October 15, 1999
A team representing Kings Creek Country Club played in the net category of the Oldsmobile Scramble National Finals Tournament at Disney World from October 6-10, 1999. Assistant golf pro David Jones led Nick DelCampo, Kevin Conlon, Rich Curl, and yours truly over three rounds, trying to make the cut for the top 24 teams who would play in the final round on Sunday, October 10.
We had a great time. Our team even set a tournament record, about which there’ll be more details in the next column.
As reported in prior columns, 150 teams from all over the country traveled to Orlando for the net competition, and 150 more teams competed in the gross category. Over 100,000 competitors played in the local qualifiers in 2000 tournaments in 48 states.
A team from Shawnee Country Club also played in the net division finals. Eric Harrison, Dave King, Dave Isaacs, and Brent Rhue were joined by PGA club professional Greg Farrow. They missed the cut for the final round by one shot.
Two other nearby club teams also played in the finals. Dover’s Maple Dale Country Club played in the gross division. A team representing Ocean City Golf & Yacht Club in Berlin, Maryland played very well in the net category, tying for second in the final round.
Our team first played Falcon’s Fire, an upscale daily fee layout in Kissimmee stretching to 6900 yards. We then played Eagle Pines, a 6800-yard course designed by Tom Fazio. Our third round took place at Disney’s Lake Buena Vista, a tree-lined 6829-yard layout used on the PGA and LPGA Tours. Three other courses were used for the gross competition.
In both contests the male amateurs and pros played from the back tees. Women professionals played from the regular men’s tees, and the women amateurs played from the red tees.
The First Day-Wednesday, October 6
We traveled with several other teams in tournament-provided buses for our 1 p.m. start on the first tee, and took advantage of the golf range and putting greens during the inevitable delay. Each course’s greens used Bermuda grass, and the change from our normal bent grass was noticeable. Fortunately the bright sun made it easier to see the grain.
We finally got underway about 40 minutes late, and promptly birdied four of our first seven holes. We were feeling pretty good about our chances.
Then the wind picked up.
On the 8th hole, a 224-yard par 3 over water, my 2-wood shot landed on a steep slope 10 yards short of the green. It was our best shot. Our best second shot landed on the fringe. Rich Curl rolled in a ten-footer for par.
The round became even tougher. Falcon’s Fire was already playing longer than the scorecard showed because of recent heavy rains. DelCampo hit several drives that carried 250 yards, only to plug or bounce backwards a yard or two. The steadily increasing winds made it even more challenging.
We felt lucky to make two more birdies for the rest of the round. For example, the 18th hole was a 464-yard par 4 into the wind. After a driver off the tee and a second driver off the fairway, we still needed a lob wedge to make the green. In the near darkness we made par, but the tough conditions muted our early optimism.
We finished the day in 121st place, but only 5 strokes behind the teams tied for 24th. We convinced ourselves that if we stepped up our level of play on the next two days, we’d still have a chance to make the cut.
Continued in next column….