For a profile of The Golf Club at Blue Heron Hills
and a history of the RDGA Match Play Championships, CLICK HERE.
The RDGA's first major amateur championship of 2016 - the District Match Play and Senior Match Play competitions - were hosted by The Golf Club at Blue Heron Hills. The competitions each featured single elimination brackets with players seeded from Nos. 1 through 24 - based upon points earned from tournaments in 2015 - in the RDGA's version of "May Madness."
By the end of the competition, the two competitors left standing - Stafford Country Club's Jim Scorse in the Match Play Championship and Ravenwood Golf Club's Bob Chalanick in the Senior Match Play Championship - each had tremendous experience, both in terms of winning championships, as well as winning in match play format.
Scorse Steady in Winning Seventh Match Play Championship
Last year's RDGA Match Play champion, Shane Dobesh, did not return to defend his title this year, due to the fact that he turned professional over the off season - but, six-time District Match Play champion Jim Scorse was in the field and looking to atone for being knocked out in the Quarter Final Round a year ago.
In the first round of the 2016 RDGA Match Play Championship, a starting bracket of 24 golfers - with the top eight seeds receiving byes (including the No. 1 seed, Scorse) - began play in the first round on Friday morning. That afternoon, the winners of those matches met the top-seeded players who had first round byes in the Match Play Championship's second round, sending eight players to the next round.
Day two of the RDGA Match Play Championship featured the Quarter Final and Semi Final Matches of the Championships that narrowed the respective fields of the twin competitions from eight, to four, then to two. The Match Play Quarterfinals saw Scorse advance, as well as Doug Kulikowski, Kyle Downey and Zak Ottman.
Scorse did advance past the Quarter Finals this year, but had a tough time doing so, with No. 9 seed Colin Dubnik taking him to the 18th hole before winning, 1-up.
"My second match - against Colin Dubnik - I didn’t play as well as I did the other three rounds and I think it showed, since I went further than I did the other three rounds," Scorse recalled later. "Over the last two matches, they gave me a few holes, so that made it a little bit easier than it could have been, probably, but I played solid."
In the Semi Finals, Scorse and Ottman won to set up Sunday's Final Match. For Scorse, it meant a return to familiar surroundings - squaring off in a solo match to decide a title, on a course where he's won numerous times in the annual Tournament of Champions. For Ottman, reaching the Finals represented a step forward from a year ago, when he was eliminated in the Quarter Final Round.
In the Championship Match on Sunday morning, the Scorse jumped out to an early lead - posting three birdies over the first four holes - and never looked back. Scorse outlasted Ottman by a 4-and-2 decision to claim his seventh career RDGA Match Play Championship title.
"I got the early start today, with the three birdies, so I got up on him and made it hard for him to come back," said Scorse. "I made a lot of pars – I made him make birdies, which he did. You have to give it to him, he didn’t give up – he kept trying."
For Ottman, although disappointed in the loss to Scorse, he was happy to chalk it up as a learning experience.
"It was a lot of fun playing Jim – he’s a great player - he got off to a quick start against me," he said. "I can’t wait for next year – I’ve played pretty well in this for two years now. Can’t wait until I can maybe win one of these."
For Scorse, the victory afforded him yet another opportunity to exhibit his mastery of nearly every RDGA championship he's ever played. Still, despite having just earned his seventh career RDGA Match Play title, he was already beginning to focus on his next objective: the Tournament of Champions at Blue Heron Hills.
"Hopefully, I can do this again next week – a couple of rounds like this and I’ll be happy," Scorse said. "We’ll look forward to that when it gets here and in the meantime, I’ll enjoy this."
For complete bracket results from the 2016 RDGA Match Play Championship, CLICK HERE.
Chalanick Adds Senior Match Play Title to Resume
Bob Chalanick, left, defeated Steve Hakes, right, in the Senior Finals at Blue Heron Hills.
The 2016 RDGA Senior Match Play Championship - for players ages 55 and over - also featured a starting field of 24 golfers and, as in the Match Play Championship, the top eight seeded players received first round byes.
After the first day's rounds narrowed the field from 24, to 16 to eight players, Saturday's Senior Match Play Quarterfinals saw Bob Chalanick, Paul Parrone, Andy Conway and Steve Hakes each advancing to the Semi Final round. In the afternoon, Chalanick and Hakes won to advance to the Senior Match Play Finals on Sunday.
In the RDGA Senior Match Play Finals, Chalanick got out to an early lead against Steve Hakes and never looked back, completing a 3-and-2 victory for his first match play title with the RDGA.
Chalanick previously won the 1994 RDGA District Championship, as well as the 2015 RDGA Senior Championship.
"I played a very good player – that’s the match today – his name is Steve Hakes," said Chalanick, complimenting his opponent. "He was real steady – I think I putted a little better than he did today, that was the difference."For Hakes, the Finals appearance reminded him of the last time he met an opponent - in the RDGA Boys Sub Junior Championship, almost 42 years ago.
For complete bracket results from the 2016 RDGA Senior Match Play Championship, CLICK HERE.