For a few dramatic moments on the North Course 386-yard No. 9 hole, it didn't look like either of the surviving twosomes wanted to win Saturday's Moose Rut elimination of the 16th annual Moose Madness Men's Member-Guest golf tournament at The Valley Club.
In the alternating shot format, a couple of drives landed in the same fairway bunker. One approach shot careened under a spectator's golf cart up towards the green. Another approach shot floated into the weeds to the right of the green, causing a drop. The players made only the shortest of putts.
The two teams featuring Blair Hull-Jim Lodas and Mike Quinn-John Suydam breathed a collective sigh of relief as they walked off the green with identical scores of two-over-par six and headed for a playoff.
Yikes, the Moose Rut finalists looked like "normal blokes," a phrase used to describe 2011 British Open winner Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland, although the golf Clarke played Sunday at Royal St. George's in England was anything but normal before he sipped his foamy Guinness.
Valley Club head golf professional Jaime Sharp selected the location of the decisive "chip-off," a site that announcer Stoney Brown warned would be a devilish pickle for the contestants—50 yards distant from the hole and 30 yards away from the green itself, over a swell and up and over a hill.
"It's so long from the hole that the golfers are bringing range finders with them," said Valley Club director of golf Brown with dry wit to the spectators, numbering over 100 in the flotilla of golf carts.
Valley Club member Quinn was brave enough to go first. His effort, although admirable, didn't have the hold on the green of his opponent, Valley Club member Hull. Hull's winning pitch wound up nine feet from the hole, a fantastic shot that clinched the symbolic "Moose" trophies for he and his partner Lodas from Birnam Wood Golf Club in Santa Barbara.
All in all, it was an excellent finish for both long-shot finalist teams, something like Clarke's 150-to-1 chances at Royal St. George's. And it ended a four-day event that started with Wednesday's practice round and featured 27 holes of round-robin golf over the next three days.
Following the five, nine-hole matches played by the 60 twosomes, the 10 flight winners advanced to Saturday afternoon's five-hole Moose Rut in which the high-scoring teams were eliminated. All the teams enjoyed the courses which were in fantastic condition for the 120 players, but only two twosomes remained at the No. 9 hole for the overtime decider.
In third place for a second straight year were Chris Stephens and Ken Herich. Tying for fourth place were the teams of Doug Christie and Michael Christie, and Jeffrey Batt and Gary Morgan.
Here are results of the 10 flights in best ball, round-robin play Thursday through Saturday (Valley Club member listed first in twosomes), and also the results of this year's special Moose Madness competitions:
Wade Hampton (North Carolina): 1—Jeffrey Mansoor and Jim Curran (Sun Valley Resort) 25 points. 2—Dick Toomey and Jim Toomey (Oro Valley CC) 24. 3—Kurt Funkhouser and Billy Neal (Arizona Grand GC) 23.5. 4—Scott Lucas and Phil Bachler (San Francisco GC) 22.5. 5—William Potter and Charles Athill (The Grand Del Mar) 21.5. 6—Doug Rhymes and John Shaw (The Bridges) 18.5.
Shadow Creek (Nevada): 1—Scott Rogers and John Beckert (Preston Trails GC) 29.5 points. 2—Jack Dies and Bob Dunn (Sun Valley Resort) 25. 3—Gerald Boas and Bob Phillips (Annandale GC) 24. 4 (tie)—Papa Doug Manchester and Rich Logan (Fairbanks Ranch CC) 23; Jim Wood and Ken Petersen (Big Canyon CC) 23. 6—David Rognlien and Bruce Albertson (Los Angeles CC) 13.5.
Victoria National (Indiana): 1—Jeffrey Batt and Gary Morgan (Hillcrest CC) 24 points. 2 (tie)—Paul Hartzell and Lawrence Venick (Los Angeles CC) 23; Walter Teagle III and Rand Alexander (Wellesley CC) 23; Sean Terry and David Schirmer (Wee Burn CC) 23. 5 (tie)—Doug Hickey and Jim Green (Harding Park GC) 21; Gary Crowe and Gerry Riggs (Seville G & CC) 21.
Butler National (Illinois): 1—Jim Cannavino and Kenny Ward (Golf Ranch 93) 25 points. 2 (tie)—Tim Flaherty and Rob Cronin (Sun Valley Resort) 24.5; Slim Sommerville and Mick Humphreys (Vintage Club) 24.5. 4—Mitch Milias and Murray Marsh (Los Angeles CC) 22.5. 5—Jim Gallaugher and Brad Thoreson (Seattle GC) 21.5. 6—Steve Rose and Dr. Greg McCoy (Portland GC) 17.
