After the weather knocked us out last weekend, the revised teams were finalized by our tournament director, one Mr. Robel’. The tournament featured a shotgun start and kicked off at 10AM on Saturday. The weather was perfect with temperatures climbing to over 60 degrees – not bad for December 12th. We had 16 teams of 3 players each slotted into groups jumping off tees 12 through 18 and hole #1.
There were quite a few cancellations because of the revised date and also new additions to the field. Mr. Robel’ needed to make last minute adjustments to the teams that basically invalidated last week’s draw and killed the pari-mutuel – bummer. As he indicated: “With all the cancellations and additions to the field, there was no way I could get teams close to being competitive with the wide disparity in handicaps. In other words I threw out the draw. I took all the handicaps and separated them into three groups. I went top to bottom in the A group, bottom to top in the C group and took the B group from the middle and separated them to the top and bottom of the A group. All teams are now within 4 strokes of each other, except one. That being said, at this late date and the changes being made, there will not be any para mutual betting.” Whatever that means Mike!
The teams and starting holes are shown below:
Our tournament director went through last minute instructions – all putts must be holed, use the most upfront tees on seven (7) of the holes, use the matts on the par 3’s and hole #1, etc. The 3 man step-away scramble format goes like this. All three (3) players hit from the tee and the best drive is selected with the person hitting that shot “stepping away”. The remaining two (2) players hit from that spot and the player whose shot is selected then steps away and the last player makes the third shot. If the ball is not holed, all three (3) players on the team play the fourth shot and the step away begins again.
As you can see above, your Hack was paired with Simon Statter and Tom Creager and we started on the 18th hole. I hit a drive over the trees and left my partners 145 years to the pin. Tom’s shot went left into the collection area and Simon’s shot came up short. Simon made a wonderful chip from Tom’s ball position and left us a couple of feet for par. We turned to hole #1 where we ended up with Tom having a 20 foot putt for birdie that was left and above a devilish pin position on the back right section of the green. After a careful survey of the situation, Simon and I point to a spot about 5 feet directly above the hole and told Tom to put the ball to that spot. The man takes instructions well. His ball hit the spot at stall speed and trundled down the slope, dropping into the cup on the last rotation for birdie. One (1) under after two (2) holes and we were looking solid.
As we stood over our approach on #2, a “roar” erupted on the third green – “LFG!” We looked over to see Matt (Pip) Piperno pull his ball out of the cup. A hole in one on just their 3rd hole of the day. They were stoked and 2 under par. Congratulations Pip! Well done.
All of the excitement must have gotten to us as we 3-putted the 2nd hole for a bogey. Another bogey on #4 pushed us to 1 over par and it felt like the wheels were coming off only five (5) holes into the tournament. Hagen/Browne/Miranda were also 1 over at that point. Piperno’s team was 1 under, as was the Diehl team. Most of the other teams were sitting at 1 or 2 over.
We righted the ship over the remaining holes on the front 9, but couldn’t make any birdie puts. A couple of burned edges, but that was about it. We were a little over half way through the tournament and still sat at +1. The leaders – Diehl’s team and Pip’s team were at -2. Three (3) teams were at even par – Hagen’s, Cummings’, and Haines’ – while Donnelley’s and Hudson’s teams were tied with us at one (1) over par. Four (4) more teams were 2 over, one (1) team was 3 over and the Walsh and Robel teams sat at 5 over par after tough starts. Robel’s team tripled #17 and followed with bogeys on both #1 and #2 for example.
The final nine (9) holes of the tournament saw the leaders slip back and the Hagen team charge forward. Diehl’s team, which was 2 under and tied for the lead after nine (9) holes and got to 4 under through #13, finished the round with a double on #14 and bogeys on #16 and #18 sandwiching a birdie on #17. They finished at 2 under and tied for second. The other leaders, Piperno’s team, bogeyed the par 3, #16 and finished tied second at 1 under. The Haines team was able to birdie #13 and finished at 1 under, tied second.
Your Hack’s team was able to make an easy birdie on #12 as my drive ended up on the front fringe about 15 feet from the hole, but we had bogeyed #10 from 45 yards out and ended with a bogey on our final hole, #17, to finish at 2 over. Luckily, this would ultimately be good for 7th place and a small cash win.
The strongest moves over the final nine (9) holes came from the Boteler team and the Hagen team. Boteler’s guys were able to birdie #9 and #13 to bring their score back to even par and finish 5th. The ultimate winners were Hagen’s team who birdied #5 and #7 to finish at 1 under par. It was good enough for a 1 shot victory over the three (3) teams tied at 1 under.
Most of the players gathered on the back patio at widely separated tables to watch the scores come in and enjoy a boxed lunch prepared by the Cripple Creek staff. The Holiday Scramble was played to support the staff of the club and we added to that by holding a 50/50 for additional tips. The lunch was great – our Pro and Andy, who manages the house, bought everyone’s first drink. Pip’s hole in one also added to the free drink total. As you can imagine, we had a blast.
Our Tournament Director summarized it best: I would like to thank everyone for participating in today’s Step Away. We able to tip all three groups (bag staff, wait staff, grounds crew) almost $200 each. It was a fun and challenging day. Kudo’s to the team of Hagen-Browne-Miranda. Great playing guys. Everyone should be proud of themselves at Cripple Creek. We are a special group of guys.
Thanks Mike and well said. We appreciate all you do Mr. Robel’!
So ended the Men’s Holiday Step Away Scramble. I have a money match on Sunday with some of the boys and our next planned event is a 4 Club & Putter Tournament on New Year’s Eve. Keep it in the short grass.