~ Western Winter Warfare Tournament Recap ~
The Amateur Players Tour kicked off one of their first ever events out west in TEAM STYLE this past weekend as the Sin City, Rocky Mountain, and So-Cal chapters joined in with Phoenix chapter for their 2nd event in bringing 62 players to compete in the Western Winter Warfare. Hosted by Paiute Golf Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada on their famed WOLF course; 2 teams competed over 3 rounds, for 64 matches, 45 holes of golf, all for bragging rights and 1 Ice Cup trophy. Would it be Team Pacific Desert or Team Rocky Mountain holding the trophy come Sunday afternoon?
All players finished all 27 holes on Saturday! Decked out in their respective colors with team apparel provided in their tournament swag bags, Team Rocky Mountain donned their red/black/silver with their team motto of #JDSTRONG all over their backs and Team Pacific Desert wore their blue/yellow, making it easy for all to identify their teammates out on the course.
In the morning Fourball matches, Team Rocky Mountain jumped out to a very slim margin and took the lead by a single point (8.5 to 7.5), going 8-7-1 in their 16 matches. The biggest margins of victory coming for RM team captain, Jeff Clifford & his partner Brandon Ballif in winning 8&7. Kottaichamy & Subramaniam won 6&5 for Team Rocky Mountain. On the blue side, Sin City Chapter Owner Casey Bice and Julian Vo teamed to a 7&6 victory over Namasivayam/Ravindran. So-Cal Chapter Owner Brian McCraw and his partner, Teddy Abat scored a 5&4 win over DeSaussure/Roberts.
There were just TWO Super Skins in the round, both by Team Rocky Mountain, as Shannon Lester made EAGLE on the par-5 6th hole, and KayCee King’s birdie held up on the par 4 14th. Both players took home $450 for the Super Skin. Closest to the Pin winners were two a piece between the two teams, with Matt Stevenson (Hole 4), Raul Toro (Hole 8), Michael Hollan (Hole 12), and Matt Logan (Hole 15) all winning $90 for their stellar tee shots!
Team Pacific Desert made their hay in the afternoon modified alternate shot matches, dominating the front 9 competition by a score of 9.5 to 6.5, taking a two point lead into Sunday Singles. Led by John Campbell and Victor Lopez and their 3&2 win over Cooper Wilson & Shannon Lester. Team Rocky Mountain found some success with their biggest margin of victory being a 4&3 win by Patrick Sherwood and Matt Stevenson over Michael Healey and Bill Gallagher. There were just TWO Super Skins in the afternoon round, as Aaron Bascomb/Garrett Danielson won $225 for their birdie on #1 and Alec Rosales/Brandon Ballif teamed their way to $225 with a birdie on #8. Alec Rosales would also claim a CTP win on hole #4 and Kyle Snider of Team Pacific Desert won $90 for his CTP on hole #8.
All of the players made their way back to the Wolf Course for 18 holes of individual match play on Sunday morning. If there weren’t nerves with team goals on the line already, each player was individually introduced on the #1 tee with a significant gallery to ratchet up the pressure just a bit more for that opening tee shot! Team Pacific Desert set out with a 2 point lead and picked up a point in the first match with Audencio Dimas defeating Craig Peacock. Team Rocky Mountain would prevail the next 3 matches, with wins by Cory Hester, Desi DeSaussure, and Mike Eames to square the competition whole. Kyl Vega would split his two matches, keeping the team match all even. Two matches later, wins by Rocky Mountain’s Brian Bowden and Pacific Desert’s Michael Healey would keep the team match all even still. In perhaps what might be the most match swinging shot of the weekend, Michael Porco reached the 18th tee with a win in his one match and down a hole to Troy Hill in his other match. A drive put each in the fairway, but into a stiff headwind, Porco still sat 211 yards from the pin and grabbed his 5-wood and took a rip. The ball landed 5 feet short of the pin and tracked…directly…into…the…hole for a hole-out EAGLE! Porco won the hole, halved the match, and swung a huge half-point for Team Pacific Desert.
