Team Challenge A-Pool Recap

4/19/2010 by John Borelli

Submitted by Steve Solbo:

April 11 brought the Team Challenge A and B Pool Finals to Massachusetts. For those of you familiar with international soccer, the Team Challenge is a winter league set up similarly to the English Premier Soccer League, including relegation of teams to separate pools based on seasonal performance.

The A Pool held their finals at the home of the Vibram Open, Maple Hill in Leicester, MA. A day later, the B Pool held their finals at Crane Hill in Wilbraham, MA.

The A Pool had teams hailing from all over the NEFA, including Team Utopia, playing out of Norwalk, CT; the Bennett Farm Team, playing out of Brunswick, ME; Team Wickham Park, out of Manchester, CT; Team Burgess from Cape Cod; Team Borderland, from Easton, MA; Team NASA from all over the North Shore of MA; Team Captain Lawrence out of New York; and Team Tolland, playing out of Tolland, CT.

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The format was rather simple. First round was singles on the white tees. Each team had at least 12 players playing singles and the top 10 scores on each respective team counted towards the total. The second round was doubles from the well-known Blues at Maple Hill, which is the same layout that has been played in the National Tour Event the Vibram Open. Each team had at least 6 doubles teams on the course and the top 5 scores counted, along with being weighted twice.

The windy conditions in the first round made scores quite interesting on a layout on which the SSA is 53. The wind made the course a lot more difficult. Some of the top-rated players in NEFA took a stab at the difficult layout. Turning in what many think was a well above 1000-rated round, Greg Wintrob of Team Wick shot a blistering 53. Out of 101 golfers, there were 7 scores in the 50s. Other players in the sub-60 club were John Debois from Captain Lawrence, Bobby Copperthwait and Sjur Soleng from Team Utopia, Brian Harrington from Team Burgess, Jasin Bayer from Team Wick and Dennis Parslow from Team Borderland.

The ladies made their presence known with some really good scores in their own right. Maureen McErlean shot the hot women's round of 67 and also placed 50th out of a total field of 101 people, 96 of which were men. Her hot round included an ace on Hole 5. Also shooting well for the women were Marielle Mallar with a 68 and Heather Eng with a 69.

After the singles round, the leaderboard looked like this:
- Team Utopia 629
- Team Wick 633
- Team Maine 642
- Team Borderland 645
- Captain Lawrence 650
- Team Burgess 659
- Team NASA 660
- Team Tolland 684

Then came time for the double-weighted best disc doubles round, a round which saw Team Utopia come from behind at Wickham Park at last year's finals to take the event. All teams knew there was still some time to catch the guys at the top and that there would be some movement in the doubles round.

Playing on the Blues, conditions calmed down a bit and allowed for some better scores. The SSA for the Blues is 62.5 and just like last year, Team Utopia put some doubles groups out on the course that shot well below that number. The hot score was turned in by Sjur Soleng and Gregg Tavolacci with a 54. One stroke behind them were their teammates Jeff Cahill and 997 with a 55. Twelve other pairings kept it under 60 on what was an easier round conditions-wise, but still was challenging due to the difficult course and still otherwise above average windy conditions for Maple Hill.

The following is the team results for the doubles round:
- Team Utopia 576
- Team Maine 588
- Team Burgess 594
- Team Wick 612
- Team NASA 612
- Captain Lawrence 622
- Team Borderland 626
- Team Tolland 644

So, for the second straight year, Team Utopia distanced themselves in the doubles round and defended their title in only their second year in the Team Challenge. Congratulations to Brad and his team, they deserved the victory.

The day also included throw-offs until dusk, great camaraderie among the teams, a general atmosphere of great times with friends, and of course, competition at the highest level.

Until next year, this is your former commissioner and now assistant commissioner Steve Solbo, signing out.

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