86 players participated in this year's Pro Golf tournament,
a new attendance high. This caused an even great amount of
overflow into the hallway outside of Salons E&F than normal.
This was almost a problem, as we were ready to start the finals
Skins Game when a foursome was discovered in the hallway almost
all the way back to the registration desk who had not yet completed
their initial two rounds.
A few changes were made to this year's event. With scores
increasingly falling farther below par, the Augusta course was
toughened up by using the longer version from the 2002 Masters
tournament which had just been published in The BOARDGAMER.
Even this failed to keep the winning golfers from achieving double
digit under par results.
GM Keith Hunsinger being unable to attend caused two mild
problems. The first was that most of our extra Pebble Beach
courses were stranded in Defiance, Ohio, causing some delays
in getting all the group finished. This will not be a problem
next year. The other was that Keith - playing by phone from
Ohio - needed a substitute to roll his dice so Pete Pollard was
drafted, and he did the rest of the field proud by rolling a
4 above par result and leaving Keith far out of contention.
After the initial 36 holes at Pebble Beach and the new Augusta,
Jason Levine (with the infamous Golfer #22) was in the lead at
14 under par, Paul Risner (with Ben Hogan) finished at 12 and
Terry Coleman (with Sam Snead) finished at 10. Jeff Bakalchuck
seemed to have the 4th spot wrapped up after eagling #16 to go
10 under, but bogeyed the last two holes to finish in a tie at
8 with Arthur Davis, Devin Flawd, and Robert Eastman. Perennial
final four participant (but never champion) Ken Gutermuth finished
just out of the running with a score of 7. There was much rejoicing
from the assembled multitude.
The four players tied for fourth were transported to beautiful
Arrowhead Park Golf Club in mystical Minster, Ohio for a sudden
death playoff. Robert Eastman (with everyone's favorite, Dr.
Gil Morgan) emerged to advance to the Skin's Game final. The
Skin's Game was contested on the classic Augusta National course.
Terry Coleman started by grabbing three skins on the third
hole (and spent most of the next hour mumbling "This is
great! as he rolled his dice). Robert Eastman then won the Skin
on the 4th hole and two more on the 6th to tie for the lead.
Jason Levine joined the first place deadlock by winning three
skins on the 9th hole, and Paul RIsner made this the tightest
Skins Game ever by taking two skins on the 11th hole.
The 12th and 13th holes were halved, and then Terry jumped
out into the lead with a big three-skin pickup on the 14th.
Jason Levine closed the gap by taking the15th. As the clock
reached 2:30 AM, the golfers (especially the venerable Dr. Gil
Morgan) seemed to slow down, and no one was able to claim the
skins on the 16th, 17th or 18th holes.
Thus Terry Coleman survived to win the Pro Golf title
with six skins. Jason Levine continued his "close, but no
cigar" week with four skins, Robert Eastman finished 3rd
with three skins and Paul Risner brought up the rear with two.