The top five positions in the race for the Cup remained unchanged. There was some minor shuffling near the bottom of the money positions, i.e., sixth and seventh. Dan Hourihan climbed from seventh into sixth bumping Matt Bintzler (who didn’t play) down a spot. Only about a hundred points separate sixth from tenth place. With exactly ten rounds left to play, two dozen players still have realistic chances of finishing in the money.
In the day game, the team of Harold Hoeg, Ron Dobkin and Jim Gabriel survived the challenge of James Wexler, Jason Sample and Pat Collins to take first place honors. I say it was “ghost busters’ Wednesday” because the first two teams to tee off clearly had evil spirits to contend with and had to chase them from the field. In the process, they suffered greatly. Mike Nichols, Heard Broadrick and Mike Hickey beat Howard Jones, Mark Ramser and Tom Hansen to avoid DFL by one stroke. The two teams were an average of twenty strokes behind the winners. Great job boys!
Harold Hoeg, Pat Collins, Dan Hourihan, Mike Forde and Jason Sample – 69
In the wake of Saturday’s giant putt giveaway, scores returned to close to normal with an average gross of 86.7. The handicap differentials were a little higher than normal (5.0), but the ghost buster teams probably accounted for the difference. Inexplicably, the easiest hole on the course for the day was #4 Arroyo, normally one of the toughest. It played at par-and-a-half. It gave up no birdies, but 62% of the field parred the hole.
Matt Bintzler shot a gross 75 (net 62) to take total command of the Saturday Green Inferno Cup group. His closest competitors, Bailey Ogrin and James Wexler, were five strokes back in the individual net competition. The five stroke victory looks even bigger when considering the spread between the next seven positions was only two strokes. Bintzler bagged 306.4 points toward the Inferno Cup title with his win.
Bailey Ogrin stayed hot carding a gross 69 to continue his march toward the top of the season’s leaderboard. He now sits less than 25 points shy of first place, but Jones is back. Bailey’s total amounts to a deficit of about one-quarter of one percent of the current first place total. Mike Nichols, Scott Hull and Bruce Partridge all sit within a win or two of first place as well. Bailey’s threshold (the number of points needed to move up in the standings) is currently 130.6 while Jones’ threshold is only 111.6. Nichols is at 94.6, Hull is at 90.9 and Partridge is at 65.7. Game on!
I was at a little book publicity event in San Francisco Saturday so I didn’t see the match played out. However, from the numbers, I’m going out on a limb and jumping to some conclusions. I realize there are some who question the use of numbers for conclusion jumping. The trick is to wear your parachute when making the leap. Here it goes.
The average gross, net and differential (net score minus course rating) are show below. Pay particular attention to the differential.
I could go back further, but the numbers will be consistent. Frankly, I could make some adjustments for those playing from the gold tees and the differences would be even more pronounced and would illustrate the point to which I’m jumping even more dramatically.
On Saturday, there was a miracle or . . . a major leak in one of the ponds caused a giant vacuum to suck balls into the holes on the greens nearest the leak or . . . the grounds crew accidentally cut the cups with the wrong disk and they were eight inches wide or . . . (and here’s my jump), there was a great putt giveaway that dwarfed all government welfare payments everywhere. I say golfers were giving putts so often that the scores were greatly distorted.
If this was the case and gimme’s were the rule of the day, then the playing field was level (assuming everyone used the same standards for gifting putts). The problem comes when you understand that with differentials violating the laws of statistics, everyone ends up posting scores that are between three and four strokes lower than they should have been. Great for the egos, but disaster for the handicaps. If this were to become the accepted way of playing (and posting), then play will be ever so slightly faster and the participants won’t stand a ghost’s chance in hell of winning a tournament against golfers who putt’em out. It doesn’t make a damn bit of difference to me; I was sipping Irish Coffees in San Francisco and saying hello to Brian Williams at the marina in Sausalito. However, those willing participants might want to rethink taking the fleeting glory in exchange for a shot at winning a tournament in the future.