Sunday’s Keeper Kup Finale makes it evident that the Keepers Estuary has been subject to global warming as the scoring indicates our little habitat was in a full boil with some folkloric performances. This event historically takes net 67 to 69 to take home the Keepers Flag-only Doc Keller has bested that in a Finale in the last seven years.
This year three Keepers moved the line like Bob Beamon at the 1968 Mexico Olympics creating a standard that might just take another 21 years to replicate. And Rockville doesn’t even have altitude in to explain this.
The early torrid pace was set by Howard “Stogie I” Wollner who carded a 41-38-79 for Net 65. Howard has spent the last month working through some swing and mental iterations with his team that have apparently kicked in. Four birdies in a five hole stretch from 10 to 14 on the inward nine had Howard sitting comfortably at the scorer’s table working on his acceptance speech.
Artie “The Sundance Kid” Aronoff ruined that with a 35-39-74 for Net 62 that set a bar no one would have ever dreamed of. As you can see below his 35 on the front nine included birdies on 4, 6, and 8 before moving into cruise mode with six pars on the back on the way to a career best score of 74.
Howie “The Quiet Assassin” Stein already had the Lead Dog Trophy in hand going into the Finale and was determined to finish the job properly. The word spread like a wild Komanche grass fire that he had five birdies in the outward half to make the turn at 4-under par. Not leaving anything to chance Q.A. birdied the two three-pars on the back to couple his 34 with 36 for a Gross 68 that bested the entire field’s Net scores except the aforementioned duo. His Net 62 tied Sundance and nailed down the Year-Long Keepers Kup by 42 furlongs with a total of 4780 Kup Points.
The rest of the field actually played at a normal Finale clip. Kevin “I’m All Better” Bass shot net 69 followed by Steve “I Finally Got My Range Swing to the Course” Lerman with net 70, Paul “Pablo” Cohen with Net 71, and Don “The Don” Fisher, Rich “Kojak” Greenberg, and Jon “Majors” Bortz with Net 72’s.
As you can see below the winning spoils were quite lucrative for the top eight Keepers Kup Finishers as well as the Finale Top Three.
Our 50/50 raffle random drawing made four Keepers happy paying off $210 per man. Through the generosity of all who participated, we raised an additional $900 for beneficiary organizations to our Year End Military Donations-Folds of Honor, SMGA/Wounded Vets, Israeli Defense Wounded Veterans, and the Links To Freedom.
Sunday’s kompetition was a fitting ending to the Keepers Season. We appreciate the work of Konnor and the golf staff in helping put on this three-ring circus all year. Special thanks to all of you whose enthusiastic participation in our Keepers events through the year make the Keepers program something special.
The Keepers Match Play is a season long haul, four months of grueling individual matches in three divisions based on handicap range. It is a simple formula, win and move on. By the end of August the Augusta, Bethpage Black, and Pebble Beach divisions had all seen their share of nail biters and extra hole matches but it eventually came down to a Final Three to play for the koveted, quasi-Wedgewood, Keepers Match Play Trophy.
In the bracket championship matches in August, Howie “The Quiet Assassin” Stein edged out Marc “Fine Grind” Birnbaum in the Augusta Division. Paul “Pablo” Cohen took out Marc “The Bronx Bomber” Fink in the Bethpage Black Division. Barry “How Did I Get Here” Minkoff outlasted Ronnie “Clean and Green” Greenbaum to win the Pebble Beach Division. So the stage was now set for the Keepers Match Play-Final Three in early September.
This titanic struggle was played on the North Course on a steamy day as an Almost Skins 5-3-1 Match Format where the best net score on a hole earns the player 5 points, second best net score 3 points, and not so best net score 1 point. Total points for the 18 holes is the Match Play Champion for 2019.
Bountiful Kash Sweeps, a bunch of Keepers Kup Points, and the slick trophy were on the line today. The course conditions were a bit soft and the greens, by North Course standards, were disarmingly slow. This was a two-edged sword, the downhill putts did not trundle six to eight feet by as they will do on any given Sunday and the uphill putts often left the guys with a nerve racking, furry five-footer which never seemed to have enough enthusiasm to go in.
