A CGA Team Interclub season that lasted five months wasn't officially complete until long after the sun had set on Sunday night and play had ended in the championship match.
In a controversial final in which one four-ball and two singles matches weren't completed as darkness fell, the combined men's club from Saddle Rock and Murphy Creek Golf Courses (left) defeated Glenwood Springs Golf Club 22-14 at CommonGround Golf Course to win its first CGA Team Interclub title.
With a late start time for the finals planned -- 1 p.m. on Sunday -- a 90-minute frost delay on Sunday morning pushed back tee times throughout the day, and the first of the six Interclub foursomes didn't begin competition until about 1:30. The first two foursomes finished as the sun set and the last two groups stopped after the 16th hole, with the Glenwood Springs players (two in singles and one a four-ball team) saying they couldn't complete the match due to darkness and therefore "conceded".
In the end, that turned out to be the key word as it gave the win to their opponents in match play, though that may not have been the intention. In the case of two of those matches, Glenwood Springs was 2 down with two holes to play, and in the third, the individual was 1 down with two to go. So even if Glenwood Springs had won every hole of all three of those matches, the result would have been an overall tie at 18-18. Then the appropriate tiebreaker would have had to be found.
Instead, after much discussion among CGA officials and team captains and the players involved, Glenwood Springs agreed to let the results stand with Saddle Rock/Murphy Creek getting the victory.
"We ultimately take responsibity (for) starting too late," said Dustin Jensen, the managing director of operations for the CGA. "The frost delay hurt us. But it's completely our fault; we can't do that going forward. Ultimately, daylight hurt us. It may not have impacted the winner, but it may have had an impact on the (scoring) outcome. That's a fair way to put it."
Said Glenwood Springs captain Dave Sorel: "I'm a little disappointed (in not being able to finish all the matches due to darkness). We traveled a long way -- from the Western Slope. These guys spent a lot of money. We've got people that have to work tomorrow and drive three hours. But Dustin is a straight-up guy. He takes responsibility for that."
As for the combined men's club from Saddle Rock/Murphy Creek winning the title, it was quite a feat. After all, the club has been playing in the Team Interclub since 2011, but had never before qualified for the 16-team playoffs, much less won it all. But it all fell into place this year, despite losing a regular-season match to Lone Tree Golf Club, and needing a tiebreaker to get past West Woods Golf Club in the playoff semifinals. SR/MC posted a 5-1-1 record, though none of its wins came by double-digit margins.
"It's fantastic," said Calum White, who defeated four-time CGA Mid-Amateur champion Keith Humerickhouse 1 up in singles and teamed up with David Snow to beat Humerickhouse and Danny Schard 2 and 1 in four-ball. "We've not even made the playoffs in the past. So to make it into the playoffs, we were excited about that. Then to make it all the way to the final and win it, that's unbelievable."
(Calum, in green, and Snow are pictured at left.)
In the end, while Saddle Rock/Murphy Creek split the six four-ball matches with Glenwood Springs, the Aurora team prevailed in singles 16 points to 8.
"I'm very proud of the way our guys pulled it out, fighting through the day to get it done," said SR/MC playing captain Craig Stephenson, the assistant to team captain Patrick Horvath, who was out of town this weekend. "It was a great job. We had some very close matches."
Six of Saddle Rock/Murphy Creek's players won both their singles and four-ball matches: White, Snow, Mike Desmarais, Julio Palacios, Ian Culverhouse and Dave Henderson. On the Glenwood Springs side, going 2-0 were Sorel, Kirk Blaszyk and Parker Hille.
"I'm proud of these guys," said Sorel, whose Glenwood Springs team was trying to become the second straight club from the Western Slope -- following Battlement Mesa last year -- to capture the Team Interclub title. "They played hard. It was a good year."
Murphy Creek/Saddle Rock and Glenwood Springs advanced to the finals from an original field of 26 clubs (22 actually competed) after roughly five months of competition. First, there was a regular-season round-robin of geographically-linked groups of teams lasting from May through mid-summer. The team from each group with the highest point total advanced to the playoffs -- along with nine second- and third-place finishes in the round-robins, including SR/MC. Playoff matches ran from August through October.
Both in the regular season and the playoffs, teams of a dozen men each -- of widely varying abilities -- square off, with net singles and net four-ball matches held concurrently. Each individual match is worth two points -- two for a win and one for a tie.
The finals of the eighth CGA Team Interclub conclude the CGA's 2016 championship season.
As part of the Team Interclub, the CGA will donate $500 each to the junior golf programs at Saddle Rock/Murphy Creek and Glenwood Springs.
CGA Team Interclub Finals
At CommonGround GC in Aurora
OVERALL SCORE: SADDLE ROCK/MURPHY CREEK 22, GLENWOOD SPRINGS 14
FOUR-BALL (Saddle Rock/Murphy Creek 6, Glenwood Springs 6)
Calum White/David Snow (SR/MC) def. Keith Humerickhouse/Danny Schard (GS), 2 and 1
Roland Gauthier/Mark Smith (GS) def. Tom Trueax/Joe Fabrizion (SR/MC), 2 up
Mike Desmarais/Julio Palacios (SR/MC) def. Paul Nelson/Jim Roy (GS), 4 and 3
Kirk Blaszyk/Dave Sorel (GS) def. Jay Janzen/Craig Stephenson (SR/MC), 5 and 3
Ian Culvershouse/Dave Henderson (SR/MC) def. Jeff Austin/Jim Otto (GS), 2 up
Jerry Butler/Parker Hille (GS) def. Steve Brown/Mike Dormond (SR/MC), 3 and 2
SINGLES (Saddle Rock/Murphy Creek 16, Glenwood Springs 8)
Calum White (SR/MC) def. Keith Humerickhouse (GS), 1 up
David Snow (SR/MC) def. Danny Schard (GS), 4 and 3
Tom Trueax (SR/MC) halved with Roland Gauthier (GS)
Joe Fabrizio (SR/MC) halved with Mark Smith (GS)
Mike Desmarais (SR/MC) def. Paul Nelson (GS), 1 up
Julio Palacios (SR/MC) def. Jim Roy (GS), 4 and 3
Kirk Blaszyk (GS) def. Jay Janzen (SR/MC), 4 and 3
Dave Sorel (GS) def. Craig Stephenson (SR/MC), 1 up
Ian Culverhouse (SR/MC) def. Jeff Austin (GS), 2 and 1
Dave Henderson (SR/MC) def. Jim Otto (GS), 2 and 1
Steve Brown (SR/MC) def. Jerry Butler (GS), 2 and 1
Parker Hille (GS) def. Mike Dormand (SR/MC), 4 and 3