Winning his record seventh RDGA Match Play Championship in 2016 was Jim Scorse of Stafford Country Club, left, who won the title at The Golf Club at Blue Heron Hills. Zach Ottman of Locust Hill Country Club, right, was the runner-up.
The RDGA Match Play Championship
The RDGA Match Play Championship enters its third decade this year as one of the Rochester District Golf Association's top annual championships. The starting field for the RDGA Match Play Championship is filled each year by invitees based on the top point leaders from the RDGA's Player of the Year Award points list - a list that incorporates points earned based on performance by players in certain local, state and national events from the previous season.
Through the years, the RDGA Match Play Championship has produced many memorable champions. Jim Scorse - the four-time RDGA District Championship John H. Ryan Memorial winner from Stafford Country Club - leads all past Match Play champions, having won the title seven times since 1998 and finishing as runner-up in 2008. Monroe Golf Club's John Kircher - another four-time RDGA District Championship winner - has won the Match Play Championship title twice.
In recent years, three of the RDGA's top younger players - Gavin Hall, the three-time District Championship winner from Mendon Golf Club; Oak Hill Country Club's Trevor Sluman, winner of the 2014, 2015 and 2016 District Championship; and former Locust Hill Country Club member Dominic Bozzelli (now a touring professional on the PGA Tour) - have each won the District Match Play title.
The RDGA Match Play Championship also has a unique connection to the RDGA District Championship, dating back to the earliest days of the RDGA in 1930. For the first 38 years of the RDGA District Championship, the event was conducted as a match play competition - until 1969, when a 72-hole stroke play format was adopted, which has continued to be used to this day. When the RDGA Match Play Championship was added to the District schedule in 1997, it restored the tradition of top match play competition that had been absent from the RDGA for nearly 30 years.
Between 1997 and 2015, the RDGA Match Play Championship featured a starting field of 32 players, with the top 31 RDGA Player of the Year point winners from the previous season joining the defending champion to form the starting field. Beginning in 2016, the size of the starting field was reduced to the top-24 point winners (including the defending champion), due to the growing popularity of the RDGA Senior Match Play Championship and the need to accommodate a larger number of players competing for the two Championships on the same host course.
In 2016, the RDGA's version of "bracket madness" visited The Golf Club at Blue Heron Hills and featured a few unexpected upsets along the way - including No. 2 seed Shawn Baker falling to No. 18 Kyle Downey in the quarterfinals. By the end of the three-day competition, however, it was a familiar face - Jim Scorse - who claimed his record seventh RDGA Match Play Championship title, defeating Locust Hill's Zach Ottman in the final match by a 4-and-2 margin. (CLICK HERE to view the 2016 RDGA Match Play Championship results.)
In 2017, the RDGA Match Play Championship visits another first-time host, Clifton Springs Country Club, on May 26, 27 and 28. Although a first-time host of the Match Play Championship, Clifton Springs has a long history of hosting RDGA Championships, including the District Senior Championship three times, as well as the RDGA Junior Championships twice - most recently in 2016.
Contestants in the 2017 RDGA Match Play Championship will be invited based on the 2016 RDGA Player of the Year Point Standings. The Top 24 Point Leaders will have until April 15 to guarantee a spot in the Match Play Chamionship. After April 15, the RDGA will contact each of the next highest-ranked players on the Points List until the 24-player bracket is filled. (CLICK HERE to view the 2016 RDGA Player of the Year points standings.)
As added incentive, RDGA Match Play finalists will also earn exemptions to the 2017 RDGA District Championship John H. Ryan Memorial, to be hosted by Locust Hill Country Club on July 12 to 15.
For more information about the 2017 RDGA Match Play Championship at Clifton Springs Country Club - and to register, if you've received an invitation - visit our tournament information page HERE.
|2016||Jim Scorse||Zak Ottman||The Golf Club at Blue Heron Hills|
|2015||Shane Dobesh||Shawn Baker||Ontario Country Club|
|2014||Jim Scorse||Sean Flint||Locust Hill Country Club|
|2013||Gavin Hall||Chris Malec||Ravenwood Golf Club|
|2012||Trevor Sluman||Brian McKenna||Brook-Lea Country Club|
|2011||Jim Scorse||Doug Slattery||Cobblestone Creek Country Club|
|2010||Jim Scorse||Dominic Bozzelli||Webster Golf Club|
|2009||Dominic Bozzelli||James Burns||Mill Creek Golf Club|
|2008||Dominic Bozzelli||Jim Scorse||Midvale Country Club|
|2007||Jim Scorse||Larry Sand||Stafford Country Club|
|2006||John Kircher||Jim Mason||Oak Hill Country Club|
|2005||Jim Mason||Michael Colosi||Caledonia Country Club|
|2004||Jim Scorse||Mike Mercier||Country Club of Rochester|
|2003||Andrew DiBitetto||Jim Mason||Shadow Pines Golf Club|
|2002||Jim Mason||Mike Mercier||Oak Hill Country Club|
|2001||Ken Starkweather||Larry Sand||Brook-Lea Country Club|
|2000||John Kircher||Jim Mason||Cobblestone Creek Country Club|
|1999||Roger Champagne||Kevin Haefner||Ridgemont Country Club|
|1998||Jim Scorse||Dave Benedict||Cobblestone Creek Country Club|
|1997||Bob Brooks||Tom Vogt||Stafford Country Club|
The RDGA Senior Match Play Championship
Winning the 2016 RDGA Match Play title at The Golf Club at Blue Heron Hills was Bob Chalanick of Ravenwood Golf Club, left. Steve Hakes of Pittsford, right, was the runner-up.
In 2015, the RDGA Match Play Championship format was opened up to include a new competition: the RDGA Senior Match Play Championship - open to all eligible amateur male golfers ages 55 and older who are RDGA members in good standing.
In the inaugural Senior Match Play Championship finals in 2015, past RDGA Senior Championship winner Mark Battle became the first player to claim the "Senior Slam" - having won both the RDGA Senior Championship title as well as the District Senior Match Play title.
In 2016, Bob Chalanick of Ravenwood Golf Club became the second "Senior Slam" winner in as many years, following up his 2015 RDGA Senior Championship title with the Senior Match Play title. In the 2016 Senior Match Play Finals, Chalanick got out to an early lead against RDGA e-Club Member 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. (CLICK HERE to view the 2016 RDGA Senior Match Play Championship results.)
This year, the RDGA Senior Match Play Championship returns - to be played concurrently with the RDGA Match Play Championship, as it was in 2015 and 2016 - and will be hosted by Clifton Springs Country Club on May 26, 27 and 28.
Players will be invited to compete in the 2017 Senior Match Play Championship based on 2016 RDGA Player of the Year Point Standings. Eligible senior players that are also in the Overall Top 24 and have been invited to compete in the Match Play Championship (non-senior) will have the option to compete in the Match Play Championship or the Senior Match Play Championship. Those players eligible for the Senior Match Play Championship must register by April 15 to secure a spot on the 2017 Senior Match Play Championship; after April 15, the Senior Match Play bracket will be filled on a first-come, first served basis, based upon ranking on the 2016 RDGA Player of the Year Point Standings. (CLICK HERE to view the 2016 RDGA Player of the Year points standings.)
For more information about the 2017 RDGA Senior Match Play Championship at Clifton Springs Country Club - and to register, if you're eligible - visit our tournament information page HERE.
|2016||Bob Chalanick||Steve Hakes||The Golf Club at Blue Heron Hills|
|2015||Mark Battle||Steve Schickler||Ontario Country Club|