It was obvious from the opening holes that he who made putts won big points and he who missed putts would be disappearing in the rear view mirror. Barry picked up his new moniker, “Mr. Klutch”, when he bagged a 25-footer across the 3rd green to make an unlikely par-net-birdie to grab the lead for the first time. Against all historical precedence, he never relinquished that advantage the rest of the way.
There was plenty of parrying the rest of the front nine but lack of consistent putting kept any of them from establishing a sizeable advantage. There were two balls in regulation on both 6 and 7 but there were only two pars to show for it. Howie hit a monster drive on 8 to about 75 yards and put a lawn dart to three feet to make the only natural birdie on the front side. But 9 rendered a full house-a bogey, a double, and a triple-with more sloppy green side play. At the halfway point Barry led 31 to 25 and 25 for the other two.
The inward nine started with a flicker of hope for the Silent Assassin as he made the Sportcenter Top Ten with an unbelievable recovery from the face of the cross bunker on #10, hitting it to 18 feet and draining the putt for another birdie to pull within 2 points of the lead.
But Pablo was having none of this, he laced a drive to center, an approach to the back on the 11th green and two putted for a winning par to get himself to just one point behind.
Mr. Klutch used the advantage tee on 12 to his advantage and followed a massive drive with a steady hybrid approach and two putts for a 4 net 3 to reclaim a 4 point advantage.
Two three-putts on 13 after hitting the putting surface and a gaggle of net bogies on 14 left the spreads pretty much as they were. More shadow boxing on 15 and 16 and the match moved to the pivotal 17th Tee with all kompetitors within 5 points-Barry 50-Howie 49-Paul 45. Stroking on both of the final holes Barry and Paul had to feel pretty good about things, but then there is that little wet penalty area that fronts the green that would have to be contended with. The plot lines and neck lines were thickening.
Pablo was the first to strike following a solid drive to 105 out on 17 and heeded advice of counsel to hit his short iron safely 35 feet behind the dangerous front right pin. Knowing a 4 for 3 was in the offing, Howie hit the shot of the inward half when he stuck his 85-yard approach 7 feet behind the cup making a natural birdie a real possibility. Barry hit his approach in the water but but from a drop some 75 yards out he kovered the flag to 3 feet to steal a bogey net par which would earn him some valuable points. Pablo handled the downhill approach putt to kick-in range and when Howie failed to convert his birdie putt the three were off to the final tee with the score line: Mr. Klutch 52-Q.A. 51-Pablo (a.k.a. Yosemite Sam) 50.
This is where Barry solidified the new moniker, he smashed his tee ball from the forward tee to 125 in the left Billy grass and then carefully managed his approach to the front right fringe 75 feet from the hole. Both of his kompetitors foozled at least one shot on the way to the green and by the time the putting was to transpire Barry was sitting 5 feet above the hole with only a two-putt needed for the bogey-net-par which would seal the deal. True to form Barry turned to me at this point and said, “At least I am not coming in third”. Now that is konfidence for you.
The rest is history, Mr. Klutch did indeed make the net par to win the final hole outright.
Game-Set-and Match with 57 points.
Kongratulations to all three guys….it was a spirited and feisty afternoon of golf and a deserving champion emerged.
The final takeaways from this year’s Keepers Match Play were:
1st Place Barry Minkoff-(57) Points $300 Kash Sweeps and 200 Kup Points and the Match Play Trophy
2nd Place Howie Stein-(54) Points $200 Kash Sweeps and 100 Kup Points
3rd Place Paul Cohen-(51) Points $100 Kash Sweeps and 50 Kup Points
Tied4th Marc Birnbaum, Marc Fink, and Ronnie Greenbaum $50 Kash Sweeps and 25 Kup Points
Our last Keepers weekday event of the year turned out to be a bit of an existential affair. In Blind Pairs you pick your partner to play a 9-Hole Net Best Ball on the North Course not knowing your opponent until after the play is done.
