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Lone Tree Sets Itself Apart

Club dominates finals en route to 2nd straight CGA Team Interclub title

by Gary Baines - 10/20/2012

At this point, the CGA Team Interclub Championship must seem like child's play to Mike Morong and Andrew Pimental.

In the last two years, their golf club, Lone Tree, has captured consecutive championships in an event which draws more than 50 teams.

And beyond that, Morong and Pimental have won both of their matches each year in the finals of the season-long net match-play competition.

Of course, that kind of team and individual success isn't so simple to come by, but Morong, Pimental and to some extent everyone associated with Lone Tree's team seem to have struck upon the right formula.

The club from the southern part of the Denver metro area became the first repeat winner in the short history of the Team Interclub by defeating Rifle Creek Golf Course 28-8 in Saturday's finals at CommonGround Golf Course.

"We're all excited about it," said Randy Gaddis, who won both his singles and four-ball matches on Saturday while shooting a 4-under-par 67 on his own ball. "We were excited last year, and I think we're more excited this year in winning it again. I don't know what will happen next year, but we're going to try again."

Gaddis, who chipped in for an eagle on the par-5 third hole Saturday, was one of five players who competed in last year's finals for Lone Tree and returned to win a second championship on Saturday. Joining him are Morong (pictured at left hitting an awkward shot on No. 11), Pimental, Doug Moore and William McDermott.

Probably not coincidentally, four of those finals veterans won both their singles and four-ball matches on Saturday: Gaddis, Moore, Morong and Pimental. And three finals newcomers joined them in going 2-0: Garrett Farnsworth, Peter Garvin and Denny Schroeder.

In shooting 69 on Saturday, Morong joined Gaddis in breaking 70. What's been the key to Morong's two-year run of success in this event?

"I love match play," he said. "I love the competition. And I think what I really love is CommonGround. It's a great golf course and it fits my eye. I always seem to play well here. But match play is unique; you get zoned in. It's a real fun format."

In its domination of Saturday's all-public course finals, Lone Tree only lost two of 12 singles matches (two were halved) and one of six four-ball matches.

"It was really fun, but we just got beat," said Rifle Creek captain Pat Hayes, who won a four-ball match with Steve Stanek and halved his singles match against McDermott. "This is our first year in this (event) and we were undefeated (in the 16-team playoffs) until today." (Pictured at left are Rifle Creek's Jeb Savage and Cole Manuppella.)

Saturday's match was the 92nd of the year in the 5 1/2-month-long Team Interclub, which this season featured 59 golf clubs from around the state. Each of the finalists played seven matches -- three in the regular season and four in the 16-team playoffs -- with Lone Tree and Rifle Creek both finishing with 5-2 records.

In each dual, teams of 12 players of varying abilities compete against one another, with singles and four-ball matches held concurrently. Each match within the team match is worth two points -- two for a win and one for a tie.

Unlike last year, when Lone Tree went 6-0 in the Team Interclub, it lost two of its first three matches this season and advanced to the playoffs out of its four-team group by a single point, 62-61.

"We got our butts kicked legitimately two of the three (with losses coming against the combined Saddle Rock/Murphy Creek team and The Meadows in pool play)," said non-playing Lone Tree team captain Jim Eliassen. "We handed (the pool title) to them on a silver platter and they couldn't do it."

Once again this year, Eliassen played a major role in Lone Tree's winning the title, though it wasn't with his clubs. Eliassen spends many hours analyzing handicaps, trends and each player's game in order to field the strongest possible team for a given course. At various points in the season, a total of 45 players from Lone Tree competed in the Team Interclub. (Pimental is pictured at left with his daughter, Elin, who took a shine to sitting in the Team Interclub trophy.)

"We've got a good captain who puts the teams together," Gaddis said. "He studies the handicaps and talks to guys about how they're playing -- if they're trending down or trending up. He puts together the best team and no one questions who he picks. And we have 200 guys in our men's club so there's a big pool for him to choose from."

Added Morong: "Every single time our captain put a team together, our B and C guys (the middle and higher handicaps in the range up to 18) came through. When we needed it, they were the ones that came in and did it."

Still, despite all of Lone Tree's talent, experience and analytical know-how, Eliassen didn't foresee a 20-point margin of victory over Rifle Creek.

"I figured they'd be right on our heels," he said.

The CGA, in rewarding the Team Interclub finalists, contributed $500 each to Lone Tree and Rifle Creek's junior golf programs.

The Team Interclub finals conclude the CGA's 2012 championship season.


CGA Team Interclub Championship Finals
At Par-71 CommonGround GC in Aurora


SINGLES (Lone Tree 18, Rifle Creek 6)
Randal Gaddis, LT, def. Cole Manuppella, 5 and 4
Doug Moore, LT, def. Jeb Savage, 4 and 3
Mike Morong, LT, def. Jack Parkinson, 5 and 4
Marc Caldwell, RC, def. Kevin Mannette, 2 and 1
Garrett Farnsworth, LT, def. Shane Fazzi, 4 and 3
Jeff Hauer, RC, halved with Paul Jagels
Peter Garvin, LT, def. Patrick Burwell, 1 up
Andrew Pimental, LT, def. Mark Sours, 1 up
Terry Poindexter, LT, def. Steve Stanek, 3 and 2
Pay Hayes, RC, halved with William McDermott
Denny Schroeder, LT, def. Mike Whitt, 4 and 2
Pat Antonelli, RC, def. Jerry Kanter, 1 up

FOUR-BALL (Lone Tree 10, Rifle Creek 2)
Randal Gaddis-Doug Moore, LT, def. Cole Manuppella-Jeb Savage, 4 and 3
Mike Morong-Kevin Mannette, LT, def. Jack Parkinson-Marc Caldwell, 2 and 1
Garrett Farnsworth-Paul Jagels, LT, def. Shane Fazzi-Jeff Hauer, 3 and 1
Peter Garvin-Andrew Pimental, LT, def. Patrick Burwell-Mark Sours, 1 up
Steve Stanek-Pat Hayes, RC, def. Terry Poindexter-William McDermott, 5 and 4
Denny Schroeder-Jerry Kanter, LT, def. Mike Whitt-Pat Antonelli, 4 and 2 

Go to CGA Team Interclub Results Archive

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