Fourteen (14) 2-man teams were set in anticipation of the 16th annual Hootie at Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club, which was held the weekend of April 27-28, 2019. (See a short history of the Hootie here) Teams were selected at a draw party the prior week and each consisted of an “A” and “B” player competing in a four ball stroke play battle over 36 holes. The “A” player hit from the white tees and the “B” player from the shorter gold tees (with a 4 strokes reduction in handicap).
Betting favorites, based on players bets in the pari mutuel, were Baxter (the Retired Golf Hack)/Tom Fallon, Hudson/Skibicki, and Dewey/Stater. As you’ll see, the players are not the most sophisticated punters.
Saturday kicked off at 9:30 AM to a beautiful, sunny beach day only disrupted by a steady 25 mph wind and gusts up to 40 mph. A heavy rain the prior day left the bunkers unrated, the greens uncut, and the course generally wet. We played lift, clean and place in the fairways and the cart were limited to the path. It was brutal golf and only 2 teams broke 70 – Fran DiNuzzo (12) and Dean (the Dream) Lienwebber (21) got around in 69 while Dzedzy (14) and Pinto (17) somehow blitzed the field with a 65. There were 3 teams over par the first day, but the bulk of the teams kept their scores between 1 under and 3 over.
Fallon (11) and I (3) were paired with Diehl (4) and Verasco (12) teeing off at 9:30 AM – the first group out. Between my bad putting paired with some terrific up and downs, we were able to finish the front 9 at 1 under thanks to a net birdie by my partner on the very first hole. We mostly struggled to make pars to keep ourselves in the game. Diehl and Verasco had the same struggle and finished the front even.
The back nine was more of the same for our two teams and we ended at 1 under (Baxter/Fallon) and 1 over (Diehl/Verasco). At least we were first in and could have a beer waiting for the rest of the teams to finish
Sunday’s round was greeted by better weather and less wind. The course had dried allowing carts to scatter. However, our tee times were pushed back by 30 minutes because the club had previously scheduled an outside group of 16 to play right in front of us – on a Sunday no less. We knew from the beginning that it was going to be ugly and it was. Slow play gets to me and after spending 4:45 getting through Sunday, I was a little hot and it showed in my game – worst round of the year. Luckily, my partner came through and made 3 birdies, 2 of which were for net eagles. We finished the day shooting 66 for a 136 total, tied with 3 other teams for 3rd place in the tournament.
The team of Cummings/Hastings came in strong with a 63 and leapt into 2nd place, while the leaders from day one backed up shooting a 70 after the 65 on Saturday. The round of the day was a 62 crafted by Reid/Miranda, but after a 76 on day one, they were unable to make too big a move, placing just outside the money. However, they did have the dubious honor of shooting both the best and the worst score of the tournament each day.
For the 2nd year in a row, Pat McCrae’s teams were the ultimate winners. Pat teamed with Don Boteler this year and shot a strong 63 to come back and win by one shot. Last year Pat’s team won by 6 shots in a run away victory. I guess we’re going to have to watch Pat’s handicap next year 🙂
After some celebratory drinks, and joined by our spouses, all the participants enjoyed a Champion’s Dinner in the main dining room where the results were announced, the payouts presented, and the Hootie origin story was outlined to one and all. It was a fine affair and we’re looking forward to a repeat next year.