It hasn’t lacked for excitement and suspense. Entering today’s quarter-final round, the teams of Ross Yeo and John Elick, Roland Eckert and Dick Cahal, and Dan Bartlett and Glen Morga had already secured spots in the semi-final. The remaining spot would be determined when club champion Mark Van Ark and Bob Shaps locked horns with Rudi Barich and Bob Kennedy. With great competitors facing off against each other, everyone expected a fierce and competitive match. It lived up to the expectations of all.
Van Ark and Shaps were fast out of the gate and jumped out to an early lead. Their early dominance threatened to get Barich and Kennedy down, but anyone that knows these guys understands the old line about “Don’t shoot him; you’ll just make him mad.” I’m still recovering from a burn I received when Bob Sznewajs and I played Barich and Kennedy in the opening round. With two or three holes to go, we had them pinned in a corner. Then Rudi got “the look”. His focus intensified and I made the mistake of reaching in front of him while he was lining up a putt. He burned my hand with his gaze. We lost the match.
Rudi and Bob battled back today with tenacity. They
won the match one-up after twenty holes. It was an exciting and eventful match. Congratulations to all the competitors for an outstanding and spirited effort.
The semi-finals now find Barich and Kennedy taking on Yeo and Elick while Cahal and Eckert confront Bartlett and Morga for spots in the championship.
Here are a few images from today’s action. Click on any image to enlarge and enter slideshow mode.
Two hundred six ladies competed in this Eighth Annual event and judging from the photographs, it couldn’t have been a greater success. For the fourth consecutive year, the tournament was held to benefit The USMC Wounded Warrior Regiment of AZ, Semper Fi Fund.
Laura Castellvi, the Senior Manager in charge of Community Outreach and Events for the Semper Fi Fund flew in from California to attend the opening reception and graciously welcomed the participants. Although the final tally isn’t complete, it appears the proceeds from this year’s spectacular bring the total raised for the Wounded Warriors to nearly $300,000. It was great fun for a great cause. (View Co-Chair’s summary.)
When the last putt was in the hole, after the last “free throw” from the bunker and the last kick on the green, the team of Cindy Schapira and Shar Tanouye had claimed the first prize for low net. Sue Clark and Debbie Murphy walked with low gross honors. There were ten flights with twenty golfers in each. The complete results can be seen here. There were no losers in this great tournament.
This was unquestionably one of the best designed and run tournaments I’ve ever seen. It was apparent that the Tournament Committee (Maddie Levy, Sue Clark, Lauri Allen and Marilyn Yeo) had poured heart and soul into creating a memory for everyone participating that would be long remembered. They were aided by countless volunteers and incredibly generous contributions from Marriott, Camelback Golf Club, Southwest Conference Planners and many others (see the complete list by clicking here). A special thanks go out to Jim Rose, the General Manager of Marriott Camelback Inn and Rob Barley, the Director of Golf at Camelback Golf Club.
This year’s tournament theme was “Game On”. Strategy and excitement were ratchetted up a notch by giving participants some very special sports linked tools. For example, everyone had an “instant replay”, i.e., a mulligan to be used anywhere on the course. One “free throw” translated into one free toss of the ball from out of any hazard on the course. As the tournament photographer, I was as amazed as the players when one of the ladies used her “free throw” to extricate her ball from the greenside sand trap by the #9 green and promptly threw the ball (with great form) into the lake on the other side of the green. Participants got to “punt” the ball once on a green of their choice. There were “field goals”, basketball shoots and “magic putts”. But in the final analysis, victory was claimed by those that played the best golf. Over the course of two days of play, I witnessed some great golf shots and some that had “room for improvement”. I saw so many smiles and happy participants, I’m wondering if I could shave my legs and don a miniskirt and get away with entering next year’s event. I might not stand a chance of beating some of these ladies, but maybe I could win the “cutest legs” contest. Scratch that thought; I just looked at the pictures below.
Photographer’s Notes: After taking more than 800 photos, I had to cut the number down before posting them here. If you’d like to see them all and/or get a printable copy of any of them without the copyright notice, just drop me an email and I’ll be happy to accommodate. For future reference, you can help the photographer by (1) wearing bright colors and (2) leaving the cart in a position where it is not in line with the camera. When looking for the best shots, a photographer is seeking “humanity”. By that I mean genuine feelings and emotions that are unscripted and spontaneous. This isn’t to say “posed” pictures can’t be great, but those I personally enjoy the most are those of subjects that “emote”. These are the shots where we can share in the joy or feel the pain. With that said, here are my personal favorites from the tournament.
Enjoy the rest of the images of the action. Click on any image to enter the full screen slideshow.