The arbitrage began over a kook-out dinner when we picked opponents from the Keepers recyclable sack for a hole-by-hole match of cards for hole points (3 for each hole won and 1 for each hole tied).
For an added rub-of-the-green element there were bonus points available to the two balls closest to the pin in regulation on holes 2, 4, 6 and 8 (2 points for the closest and 1 for the second closest). Each teams total of match and bonus points would go toward determining the winners.
Alan Levine and Keith Eig, who shot a net 32 best ball, drew Neal Bobys and Monroe Brett out of the sack, who carded net 38. Once the cards were matched Levine-Eig had won 6 holes outright and tied another for a total of 19 match points. Kaptin Keith’s radar iron play on #2 and #6 added an additional 4 bonus points to give them a total of 23 points for a runaway win over the second place finishers.
A bevy of teams tied for second with 17 points. Howard Postal and Dennis Speisman bested Nathan Greenbaum and Chet Levine 17 to 8. Michael Levy and Yale Kaplan took the legal team of Greenberg and Greenberg 14 to 11 and added 3 bonus points for Michael’s sharpshooting on 8 and Yale’s second closest on 6 to reach the 17 point mark. Allen Schwartz and Rick Brecher got 16 points off of Rusty Minkoff and Billy Burak and added a bonus point for Terp Station’s second closest on #2 for their 17 points. Fifth place with 16 points went to Len Goldman and Moe Dweck who got 15 in their card match with Marc Fink and Arnie Miller and added a bonus with the Mishner’s second closest on the 4th hole.
It did take a while to work through all the kalkulations but by the time dessert spoons were resting komfortably the results were in.
Prizes Per Man:
1st Alan Levine and Keith Eig- 150 Kup Points and $100 Kash Sweeps
T-2nd Howard Postal and Dennis Speisman- 90 Kup Points and $25 Kash Sweeps
T-2nd Michael Levy and Yale Kaplan- 90 Kup Points and $25 Kash Sweeps
T-2nd Alan Schwartz and Rick Brecher- 90 Kup Points and $25 Kash Sweeps
5th Len Goldman and Moe Dweck- 30 Kup Points
Thanks to our Keepers Kroupiers Konnor Farrell and Grant Strawoet for adeptly managing this kompetition and the arbitration of the results.
We had 20 teams of Keepers participate in our Third Annual Pinehurst Glenmorangie, a novel two-man format which blended a bit of Scramble and a hint of Alternate Shot into an original tasteful single malt offering.
Picking their own partners the guys had to hit their drives, swap balls for the second shot, and then pick the best result to play the rest of the way into the hole alternate shot. The objective for the day is low team net and, as in the previous iterations, it would take something in the mid-sixties to be in the money.
This year we put away the crayons and went full Silicon Valley with the state-of-the-art Golf Genius Electronic Scoreboard. Konsidering recent Woodmont escapades with technology this was no small feat.
Playing the New North Course at it’s full volume due to an overnight deluge, the play was very kompetitive with the winning margin being only one shot. Bobby “Jack Lalane” Fogel and Neal “The Nat Kloser” Bobys threw down a net 32 on the front nine and then put the foot to the floor with a net eagle on 11 and a birdie on 12 before finishing birdie-birdie on the last two holes for net 32 on the back on their way to the winning 64.
Finishing second were the duo of Allen “Kortoisone” Zweig and Yale “Ivy League” Kaplan with net 65. They torched the front side with five birdies for a net 31 but lost a little momentum with a net bogie on 13 before kompiling 3 birdies on the back for a net 65 total.
“Kaptin Keith” Eig and Alan “Don’t Mess With Me” Levine had a fine net 68 to take third, followed by Howard “USPS” Postal and Nate “Money” Greenbaum with net 69 for fourth. Two teams tied fifth at Net 70-Artie “Don’t Write Me Off” Aronoff and Daryl “Hall and Oates” Shapiro and Mike “I’m Buying” Selis and Mark “The Historian” Miller.
