With 14 birdies and one eagle between them, the duo of Trini Madrigal and Zack Wanderscheid ran away from the field at the annual "Bill Christie Memorial Two-Man Best Ball Tournament," staged at Sunnyside's Black Rock Creek Golf Course this past weekend.
Madrigal, who hails from Sunnyside, and the Goldendale native Wanderscheid built a seven-stroke lead on the opening day over the eventual runners-up, Sunnyside's Andrew Schutt and David Stokes. Sunday, the duo easily cruised to the 2012 Christie title by carding a 7-under-par 65, which paired handsomely with the 9-under-par 63 that Madrigal and Wanderscheid shot on Saturday.
Schutt and Stokes ended up 10 strokes back of this year's champs on rounds of 70-68. The second-place finishers could take some solace, though, in that they finished three shots ahead of the third-place team, Jon Bright and Miguel Puente (74-67).
In the tournament's net scoring division (actual score minus handicap), long-time Black Rock Creek members Rick Mitoff and Jim Schlenker posted a two-day score of 116, six shots better than the next closest pair to win top honors. Mitoff and Schlenker opened with a handicap-aided 57 on Saturday, ballooning a couple of shots to a net 59 Sunday. Recording the second lowest round under their established handicaps was the duo of Alan Sandlin and Dwight Atkinson (65-57-122).
Also collecting payouts from the net scoring column - which ranged from $730 for the first-place team to $350 for each of the three teams that tied for fifth - were Ken Ott and Terry Ostrander in third place (124); Bob Barker and William Combs in fourth place (126); and Keith Sattler/Travis Davis, Mike Nichols/Doug Rowell and Candice Flores/Alex Quiroz, all of whom tied for fifth with handicap-aided scores of 127.
In the gross division (actual scores with no handicaps figured in), the four other duos that collected pro shop winnings besides Madrigal/Wanderscheid, Schutt/Stokes and Bright/Puente were Nate Espinoza and Lucas Pruneda, who tied with Troy Wilmoth and Erick Holden for fourth-place honors with identical 142's, sixth-place finishing West Campbell and Robi Raab with a 145, and Dave Wilson and Greg Gustafson, seventh with a 150.
The tournament winnings are credits that have to be redeemed in the Black Rock Creek pro shop, although the golfers have until the end of this year to spend the money they won.
In winning top honors in this year's Christie Memorial by a whopping 10-stroke margin, Madrigal and Wanderscheid ham-and-egged their way beautifully through all 36 holes, not giving back a single shot. The duo notched an eagle, 14 birdies and 21 pars to keep any blemishes from appearing on their scorecard.
Saturday, the pair played the front nine at five-under 31, thanks largely to three tweeters by Madrigal on the par-3 second, the par-5 sixth and the par-4 eighth. Wanderscheid, who just wrapped up his freshman year of playing for the men's golf team at the University of Idaho, added birds on the par-4 first and par-5 third holes.
The duo was nearly as dominant on the back side Saturday, as Madrigal and Wanderscheid each recorded two more birdies enroute to posting a 4-under-par 32.
Neither of the two could muster much more than a workman-like performance through the first nine holes Sunday, recording an even-par 36 with nothing better than a par on the scorecard. After the clubhouse turn, however, Madrigal and Wanderscheid pulled away down the stretch, leaving little doubt as to what the outcome would be.
Picking up birdies on the first four holes, three by Wanderscheid with Madrigal wedging in one of his own during that span, the pair sewed up bragging rights on the next hole, the par-5 14th, with an eagle, recorded by the Goldendale product. From there the duo went 1-under on the last four holes to close out Sunday's round with a back nine, 7-under 29.
In placing second, Schutt and Stokes opened play Saturday in less than spectacular fashion. Both Sunnyside golfers bogeyed the first two holes. Schutt recovered quickly, going eagle-par-birdie the next three holes to get the duo back to one-under, but the pair gave it all back when the best they could muster was a double-bogey on the toughest rated hole on the course, the par-5 sixth.
Righting the ship, Schutt and Stokes closed out the adventurous front nine Saturday with three consecutive pars to escape the opening side with a 1-over-par 37.
Schutt got the eventual runners-up off to a good start on the back nine Saturday, claiming a birdie on the dogleg left 10th. After three straight pars, Schutt nailed down his second tweeter on the back side, which was quickly followed up by a bird on the very next hole, No. 15, by Stokes. They closed with three consecutive pars for a 3-under 33, which gave the pair a 2-under-par 70 for the day.
The two Sunnyside linksters parred all but one of the holes on their opening nine Sunday, the exception being a nifty bird notched by Stokes on the often treacherous, par-5 sixth. At one-under for the day going into the home stretch, Stokes opened the back nine for the duo with his second and final birdie Sunday, on No. 10. Following pars on 11 and 12, Schutt went birdie back-to-back on the two par-5's. From there the pair sailed into the clubhouse with four consecutive pars, giving them a closing 4-under-par 68, good for second-place honors.
The third-place finishers, Bright and Puente, had to fight back on Sunday after finding themselves trailing seven teams after Saturday's opening round. The Sunnyside duo managed just two birdies Saturday, one by Bright on No. 10 and the other by Puente on No. 12. Their rough start on the opening day of the tourney, after beginning with seven consecutive pars, was ignited when they both took double-bogeys on the extremely short, par-4 eighth, which led to a 2-over 38 on the front side. The two birds they collected on the back side were negated with bogeys on 11 and 18, leaving them at 2-over-par 74 Saturday.
Sunday was a different story for Puente and Bright, as they shot the second low round on the day, a 5-under-par 67.
Puente's tweeter on the par-3 second and a birdie by his partner on the very next hole had the pair at 2-under for the closing round going into No. 9. They each took a 4 on the par-3 ninth, though, settling for a one-under 35.
Bright and Puente finished off the somewhat remarkable comeback by touring Black Rock Creek's back side unscathed, taking nothing worse than a par. They closed out the final nine with two birdies apiece for a 4-under 32. The clutch tweeter, though, was Bright's delicate, 7-foot birdie putt that found the bottom of the cup on the final hole, which allowed the duo to finish one shot ahead of the two teams that tied for fourth-place honors.