The Payson Men’s Golf Association 2011 campaign teed off with a four-man scramble that turned into a barnburner of a duel between the top two teams.
Playing March 16 at Payson Golf Course, the foursome of Jessie Smith, Doug Talbot, Dave Rutter and Ross Robertson dead knotted with the team of Larry Smith, Ed McFall, Dennis McAllister and Al Lyons.
The two teams finished with identical scores of 61, forcing a tiebreaker to be used to declare Jessie Smith’s team the champions and Larry Smith’s squad the tournament runners-up.
For the tiebreaker, tournament chairman Steve Vincent said, “We went back to the last six holes (scores) for all four players.”
The battle for top honors almost turned into a three-way tie when the third-place finishing team came up just one stroke shy of 61.
On the bronze medalist team that scored a 62 were Ken Althoff, Herb Sherman, Frank Karnes and Frank Latona.
Following the tournament, Vincent poked a good-natured jab at two fellow association members saying, “Frank Szakal and Russ Morris led their team to last place.”
In the closest to the pin competition, Troy Neal — a big winner last season — was closest of the day, swatting to within 5 feet, 2-1/2 inches on No. 5.
Ken Althoff was just 6 feet, 6-1/2 inches shy of an ace on No. 8, and Jesse Smith pocketed prize money on No. 17 with a tee shot that left him 7 feet, 1 inch shy of the flag.
Herb Sherman won on No. 14 with an 8 feet, 10 inch effort.
Larry Smith won on No. 2 at 12 feet, 4 inches.
Next up for the PMGA is a “Tee to Green” formatted tournament on March 30 at PGC.
On April 6, the PMGA will host its annual “Masters Minus Low Net plus Masters Player You Pick.” It is one of the most unique of the tournaments played during the PMGA season. In it, members lock horns in a fantasy-type formatted shoot-out in which each member’s final tally is calculated by adding his card to the one posted by his chosen Masters player.
Last year, Ed Quigley chose Phil Mickelson as his partner, and together (66/338) the pair claimed gold in the first flight. In 2010 Frank Szakal also chose Mickelson for a 65/341 to take second in the flight. Steve Vincent picked Tiger Woods and posted a 65/342 to finish third. In fourth were Tony Mularski and Anthony Kim at 67/343.