The Prizes (per man):
1st Place at Net 64 Neal Bobys/Bobby Fogel 300 Kup Points and $100 Kash Sweeps
2nd Place at Net 65 Allen Zweig/Yale Kaplan 200 Kup Points and $50 Kash Sweeps
3rd Place at Net 68 Keith Eig/Alan Levine 150 Kup Points and $25 Kash Sweeps
4th Place at Net 69 Howard Postal/Nate Greenbaum 100 Kup Points
T-5th Place at Net 70 Artie Aronoff/Daryl Shapiro and Mike Selis/Mark Miller 25 Kup Points
Thanks to the 40 guys who participated and to Konnor and his gang administration of today’s event.
The Final Fore of the Keepers Alternate Shot Series was once again a smokey affair which pitted four two-man teams, well stocked with expensive cigars, against each other in a round-robin series of three 9-hole Alternate Shot Matches on the South Course to determine our Keepers Kahootz Champions for 2019.
The kompetitve instincts of the four teams making it into the Final Fore would make for a full afternoon grind to determine the champions. Marc “I have finally settled on a putter” Birnbaum and Howard “I want this kool trophy” Wollner dominated their kompetition in the three week night matches leading going to the Finale with 25 points. Yale “Ivy League” Kaplan and Michael “They love the sexy accent” Levy had 22.5 points to tie for second through the evening matches with the dogged pair of Harry “Stogie II” Harrison and Paul “Pablo” Cohen. Rounding out the Final Fore were Steve “What are we playing for?” Keller and John “Freaky” Friedson with 22 points.
After the first matches on the back of the South Harrison-Cohen took the early lead winning four holes in a row from 13 through 16 to notch a 5.5 to 3.5 win over Kaplan and Levy. The Birnbaum-Wollner vs Keller-Friedson opening match was a total Karch Kiraly affair with them trading holes from start-to-finish before prevailing 5 to 4. There was little momentum for any team going into the second stage of matches.
Turning to the front nine for the second matches Harrison-Cohen ceded the advantage on the first five holes to Birnie and Wolles but proved tough from six through nine scratching out a 4.5 to 4.5 split. Keller-Friedson started slowly as well, losing the first two, but found their keel on holes three through eight squeezing out a 5 to 4 win over Yale and Michael.
With 9 holes left it was anybody’s ball game……..
Harrison-Cohen 10 Birnbaum-Wollner 9 1/2 Keller-Friedson 9 Kaplan-Levy 7 1/2
The final matches returned to the back nine and two closely played matches left the final winner in doubt until the last putt dropped.
Birnbaum-Wollner fought hard against Kaplan-Levy with the match tied through the first seven holes. Fate turned in their favor with a win on the 17th and a half on the final hole that earned them a narrow 5 to 4 match win and the clubhouse lead at 14 1/2 points.
But would it hold up?
Keller-Friedson had ground to make up on the leaders and started out strong winning three of the first four holes to stake a decisive lead and buoy their hopes of taking home the hardware. Harrison-Cohen clung tightly to the wreckage avoiding lost holes from 14 through 17. But by the 18th tee, with the match score at 5 to 3 against them, the realization was at hand that Harrison-Cohen could not win enough points to catch the leaders but they could still be a spoiler in determining the champion. With Keller-Friedson in for bogie on 18, Pablo stoked a par putt that took an eternity and every dimple available on the ball before it tumbled into the cup to win the hole. The 5 to 4 winning result of this match left Doc and Freaky a mere 1/2 a point from a playoff for the title with Birnie and Wolles.
As predicted this turned out to be a three-plus cigar affair and the champions were determined by the narrowest of margins. Hearty congratulations to the Keepers Kahootz Champions.
