Men’s member-guest tournament ends in soaking rain

By Duncan Nixon

The shootout to determine the overall winner in the Lake Monticello men’s member-guest golf tournament started in a light drizzle and five rounds later ended in a soaking rain.  

The member-guest, which is one of the biggest tournaments on the Lake golf calendar, is played on the second weekend in June (June 89 this year). Thirty twoman teams play in five flights. Each team plays five nine-hole matches, once against each team in its flight. In each nine-hole match, one point is awarded per hole for the best score on the hole on a gross score basis and on a net score basis. The team in each flight with the highest overall point total qualifies for the shootout to determine the tournament’s overall winner.  

This year the team of Eric Parlet and Boston Craddock won the overall title. Their win might be considered appropriate as they were the lowest handicapped team in the tournament. However, their win was far from a foregone conclusion. The shootout is always an exciting conclusion to the tournament. Golf pro Mark Marshall takes the five flight winning teams to the 18th hole and all 10 players shoot to the green from a designated distance. This requires a shot over the small pond that guards the front of the green. 

This year, the best score of the two players on each team was the determining factor as to who qualified for the next round. As it turned out, a three by either player moved his team to the next round. Two fours put a team out, and it took a two to win.  

In each round, a number of players hit the green with their first shot, but no one could make a two. The pin was in the middle of the green, but in a difficult position because of the significant slopes in the 18th green. In the fifth round, Eric Parlet (the member in his twosome) put his first shot on the green, but well short of the hole. In the first four rounds, a number of players had missed from considerably closer to the hole. Parlet, however, fired a deadly putt that won the title for his team.  

Because of its format the member-guest has quite a few winning teams. In each flight of six teams there is a winner of gross points and a winner of net points. If a team has the most points in both categories it wins the gross points prize only and the team with the second most net points wins the net points prize. In the first flight, the Augusta flight, the gross score winners were Parlet and Craddock. The net score winners were Kyle Gravitt and Donald Gravitt. The Gravitt team won the overall title in 2018. However, the Parlet and Craddock team went to the shootout on the most overall points criteria.    

In the second flight, the Bethpage Black flight, the gross point winners were Bill Russo and Jack Leidich. The net score winners were Stan Leap and Karl Cooper. Russo and Leidich went to the shootout from this flight. In the third flight, the Pebble Beach flight, the winners in the gross points competition were Mitch Morehart and Matthew Shane. The winners in the net points competition were John Miller and Andrew Mundell. Miller and Mundell went to the shootout from flight three. In the fourth flight, the Royal Portrush flight, the gross point winners were Dan Atkinson and Gerard Kiernan. The net points winners were Joel and Craig Dwyer. Atkinson and Kiernan had the most overall points so they went to the shootout. In the fifth flight, the Sawgrass flight, Phil Scott, Sr., and Phil Scott, Jr., won the gross point competition, while Bill Hardin and Ricky Johnson were best in net points. The Scott team went to the shootout.  

Interestingly, this tournament proves that handicaps can pretty accurately predict results. The gross points competition is based on the actual scores recorded, so the team with the lowest overall handicap in each flight would be expected to win their flight’s gross point competition. In four of the five flights this is what happened. An 80 percent successful prediction of results is impressive in any sport.  

Prizes were also awarded for longest drives and closest to the pin. The only winner in these contests not named above was Brian Zelasky, who won one of the longest drive competitions. Other longest drive winners were Leidich and Parlet. Closest to the pin winners were Craddock, Mundell, Atkinson and Leap.  

After a decent day on Saturday, Marshall noted that he feared that the second day’s play might have to be cancelled due to a persistent Scottish mist all morning. However, the players persisted and got the two nine-hole rounds in. Ironically, the rain stopped while the players moved inside for lunch and the awards ceremony for flight winners. When the flight winners returned to the course the rain returned and just kept getting worse as the play-off rounds continued. 

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