Putting Game Determines Summer Solstice Shootout Title
GREENSBORO – To celebrate the first day of summer and longest day of the year, the Tuesday night league at Mountain View Country Club (MVCC) put an emphasis on the putting game to decide who would capture the Summer Solstice Shootout title.
Under cloudy conditions with temperatures in the 70s, a record crowd arrived on Tuesday, smashing the old mark of 43 players, as 54 golfers hit the links together. There were so many in attendance that the late arrivals had a hard time finding an open spot in the fully packed parking lot.
One of the first groups to go out, the threesome of Joe Mulligan, Dan Miko and Darwin Thompson, would ultimately put the pedal down on their putting precision and blazed their way to an easy victory. They needed just 40 putts, for an average of 13.3 per man, to win going away.
Both Mulligan and Thompson tied for the low putt lead with just 12 over the nine holes. Miko only needed 16 putts. After a slow start, Thompson would end up one-putting seven of the nine greens, including his last six holes consecutively.
That low putt total put the hurt on most of the remainder of the league. But not Rob Montgomery. He tied both Mulligan and Thompson for the low putt title, also needing just 12. Montgomery had zero putts on both the first and second holes. He led his team of Matt Kiley, Dale Hall and Carl Edwards to a second-place finish with 62 putts, an average of 15.5.
Montgomery also posted the night’s low net round. He shot a torrid 45, well below his season’s average, and netted out an eight-under par 27. Kiley posted a 42 with 14 putts as Edwards and Hall both had 18.
Tying them for second place was the young and up-and-coming foursome of Aaron Molleur, Colton Niemi, Nick Crum and Julius Rosendahl. Molleur fired the night’s best round, a two-over 37 with 14 putts, including a birdie on one. Niemi, who would birdie two, needed just 13 putts in his round of 41 while Crum had 18 and Rosendahl 17. They also ended with 62 putts and a 15.5 average.
Just back in third place with 64 putts and a 16 average was the foursome of Mike Robb, Mike Clark, Mike Nixon and John Sperry. This was a very consistent group as Sperry had 15, Clark and Robb used 16 and Nixon 17. Robb also added to his winning by getting closest to the pin on the ninth hole, leaving his approach to just seven feet, seven inches from the cup.
The night was filled with excitement and memorable moments. On the second hole, Jefferson Tolman hit a long drive off the tee box, then proceeded to hit a low pitch to the green that banged off the pin and fell in for an eagle two.
Also on the second hole, Bear Bessette hit an approach a bit left, and the ball got stuck up in a tree. His foursome of George and Frank Gattone and Jim Charonko could then be seen throwing their wedges up into the tree to try and retrieve the ball. They were unsuccessful.
On the third hole, Brad Ferland was facing a long uphill putt for a par three. His attempt just missed going in the cup, and with some pace, the ball rolled by the hole, up the hill, stopped momentarily, then released back and just rimmed out of the cup going back down the hill. He would end up doubling the hole.
Over on the fifth hole, Jeremy Kaufmann hit a drive that carried up onto the green. It had some steam on it and it rolled by the hole and up the hill on the back of the green. It remained motionless on the top of the green for many seconds, but then eventually released and started rolling back toward the cup. Watching this all happen on six was the Clark foursome, and they thought they were about to witness a hole-in-one. But the ball stopped just short of going in as it rolled backwards in line with the cup.
John Stone was the only player to hold the third green, as MVCC superintendent Steve Parker, just back from working at the U.S. Open, had the greens very slick. Stone ended up 15 feet, 11 inches from the cup. Carl Edwards won closest in two shots on eight, leaving his chip 16 feet, three inches from the pin.
Finally, in celebration of the coming of the summer, players were asked to wear green. After the night’s play, Matt Kiley entertained the parking lot crowd with a hearty rendition of an old Irish ballard, “The Wearin’ of the Green.” It was a perfect ending to a very entertaining evening.