The Final Fore Tally:
1st Place M. Birnbaum-H. Wollner 14.5 Points $150 Sweeps 150 Kup Points
T-2nd Place H. Harrison-P. Cohen 14 Points $90 Sweeps 90 Kup Points
T-2nd Place S. Keller-J. Friedson 14 Points $90 Sweeps 90 Kup Points
4th Place Y. Kaplan-M. Levy 11.5 Points $50 Sweeps 50 Kup Points
Special thanks to Konnor and staff for their adept administration of the Keepers Alternate Shot Series and these Final Fore Matches.
We had 27 short order chefs participating in this year’s Keepers Flap Jacks on a sultry summer evening on the North Course. Playing this unusual format that uses (2) Best Balls on the Odd Holes and (2) Not So Best Balls on the Even Holes it made sure that all three guys kept their attention on the pile of pancakes.
Top honors for the evening went to Iron Skillet and IHOP who showed the most kulinary kunning shooting 70 to win the team kompetition. Iron Skillet, led by Phil “Squeeze Play” Schulman, Mike “They All Kount” Selis, and Arnie “Fit as a Fiddle” Miller ,dominated the Best Ball holes at 5-under on there way to a winning performance. Through strong individual play of Steve “Latte” Lerman, Artie “Smoothie” Aronoff, and Ronnie “Frappe” Rosenberg, posting individual net scores of 35, 34, and 37 respectively, IHOP matched the winning total to share in the first prize points and kash sweeps.
Tied third at 71 were Team Huddle House-Jimmy “Short Order” Polsky, Larry “Kool Hand” Jacobs, and “Marquee” Mark Miller-and Team Dennys-with the brothers Don and Michael Fisher and Brian “No Violation” Fein.
In the Players Pool Kash Game of individual Low Net it was Mark Miller and Mike Selis tied first with Net 33 getting $40 each and Billy Burak and Artie Aronoff with Net 34’s tied third getting $20 each. We added another $110 to our Military Contributions for the end of the year thanks to the participation of 23 guys in this game.
Today’s Keepers Beat The Pro pitted 48 Keepers against the Thursday U.S. Open scores from Pebble Beach of some of the world’s finest flat bellies in a man-on-man, no-holds-barred kompetition. Separated into American and National League Divisions by handicap range, the Keepers got 110% handicap on the South Course in a Stableford Scoring format where they gleaned 3 points for each hole they won and 1 point for each hole they tied. Seasoned pros like McIlroy, Rahm, Koepka, Garcia, and DeChambeau are still smarting from the experience.
In the American League Division Bobby “Jack Lalanne” Fogel put on a performance for the ages scoring 30 points against two-time reigning U.S. Open Champion Brooks Koepka. At 80 years young, the ageless wonder had 4 pars in 5 holes on the outward half shooting a gross 40. He backed it up with four more pars between 11 and 15 and threw in a natural birdie on the finishing hole winning 6 out of the last 8 holes on his way to a bookend 40 on the back nine. Bobby got 300 valuable Keepers Kup Points and $100 in Kash Sweeps shooting a dominating 80 off the Blue/Green Combo Tees on the zoysia.
Finishing second alone in this division was Alan “Swing Version 3.2 B” Levine who put the ack-acks on Martin “Luftwaffe” Kaymer with 27 points earning 200 Kup Points and $50 in Kash Sweeps. T-3rd were last year’s winner Jim “I Own This Event” Ackerman and Artie “On The Move” Aronoff who carded 25 points each against Brooks Koepka.
In the National League Division it was Bruce “Just Learning The System” Dubinsky who dominated Sergio “I Stink” Garcia shooting gross 42-48-90 on his way to 30 points. Bruce won 6 holes on the front nine to rack up 19 points and backed it up winning 16 and 17 to close out his victory and earn 300 Kup Points and $100 in walk-around sweeps. Eddie “Squeeze Play” Cohen and Arthur “Your Are Gonna Find Out I Can Play” Dubin scored 29 points each on Bryson “The Engineer” DeChambeau and Rory “I Got My Swagger Back” McIlroy for second place honors of 175 Kup Points and $40 Kash Sweeps each.
Thanks to Konnor, Grant, and the rest of the staff who set up and administered this afternoon’s festivities.