Click Here for Match Play Bracket and Online Scoring
What a tournament the Match Play championship turned out to be. The final match between good friends Curt Jordan and Johnny Hayes began at 12:45pm and Johnny immediately put the hammer down on the front nine. Playing some of the best golf of the tournament Johnny went on such a run that he had a 15-20ft putt on the 9th hole to shoot a 7-under, 29 for the outgoing nine. Even though he didn't quite get that one to the hole, he finished the front in 30 and went to the 10th hole 6-up.
Jordan, a die hard Celtics fan, likened the shellacking to the March 1985 Celtics game against the Atlanta Hawks, where Larry Bird scored 60 points. All Jordan could do was sit back and enjoy the show. Curt did manage a birdie on the 11th but it was too little, too late and Hayes put him away on the 14th hole to win the championship 6&4.
Curt Jordan got off to a great start and was 5 up after 11 and was dormie after 15, but Joe Walp battled back with a couple of birdies to send the match to the 18th hole, where Curt finally prevailed, 1-up. The other match between Johnny Hayes and Jack Wyman was close all the way with no player ever getting more that 1-up. All square on the 18th tee Hayes hit his tee shot into the trees left and played a provisional ball. Wyman found the middle of the fairway. Hayes was able to find his ball and chipped out to the center of the fairway. Still away, he then hit his approach shot to 4ft. Still laying one Wyman hit his approach shot short of the flag but spun it back in to the water hazard fronting the green. Wyman was able to play it from the hazard but ran it over the back of the green and missed the putt coming back. He then picked up Johnny's ball, shook hands and the final was set.
The semi-finals are finally set for Friday morning!! After a near 5 hour rain delay, a brief break in the rains gave us the "window of opportunity" we were waiting for. Joe Alvarez and Curt Jordan returned to the 17th green to finish the hole that was the most critical. After officials used a squeegee to roll out water from the line of putt and also removed water from the cup, Alvarez lined up his put to stay 1-up and go dormie with one hole to play. Unfortunately, the cribbage and chess that was played during the long delay did nothing to help him get back to form and he was unable to sink the putt, missing it ever so slightly on the left side of the hole.
Because of the extreme conditions and the fact that it was a match play event, the MSGA officials decided to change the "stipulated round" for the last two groups. The 8th and 9th hole of the Arrowhead course, being the driest available, were pressed into service and both groups continued their match all square from the 8th tee.
The long delay and 62 holes Alvarez had already played in just over 24 hours finally took its toll as his tee shot went sailing left and well out of bounds. Joe knew at that point the odds were against him as he stated "that's OB, game over". After missing his approach shot left and chipping up to lay 5 on the 8th green, he walked over to Jordan's ball, who had played two excellent shots and lay a few feet from the hole. Ever the good sport Alvarez picked up Jordan's ball and shook hands conceding the hole and match.
Meanwhile the group of Joe Walp and Mike O'Brien first played the 8th and 9th hole on the Arrowhead course to finish their 18 hole round all square. The playoff was continued on the 8th and 9th again. Walp had his chance on 8th when O'Brien's approach came up short but was unable to sink the 6ft putt to end it. On the next playoff hole O'Brien drove the green on the short par 4, but his ball rolled off the left edge of the green leaving a tough chip which he was able to convert, leaving himself a 10ft birdie putt. Walp then bumped his short approach shot to 2ft. O'Brien made his putt forcing Walp to convert his two footer to extend the match.
While all of this drama was taking place the Natanis maintenance crew was able to prepare the Tomahawk course and the playoff went back across the road to the first hole. Both players hit decent drives and approach shots but Mike O'Brien's putt went sailing past the cup and just off the faster Tomahawk green. Walp, having received a perfect read, was able to lag to a few inches, forcing O'Brien to make his 15ft putt from the fringe. The ball rolled right over the hole but lipped out giving Walp the 21 hole/8 hour victory.
The four players and the MSGA officials present were joined by Rob and Allen Browne, owners of Natanis Golf Course, during the final holes. Both owners earned everyone's respect as they pitched in to squeegee the greens and do whatever was necessary to make their golf course playable.
Tommorrow is another day and story, as this championship will go down in history as one of the most exciting, having seen many great matchups and unbelievable shots, carrying players into extra holes.
With two of the quarter final matches still on the golf course, play has been suspended due to heavy rains. Joe Alvarez has an 8ft putt for par, to remain 1-up over Curt Jordan on the 17th hole. Mike Obrien and Joe Walp are all square on the 17th tee. In the other two quarter final matches, Jack Wyman was victorius eliminating Jason Gall 4&2, while Johnny Hayes won over Tobey Buteau 5&4. The schedule has been adjusted because of course conditions. We plan on getting the last two quarter final matches done today but the semi-finals have been postponed until Friday morning starting at 8:00 am. The final match will then follow about noon.