They qualified to get into the qualifications now they must qualify to reach the finals, said Payson Men’s Golf Association member Herb Sherman.
What the longtime golfer was explaining was the long road the PMGA entrants must travel in order to reach the championship round of play in the Arizona Golf Association Two-Man Scramble State Tournament.
The state shootout, which is the granddaddy of all tournaments for Arizona’s amateur golfers, will be contested next month on Valley area courses.
Payson entrants into it include the team of Jessie Smith and Tim Ernst for low gross play and Russ Morris and Steve Holmes for low net scoring.
John Calderwood and Ross Robertson will represent the PMGA in the seniors (70-year-plus) state tournament.
All three teams qualified for state at a two-man scramble played Sept. 1 at Payson Golf Course.
Smith and Ernst earned a coveted state berth by carding a 63. Morris and Holmes finished at 53.2 and Calderwood and Robertson scored a 54.4 to narrowly edge Troy Neal and Jim Dalgleish at 54.9.
Herman explained the scoring format as “gross score minus the handicap which was figured on 40 percent of their handicap index.”
Whew, hope a PMGA member had a TI30XA in their pocket to calculate those scores.
The closest-to-the-pin competition during the qualifying produced some of the most bizarre results ever seen in a PMGA tournament. On the five par 3 holes at PGC, there were only two separate winners and one of the champs pocketed prize money on three holes. Of course that meant he dropped a wad of cash in the clubhouse bar during the traditional 19th hole celebration.
“I think they are probably still in there,” said Sherman more than a few hours after the tournament wrapped up.
The “triple dipper,” as Sherman prefers to call them, was former high school basketball coach and motivational speaker turned cattle rancher Troy Neal.
He was closest on No. 5 (6 feet, 2 inches), No. 14 (4 feet, 5 inches) and on No. 17 he narrowly missed an ace swatting to within 1 foot, 5 inches of the pin.
Tim Ernst was closest on No. 2 (7 feet, 1/2 inch and No. 8 (12 feet, 5 inches).
Next up for PMGA members is a Sept. 8 visit to Silver Creek Golf Course near Show Low. On Sept. 15 and 22 the players return to PGC for the annual President’s Cup which is one of the association’s most prestigious tournaments.