July 16, 1999
Rich Curl should have been one very tired golfer last Sunday afternoon.
To others it seemed that the low-handicap, affable YMCA executive from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania had to carry his team members all day to their victory in the Oldsmobile Scramble Tournament at Kings Creek Country Club July 11.
He denied it, of course. “No way it was just me. This was a total team effort,” Curl insisted.
I have to disagree somewhat. After all, I was one of the guys he helped carry.
The Oldsmobile Scramble is a national tournament sponsored by the General Motors division. First played in 1984, over 100,000 men and women now compete each year.
Over 2100 golf courses, including most Cape Region clubs participate in the first stage, called the Local Championships. Each facility determines eligibility. For example, at Shawnee Country Club this year, only members could play. At Kings Creek, however, two members could invite players from other courses.
Kings Creek members Nick DelCampo and Kevin Conlon asked Curl to join them again this year, along with yours truly, for our team’s fourth attempt.
The Scramble format uses a modified handicap system based on the players’ USGA handicap. Teams handicaps range from 1 to 8 strokes at the local level, and are cut to a maximum of 4 strokes thereafter. The handicap strokes are subtracted from the total gross score for the net competition.
As with most scrambles, each player hits a drive. The team then selects the best first shot among the four. Team members then hit their second shots from that spot, and so on until someone makes the final putt.
In the Olds scramble, two drives from each player must be used regardless of how good or how bad they are. This rule can lead to some interesting strategy choices.
The tournament rewards an aggressive but team-based approach. It really helps if the team members know each other’s game. DelCampo, Cape’s volleyball coach, can hit the routine 300-yard blast, and Conlon is dangerous on the green. My short game helps, and Curl is simply good at everything.
We usually tee off from high handicap to low, and stick to the same order for each shot, including putting. If a short-hitter like me makes a decent drive or reaches a spot on the green, the others can fire away. On par fives, I usually hit the lay-up shot for insurance, and the others try for the green in two.
Local winners in the gross and net categories qualify for Sectional Championships. At Kings Creek two teams qualified to play August 4 at Talamore at Oak Terrace in Ambler, Pennsylvania. Kings Creek’s PGA Pro Ty Mayers and Assistant Pro David Jones will play with the amateurs, making up 5-man teams.
Winners in the sectional championships then go to Disney World in Orlando, Florida October 6-10, 1999 for the four-day National Finals. Rodney Wyatt, a member of Shawnee Country Club, played in the nationals, and said it was a “fabulous experience.”
At Kings Creek last Sunday, Ron Borders, Jerry Schiavino, Joe Comorat, and Jim Miller won the gross category in a chip-off against Dale Brown, David Doherty, Steve Storrie, and Bob Smith, after both teams tied with a 60.
And Curl and his buddies? We won the net category with a stunning 54. “We were putting fools,” said Conlon with a grin. He made 3 of the team’s ten birdies. Each player helped somewhere along the way, but Curl was the obvious MVP.
Maybe I should send him a box of vitamins before the next round.