The Shootout event was held on Saturday. It was a chilly day for the 24 qualifiers. The chilliness coupled with the wet course conditions made for an interesting front 9 score track.
We employed "Lift, clean and Place" for the event, but the scores didn't seem to be affected. We had higher than normal net scores with the low net being 35 by Wethington & Brower. 4 others had 36 (Paquette, Johnsrud, Monogue & Hop), the 37s by Stoner & Ward left 2 remaining spots to round out the field of 10. 5 people went to a chip off for the 2 spots - Hamm, Medina, Mangold, Silberman & Ryan. With tremendous chips, Mangold and Medina moved onto the shootout. Another chip off of 10 between Hop and Medina saw Hop take an early exit. A 3-way chip off on 11 between Brower, Medina and Mangold saw Medina survive his 3rd chip off and we waved goodbye to Mangold. The 12th hole saw another chip off between Stoner and Wethington and by a mere 2 feet, Wethington moved on to the 13th. Solid play saw Monogue exit with the solo high score on 13. The 14th hole had some high excitement, with rulings needed (the league president wading into the casual water up to his ankles to determine a hazard line for Paquette and his ball position). After an in-play ruling was made and drops determined for Brower and Paquette, we finally made it the green. Johnsrud knew he needed to make a 5 footer to force a chip-off, but a pain staking lip out saw the league and shootout rookie make his exit. The 15th had some rocky play as nerves started to settle in for the players. Erratic shots were everywhere. After laying up short of the creek in 3, Medina put his 4th into the creek and the signaled the end of Medina on 15. 4 good tee shots on 16 made for an interesting hole, 3 people laid up leaving Wethington with a decision...he went for it...BARELY cleared and was playable, but in the hazard across the creek. Brower hit his 3rd into the creek, but with receiving 2 shots on 16, he wasn't out of it yet, after his 5th was just short of the green. Ward hit a glorious shot from 186 to 5 feet for birdie. Paquette left his 3rd just short of the green. Wethington punched out of the hazard and then left his 4th just short of the green. Ward left his birdie putt woefully short but walked away with a net 4. Paquette barely missed his par putt but had bogey for a net 5. Brower chipped up, but had a rough putt above the hole that missed and he finished with an 8 for a net 6. That left Wethington needing to get up and down for bogey to avoid the chip-off and with a solid 4 footer being drained for bogey, Brower was eliminated. On 17, Wethington was in the back of the green with a long birdie putt that came up way short, missed the birdie putt and bogeyed. Ward was off the right of the green, hit a good chip shot, but missed his par and also bogeyed. Paquette's tee shot hit the tree short right and had a difficult chip from 55 yards that just creeped on the front edge. The par putt was slow and left him with a 5 footer to force a 3-way chip-off...after s surprising slide off to the right on the putt, it lipped out the right edge and Paquette finished in 3rd place for the Shooutout.
That left 2 for the 18th...Ward and Wethington! Wetington had the honors and pushed his tee shot right...the tees were up and somehow the ball cleared the corner of the #1 pond and was in the right rough on #1. Ward hit a flare out to the right, but was in the 18th rough. Wethington hit a good shot along the tree line, just short of the right bunker. Ward hit a great shot to the front middle of the green leaving himself 35 feet for birdie to back left pin position. Wethington kept up his great play with a pitch shot that was pin high to about 5 feet. Ward nearly made the birdie putt and was left with a tap in for par. Wethington had the pressure on him to make the 5 foot slider to force a chip-off...and there was no doubt when it left the putter face...it was dead center and the final went to a sudden death chip-off to determine the winner. With a back left pin, the chip off spot was chosen back right just down in the grass bunker behind the green. With a solid gallery of 15 guys, the pressure was on for the slippery downhill sliding chip. Wethington was first up and hit another great chip that ran out to 11'5". Ward went next, not knowing what was needed...another great chip was made. At first glance it looked to be the immediate winning chip...but the downhill kept the ball running out...a measurement was needed. As the tape measure expanded it got closer and closer, however, as it reached it's end, Ward's chip shot was mere 11 inches closer and by less than a foot, Nick Ward became the 2018 BMGA Shootout Champion!
Congratulations Nick on your victory!
Nick Ward $75
Craig Wethington $50
Doug Paquette $25
$10 each went to Hop, Mangold, Stoner, Monogue, Johnsrud, Medina & Brower