The momentum wouldn’t last as Team Rocky Mountain won 6 of the next 7 matches on the docket, with wins by Robert Hill, Shannon Lester, Alec Rosales, Scott Cook, Dennis McGraw, and Aaron Bascomb provided Team Rocky Mountain with a 4 point lead in the middle stages of the final round. With every point mattering, Xerxes Nabong getting a full point to stop the bleeding for Team Pacific Desert could come up big. John Bribiescas would defeat Brandon Ballif to get a point back for the blue team, while Shawn Larsen battled to a tie with Raul Toro, winning the last two holes to earn a big half point for the red side. Close victories by Tom Eveland and Shiv Subramaniam would stretch the Rocky Mountain lead to 5 points and Blake Stevenson held it there, halving his match with Guillermo Heredia.
And then the tournament changed, with Captain Jason Vega saving his best match-ups for last and it showed, as the blue squad began to chip away at the 5-point lead. Winning five of the next six matches were John Campbell, Brian McCraw, Jadon Solomon, Brandan Marshall, and Sean Tavel. The lone Rocky Mountain victory came by way of Mani Kottaichamy. And just like, Team Pacific Desert was in striking distance, down just a mere single point with four matches out on the course. Cooper Wilson would defeat Nick London just 1UP to earn team Rocky Mountain a two-point lead. Captain Jason Vega defeated Michael Hollan 5&3 to get the deficit back to 1 with two matches to go! PD Captain Casey Bice finished off RM Captain Luke Barritt on the 17th hole to square the entire match 31.5 to 31.5 with just two players left to go. Rocky Mountain Captain Jeff Clifford held the hopes of his entire squad on his back as he stepped to the 18th tee down a hole to Matt Logan. Logan would struggle with a shorter than desired tee shot, but Clifford’s drive would carry into the fairway bunker. Each player would play their second shot back into the fairway and Clifford’s approach then found the green about 14 feet from the cup. Logan failed to get onto the green with his third and his 4th left him much too meat, as he would go on to double-bogey the hole. Clifford needed just to two-putt from 14 feet for bogey to win the hole and square the match. Despite later admitting to his knees-knocking, Clifford did just that, tapping in from a foot to SQUARE the entire inaugural Western Winter Warfare at 32 points a piece! What an amazing, even-handed effort by both squads and a wonderful outcome that saw camaraderie between teammates and opponents, new friendships made on and off the course, and a #BYthePlayersFORthePlayers experience born like none other.
As the first event between these two squads, a pre-determined tiebreaker to take home the coveted winter “Ice Cup” was an on-course playoff if possible and final round total score, if not. With public on the course and the sunset fast approaching on the amazing weekend, the competition for the Ice Cup was handed to Team Rocky Mountain, winning the tiebreaker on Sunday Singles by a score of 17-15. Team Pacific Desert vows to bring the effort in 2022 to claim the cup in what looks forward to be an amazing second edition of the Western Winter Warfare.
Super Skins on Sunday were won by Raul Toro (1), Casey Bice (2), Alec Rosales (3), Jeff Clifford (6), Brian Bowden (7 & 11), Scott Cook (8), Matt Logan (9), Mani Kottaichamy (16), Shannon Lester (17), & Guillermo Heredia (18). Closest to the Pin Winners were Mani Kottaichamy (Hole 4), Blake Stevenson (Hole 8), Michael Hollan (Hole 12), and Matt Logan (Hole 15).
There were 7 Super Duper Skins winners on the weekend, being the BEST SCORE on a single hole over the ENTIRE WEEKEND of rounds. Alec Rosales (Eagle #3), Brian Bowden (Birdie #7), Matt Logan (Birdie #9), KayCee King (Birdie #14), Mani Kottaichamy (Birdie #16), Shannon Lester (Birdie #17), and Guillermo Heredia (Birdie #18).
In the last side contest of the weekend, a 3 Point Shootout with the goal to win all 3 of your matches and secure 3 points for your team. 6 Players did just that with three from each team who took home $150/each for their individual success on the course! Congratulations to Team Pacific Desert’s Casey Bice, Xerxes Nabong, and John Campbell; as well as Team Rocky Mountain’s Aaron Bascomb, Scott Cook, and Brian Bowden!
At the end of this weekend, it’s clear that the Amateur Players Tour has begun making waves in the arena of competitive amateur golf all across the United States. Just an absolute amazing start to the 2021 season with great golf, top notch courses, great competition, unrelenting fun, and an experience like none other…a BY the PLAYERS, FOR the PLAYERS experience.