Flint Hills (Kansas): 1—Mike Quinn and John Suydam (Toscana CC) 25.5 points. 2—Ken McCain and Chris Bitterlin (San Diego CC) 23.5. 3—Phil O'Reilly and Steve Daffer (Windsong Farm GC) 23. 4—Steve Dorinson and Armand Poole (Eldorado CC) 22.5. 5—James Daniels and Terry Daniels (Jupiter Island Club) 21. 6—Jeff Jeffery and Stephen Jeffery (Torrey Pines GC) 19.5.
Sand Ridge (Ohio): 1—Hanley Dawson III and Bud Furman (Vintage Club) 25.5 points. 2 (tie)—David Rose and Jack Dell (Los Angeles CC) 24; Michael Ochsman and Billy Burak (Woodmont CC) 24. 4—Ron Fairfax and Mike Beck (Bigwood GC) 22. 5—Roger Miller and Louie D'Ambrosio (Newport Beach CC) 21. 6—Todd Peebler and Jimmy Crumpacker (Sun Valley Resort) 18.5.
Quarry (California): 1—Chris Stephens and Ken Herich (Elkhorn GC) 24.5 points. 2—Marty Albertson and Bob Mayer (North Ranch CC) 24. 3 (tie)—Dick Wetherell and Jack Jackson (Bear Creek CC) 23.5; Rod LeMense and Greg LeMense (Gettysvue CC) 23.5. 5—Joe Castle and Jack Hoffman (Alisal-Ranch Course) 20.5. 6—Tullio Celano and Larry Honchen (Entrada at Snow Canyon) 19.5.
Dallas National (Texas): 1—Doug Christie and Michael Christie (Blackhawk CC) 26 points. 2—Jeff Lohmann and Madison Poole (Eldorado CC) 25. 3—Lou Mace and Sid Mace (Santa Fe CC) 24. 4—Peter Gaasland and Phil Greenman (TPC Sawgrass) 22.5. 5—Ed Sinnott and Norman Kenyon (Maidstone Club) 20.5. 6—John Morris and Jack Aplin (Vintage Club) 17.
Estancia (Arizona): 1—Blair Hull and Jim Lodas (Birnam Wood GC) 28.5 points. 2—Tom Lenze and Eric Lenze (Sahalee CC) 25.5. 3—Dean Hovencamp and David Kempken (Reynolds Plantation) 22. 4—Robert Allen and Mark Enes (Del Paso CC) 21. 5—Jay Cassell and David Brown (Claremont CC) 20.5. 6—Bob Cook and Hal Greene (The Club at Morningside) 17.5.
Sage Valley (South Carolina): 1—Richard Emery and Bill Merizon (Sun Valley Resort) 26 points (won tiebreaker for first place). 2—William Hill and Richard Brown (Lakeside CC) 26. 3 (tie)—James Britt and Murray Campbell (The Club at Morningside) 23; Anthony Moiso and Joe Cannon (Arroyo Trabuco GC) 23. 5—Dale Jones and Don Lundquist (Thunderbird CC) 19. 6—Jeff Rust and Lyman Rust (Anthem CC) 18.
Here are results of Wednesday and Friday contests at Moose Madness:
Closest to the hole contests: Brad Thoreson 3 inches (#4 North); Sean Terry 4 feet, 3 inches (#7 North); Jack Dies 4 feet, 9 inches (#6 South); and Steve Dorinson 9 feet, 2 inches (#2 South).
Closest to the hole in the Simulator: 1—Jim Toomey 6 feet, .78 inches. 2—Kurt Funkhouser 8 feet, .04 inches. 3—Billy Neal 10 feet, 19 inches. 4—Mike Beck 23 feet.
Chipping Challenge: 1—Gary Morgan 9.75 inches. 2—Billy Neal 11 inches. 3—Kurt Funkhouser 16 inches. 4—Jim Britt 18.75 inches.
Longer and straighter drive: Armand Poole (#4 South).
Straightest drive: Mitch Milias (#6 North).
Putting challenge: The five finalists were Rod LeMense, Kurt Funkhouser, Mark Enes, Nick Humphries and Ron Fairfax. The putt-off was held during Saturday evening's cocktail party, on the South Course No. 9 green. Each of the finalists had one putt. Humphries won the cash prize by placing his putt 3 feet, 6 inches from the hole.
July 13 practice round: Dick Wetherell and Jack Jackson 59; Chris Stephens and Ken Herich 61; Scott Rogers and John Beckert 62; and eight teams tied with 63.