by Patrick Hussey
GREENSBORO – It was a festive atmosphere at the Mountain View Country Club last Tuesday evening, as teams representing 10 different countries came together for the annual FIFA World Cup tournament.
Teams were adorned in their country’s colors. A lucky leprechaun showed up to help the foursome from Ireland and the USA squad could be heard blowing their team’s horns all evening as they scored goal after goal.
It was a packed house on the warm and sunny evening as a record 36 golfers turned out.
In addition to the FIFA competition, teams also vied for the mid-season championship in a handicapped best ball format. There was a lot on the line last week, which made for a highly competitive evening.
In the FIFA competition, a miniature soccer goal was set up on every green with a predetermined spot from which to putt. After completing play on the hole, each player took one shot at the goal, with the most goals securing the win. What resulted from that competition was probably the most historic upset in FIFA World Cup annals.
The foursome of Dan Gauthier, Brad Ferland, Ivan Menard and Rob Montgomery, representing Canada, shocked the world by scoring on 34 of its 36 shots to lead the competition. They opposed pre-tourney favorites, Switzerland, and at 34-27 sent the Swiss packing with ease. The Swiss had some heavy hitters in Joe Mulligan, Neal Mulligan, Patrick Mulligan and Dan Miko, but they struggled to consistently find the nets. Canada now advances as the tourney’s number one seed.
Norway, including John Sperry, Mike Nixon and Dan Mencucci emerged as the second seed by scoring 33 goals and, in doing so, soundly defeated Australia, 33-26. Every other match was decided by a single goal.
Ireland, made up of Andy Hunt, Nat Fixx, Carl Edwards and Matt Kiley, landed the number three seed with 31 goals to nip the USA. The Americans, including Mike Clark, Dave Burnham, Gary Brochu and Scott Calderwood, had a chance to defeat Ireland on the last green, but missed two of their last four shots to end up with 30.
Spain was another powerhouse team with Mike Baker, Bob Calcagni, Dan Hudson and Brian Niemi, but they struggled to get by an undermanned China squad, 29-28. China was missing most of its team, with only Nate Brown and Dennis Pudvah showing up.
The final match saw Jamaica, led by Richard Brochu, Kip Doyon, Rowdy Doyon and Pat Hussey, just slip past the popular team from the Netherlands, including Jim Bellavance, Wyatt Bellavance and Loran Allen. Jamaica won 29-28. The Netherlands, in a major upset, placed second last year.
Although Australia was defeated in the FIFA event, the foursome of Jefferson Tolman, Bill Richardson, Pete DesChamps and Shayne Carr tied Jamaica for first place in the mid-season championship. They combined to shoot an even 40 and netted out at 23. Tolman birdied the second hole and parred the sixth to lead the way.
Jamaica was also on fire. They were only one over going into the rugged sixth hole when Richard Brochu drained an unlikely 35-foot putt for a birdie three. They ended with a bogey on nine and finished with a one-over 36 and also netted a 23.
In second place were the unconscious Canadians, relying heavily on the hot stick of Gauthier to shoot a 39 and net out at 25. Right behind them was Spain, shooting an even par 35 and netting a 27. Switzerland had the best gross round at one-under 34 as Dan Miko led the way with his 38, the low round of the evening. Young Patrick Mulligan gave them a birdie on one and Joe Mulligan birdied seven.
Carl Edwards, new to the league, was on fire Tuesday. His 44 won him the low net round and he won closest to the pin on three, at 4 feet 8 inches, and on five, landing 16 feet 9 inches from the pin. Richard Brochu won closest in two on eight, chipping to 20 feet 4 inches. On nine, it was Neal Mulligan hitting an approach to 13 feet 6 inches to win closest there.
The FIFA event continues for two more weeks and the July championship is on the line next week.