitement and good light hearted moments from fellow golfers gathering around the scoreboard as a couple of players had been "bumped" to another flight for scoring significantly lower than the day before, but did so with great
character and pride. Matt Salazar, who is a proud member of our military and a very good golfer, had had a bad day -for his skill-, on Saturday by scoring an 82, but came back with a 72.
Joby's approach to 12 feet earned him a
pressure matching birdie 

As well, Brad Spitzer, who started with an 83, came back with a 74. Both players were in the last group of the "B" flight and by #15 or #16, knew that if they finished strong, they would be "bumped". They didn't care: they came to play as best as they could and did, and got bumped to the "A" flight, giving room in the "B" flight for two others to come "in the money". Hats off to these two players! Back to the playoff...

Eric's tee shot on #3 found the rough
and could not recover
After spending a few minutes giving the respective prizes to those players who had to travel back to their hometown (all the other flights' results had been decided), I went to do my job as referee of a playoff at my course, and more importantly (remember, I am a golfer too!), I went watch the playoff! 

Joby's tee shot found the fairway,
approached to 16 feet and two
putted for his win.
As a golfer, I was not disappointed at all as there was great golf
played; and as the local head professional, I was very happy that one of our members and a "popular golf son" of a new generation of Elk City golfers, ended up on top: Joby Gray, who made up four shots in the last round by scoring a closing 68, and then won a sudden death playoff that lasted three holes by scoring 4,3,4 against Eric's scores of 4,3,5. More on the playoff later, for now, allow me to publish all of the results: 

Championship Flight:
1st - Joby Gray 72-68/140 (4,3,4)
2nd - Eric Fox 68-72/140 (4,3,5)
3rd - Andrew Albert 69-73/142
4th - Robert Parker 73-71/144

"A" Flight
1st - Mike Chambless 75-72/147
2nd - Aaron Kauk 74-78/152
T3rd - Michael Robinson 78-76/154, Trey Scales 74-80/154, Matt Salazar 82-72/154 (Matt was "bumped from the "B" Flight)

"B" Flight
1st - Rod Little 84-78/162
T2nd - Brady Baker 83-80/163, Minvesh Bhathela 82-81/163
4th - Ann Cowan 85-80/165
("Bumped" - Matt Salazar with 154 and Brad Spitzer 157)

"C" Flight
1st - Chris Stark 88-83/171
2nd - Rich Hammonds 87-86/171
3rd - Ricky Marr 89-88/177
4th - Don Murphey 88-92/180
("Bumped" - Chris Pearson, 166)

Finishing Comments:
Watching the playoff was very rewarding in other ways as well: I see Joby almost every day, and even when I do not see him, many times he "texts" or calls to see if I can leave a bucket or two of range balls for him to practice after we are closed when the weather is a bit cooler during this time of the year, but let's not misunderstand here, cooler weather is not why he does it, the reason is daylight! There is not enough daylight for him for enough golf. 

Anyway, now I am free to share the following story: On Saturday afternoon, when I was doing the Sunday pairings, Joby came to visit and asked who was I going to put in the last group for Sunday. Joby had finished day one with a 72, and was tied for fourth with Bobby Connell, but unknown to Joby, I had already decided the last group: I had 7 golfers to pair, and wanted a foursome following a threesome and not the other way around, and had also decided who of the two 72's would be in the last group: Joby.

Before his visit, I had decided this for several reasons, from practicality to making groups that would be comfortable with each other, to possibly enhancing the last pairing for those who wanted to follow the last group. I made none of this known to Joby, but by the tone of voice in his question, it was evident that he wanted to persuade me to do what I had already decided to do, nevertheless, I did not readily "agree" and allowed him to "convince me", which "he did" when he said, convincingly, confidently, yet, not cocky or braggadocios, "If you put me in the last group, I promise I'll win this thing. If the last group is a foursome, please put me there". I did (as "requested"), and he did (as he promised), even if after some dramatic moments. Anyway, I knew that there was no guarantee that he would win, but I knew that he really wanted to give it his best and that win or lose, he should have the opportunity to be there. If I was a coach and a player comes to me and says, "put me in, I want to win and another one says, I'll do whatever you want me to do", I'll sit the second player down. He did not disappoint himself. Congratulations! 

Note: I have to congratulate and thank the gallery (over two dozen people) during the playoff, most of whom were local, and obviously wishing for Joby to win. Nevertheless, all of them recognized that two good players had earned that place and were respectful of both as players during the playoff. For instance, when Eric hit hit approach on #1, everyone clapped and cheered. As well, when Eric holed out for birdie on #2, everyone clapped. In both instances, when Joby responded, they also clapped and cheered, and even though Joby's response was exciting because of the significance of the moment, out of respect for the visitor, no one overdid it. Thank you! You all showed great class!

Sorry if I got a little long above, but the circumstances and the story above was what Paul Harvey would have called, "The Rest of the Story! so, Good Day!" (perhaps only shorter)

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