With only two rounds left in the 2014 Inferno Cup and with over six thousand dollars in cash and prizes on the line, not one of the forty-seven competitors is out of the running. The awards fall into one of three categories – cash, more cash and merchandise. The top eight finishers go home with a pocket full of prize money. First place walks with $1,200.00. The second money race involves the highest average number of points won per event played. There is a five event minimum for these awards. In the merchandise category, our sponsor, Van’s Golf Shops, has generously contributed golf clothing, equipment and supplies. Here’s how the three categories are stacking up with only two events left to play.
First Place – Bailey Ogrin has a good grip on first place, but Howard Jones can overtake him with strong performances on Wednesday and Friday. Ogrin is 219 points ahead of Jones. Jones’ current “threshold” is 120 points. In other words, Jones must win more than 120 points in an event before his point total can increase. The number of points available in any given match is a function of the number of players and the team size. But it’s reasonable to conclude that it will take a first or second place finish for Jones to earn points. If Jones wins Wednesday and Friday while Ogrin finishes less than first, Jones wins the title. If Jones finishes first and second, the race is too tight to call. As it currently stands, Ogrin is not scheduled to play Wednesday; Friday will be his only chance to pad his totals and with his current threshold at 181 points, it will probably take a first place finish to do that. Game on!
Favorites – As of Sunday the 21st, the #3 through #8 positions don’t appear to have a strong chance of taking first place. However, they’re in the money IF they can hold on. Those players and their current “thresholds” are: Bruce Partridge (148), Mike Nichols (94.7), Scott Hull (137.4), Jason Sample (65.6), Kris Rosser (125.7) and George Stelmach (61.8). The lower the threshold number, the easier it will be to maintain or improve your position. For those currently “in the money”, Sample, Stelmach and Nichols stand the best chances for position improvement. Partridge, Hull and Rosser need to play both remaining events and play well to hang on.
Knocking on Heaven’s Door – Assuming it will take 2,600 points to finish in the money, those with good chances of climbing into the money with good performances (in position order) in the final two events are: Matt Bintzler (23.8), Dan Hourihan (101.6), Tom Hansen (82.5), James Wexler (56.3), Mike Forde (43.2), Jim Gabriel (74.6), Ken Vlah (56.1), Mike Miller (43.6) and Rickie Currens (19.3). Again, the smaller the “threshold”, the greater the chances for positive and strong movement up in the standings. However, it’s safe to say that getting into the money will be difficult unless you play in the final two events. Matt Bintzler and Rickie Currens have thresholds so low, they’re almost guaranteed some upward movement if they can just play and finish eighteen holes.
By Wednesday night, the field will undoubtedly be cut down somewhat. But it is clear the race will not be determined until the final day. It’s tight, very, very tight. Some players are separated by only a few points and there are no ties.
The Other Money Race – At the beginning of the season, some wondered if they could play enough rounds to garner the points necessary to take home some bacon. With that in mind, we designed the competition so that the three players with a minimum of five rounds that had the highest average points per event would also be winners. With $500.00 going to the first place winner, it’s an interesting race.
Matt Bintzler is currently on top with an average of 154.3 points in his sixteen matches. Bruce Partridge rides in second place with an average of 148.1 after twenty-one tries. Skyler Irvine is currently in third averaging 142.8 through twelve events. Jason Sample is only 1.9 points behind Irvine. Bryan Noonan is in fifth at 137.8 points per event.
The Strategy – A competitor may NOT win money in both the main event and the average point event. If he finishes in the money in both, he may choose either prize, but forgoes the other. The finishers in the vacated race move up accordingly.
If the prizes were awarded today, Bruce Partridge would win $300 for second place on the average points side, but he’d win $600 for third place overall. However, if he doesn’t play the last two rounds, there’s a good chance he’ll be passed by Mike Nichols and Scott Hull dropping him into fifth place and the winner of $300. But, if Partridge doesn’t play in either of the final two events and Skyler Irvine does play in one and finishes in first place, Irvine drops Partridge into third place in the point-average race and Partridge is down to $100. If Jason Sample continues playing well, he could pass Partridge along with Nichols and Hull and Partridge falls to $200 in winnings. Mr. Partridge has an interesting dilemma. Depending upon how he plays his cards, he could easily lose $400 this week by not playing.
However, if Partridge doesn’t play and Matt Bintzler does play, but plays poorly and finishes last, Bintzler could fall into second place thereby elevating Partridge into first place in the average-points competition. So far, no sign of a sign-up from Bintzler.
Bryan Noonan is lurking in fifth place, but has only played five events. The consequence of that fact is that his point-average figure is very sensitive to his next performance. There is a good chance that if Noonan plays in one more event and finishes in the top three, it could easily catapult him into third place and leave Irvine empty-handed.
The Final Frontier and Non-Cash Prizes – We don’t yet know if Gainey Ranch Golf Club will be contributing any prizes from the pro-shop. If they do, there will be additional booty for the boys. As it now stands, Van’s Golf Shops has contributed a new Nike 60° wedge ($132 value), two Kodak Play Sport cameras ($300 value each), some Taylor-Made golf balls, a Greg Normal golf shirt ( $70 value) and a variety of golf hats from Callaway Golf. The cameras are capable of taking underwater photos so Jimmy Gabriel can find some of his lost balls.
The prizes will be awarded via lottery, but as you might expect, there’s a twist. (The Inferno Cup organizers eschew normalcy.) Each competitor in attendance at the awards event Friday evening will be given five lottery tickets. However, for each one thousand points (rounded to the next thousand), you will lose one of your tickets. For example, Bailey Ogrin currently has 3,621.2 points. He will lose four of his five before the drawings begin. Tom Swan currently has 1,951.5 points. He gives up two of his five tickets unless he wins another 48.5 or more points in the final two events. He will then sacrifice three of his five tickets. The lower your point total, the more chances you’ll have to win. See there! There is a silver lining.
ACT NOW! The final two events will be exciting, competitive and fun. There’s still time to sign-up. Get on the bus. It’s leaving soon for paradise.