Twosomes Win Trip To St. Kitts At Ultimate Team Event
Five golfers went home with wonderful memories and big prizes at the New Jersey State Golf Association’s Fourth Ultimate Team Event, presented by St. Kitts, on Monday, Aug. 20 at prestigious Hamilton Farm Golf Club in Gladstone.
Ryan McCoach and Mike Waller of Howell Park Golf Course won the event with 76 Stableford points, followed by Brian Sokolowski and Nick Chiarello of Pinseekers, a club without real estate, with 72 points. All four received all-expenses-paid trips to St. Kitts to compete in the Am-Am Division of the Admiral’s Cup, Feb. 2, 2019.
A fifth golfer, David Roth of Crestmont Country Club, earned a two-year lease on a Lincoln MKC when he aced the 170-yard first hole on the par-3 Hickory Course at Hamilton Farm.
The Hickory Course is the only 18-hole USGA rated par-3 in the country; the first nine holes were used for the four-ball portion of the event. The other 18 holes for the Pinehurst and shamble formats were on the Highlands Course, one of the state’s most challenging courses that has already hosted several LPGA and USGA events.
A full field of 72 teams from clubs throughout the state competed in the event. Besides golf, competitors enjoyed breakfast, lunch and dinner at the club.
“The course was incredible. We thought it would be tough to follow last year’s event at Metedeconk National, but it surely did. The greens were amazing,” said Waller, 28, a native of St. Louis. “We learned last year not to have our best holes at the same time. We didn’t have any really bad holes like we did last year.
“We are always playing Ryan’s drives and my putts and it worked out well today.”
Waller, a former college pitcher at Furman University and McCoach, a Hall of Fame running back at Montclair State University, met three years ago working for a healthcare consultancy.
“The trip will be amazing. I got married on June 15, and we considered going to St. Kitts, but went to Hawaii instead. Now, I will be able to bring my wife to St. Kitts as well,” Waller said.
“I’ve never been out of the country, so I’m very excited about going to St. Kitts,” said McCoach, a graduate of Morris Hills High School who lives in Red Bank. “Last year, we had a chance, but we folded. Today, every time we faced adversity, we were able to pick it up.”
Sokolowski and Chiarello are first cousins who every year take part in a golf junket to the Dominican Republic.
“We’ll be going to St. Kitts this year instead,” said Chiarello, 40, who lives in Ewing. “Both of us hit good approach shots and we had a lot of one-putt greens out there.”
Sokolowski, 41, said he took the advice of one of last year’s champions, Jim Schulz of Old York, as to how to succeed in the Ultimate Team event.
“He said not to lose any balls, to keep the ball in front of you, and to hit it down the middle. It’s easy when you figure out where to hit the ball on the green,” Sokolowski said. “I’m really looking forward to the trip.”
Roth, 51, used a six iron to notch the fourth ace of his career. His playing partners were Greg Cohn of Crestmont and Chris Santoro and Kevin Sakow of Paramus. “I’m very excited about winning the car. I need an SUV. I’m currently driving a sedan,” Roth said.
As UTE champions last year, Schulz and his partner, Mike Decker, enjoyed their time in St. Kitts so much that they may be returning in February.
“The experience from top to bottom was fantastic. As soon as the plane lands, you are having a great time at the destination. The island has a great vibe and a great feel to it,” Schulz said.
Decker said he may organize a group trip from Old York Country Club this February.
“The twin islands of Nevis and St. Kitts are gorgeous. The mix of golf and the beach, two things that I love, are fantastic,” Decker said.
Christina Mucha, marketing consultant for the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, was on hand for the Ultimate Team Event.
“This was great exposure, having all the golfers playing for a chance to go to St. Kitts. It’s a fantastic opportunity.”
She mentioned that non-stop flights from Newark to St. Kitts begin on Saturdays on Dec. 22 and continue until the end of March, and non-stops on Wednesday will run from Jan. 9 through March 6.
The Ultimate Team Event includes clubs from throughout the State of New Jersey, pitting twosomes from member clubs in a unique 27-hole format. Twosomes are designated by their clubs to participate.
In the event, teams play three different nine-hole different formats over the 27 holes in a series of three shotgun starts. One set of nine holes is played in a four-ball format, with each partner playing his own ball and the low ball (net) counting as the team score on each hole. A second set of nine holes is in a Pinehurst format, with each member teeing off, then playing the other’s second shot, selecting the ball in the best position, and then playing alternate shot with the selected ball to complete the hole.
A third set of nine holes is played in a Shamble format, with each member teeing off, selecting the best positioned tee shot, and then each partner playing a separate ball from that point the rest of the way, with the best (net) score counting for the team.
The event is scored using Stableford (points) scoring, which is one point for net bogey, two points for net par, three points for net birdie, four points for net eagle and five points for a hole-in-one.