The anticipation of the 2017 WMMOA Golf Championship grew hour by hour. 1400 miles to the east, another golf tournament , the US Open, was starting its second day. The similarities didn’t end there, both locales were experiencing cool damp weather; perfect scoring conditions the erstwhile WMMOA golfers thought. Five of WMMOA’s best stepped up trying to claim the largest golfing prize. Four Army duffers and one US Marine. Gary Sorensen’s drive crackled like lightning down the left side of the first hole. He was quickly followed by Gary Swartz, Jim Hamilton, Will Deschamps and Howard Dickey. Sorensen and Swartz were providing flank security on the left and Hamilton and Dickey were protecting the right flank for Will Deschamps’ drive down the middle. The damp conditions began to take its toll as the first green brought several putts left short. Jim Hamilton firmly rammed in an eight foot putt; little did this five some know that it would be the longest putt of the day for this group.
Hole number two brought out this group’s best drives of the day. Long, straight , through the trees guarding the fairway, certainly things were looking up. Any optimism was quickly crushed on this awesome par four. Poor putting left the group with bogeys and worse.
The short par three third hole was going to be the closest to the pin hole. Sorensen bounced his drive off a house along the fairway before putting his second try on the green. Deschamps hit a beautiful shot just over the pin which lead to our first par and earned him the closest to the pin prize.
Drives were sprayed all over the course on the fourth hole. The dogleg right bit Swartz who was on in three only to four putt. Sorensen hit the best shot of the day, a 40 foot putt just off the green which stopped three inches from the hole; he calmly sank the one inch putt for a par. The Marine Corps was starting to exert its dominance over the hapless but resilient and ever hopeful Army group.
The next hole would determine the long drive prize. Jim Hamilton lead off with a burner into the fence on the left side. There seemed to be some sort of strange attraction to the trees and fences on that side of the hole. Deschamps was long but just off the fairway on the left; Sorensen and Swartz both were in the trees on the left although Swartz got a field grade bounce back into the middle of the fairway. Dickey had what looked like the winning drive but it swerved off to the right. Swartz swallowed his pride and accepted the title of longest drive in the fairway.
The long par three sixth hole continued to be a mishmash of shots sprayed into traps or under trees. The good news was that it wasn’t raining (yet).
The uphill seventh hole was graced with great drives but awkward second shots. Balls blasted out of traps, bounced off trees; the golfers realized that they were running out of time and holes to shoot a decent score.
Then it started to rain. These golfers weren’t Airmen or Sailors, we could take it although it appeared that the focus on the eight hole was more on getting to the clubhouse than on hitting that next shot. Deschamps quietly got a par on the hole.
Swartz and Sorensen were matching shot after shot as they slogged up the ninth hole. Swartz’s putting woes continued as Sorensen won the hole tied Hamilton for second place with 54s, just behind Deschamps’ 46. Swartz and Dickey provided rear echelon score security.
Will Deschamps (USMC) kept the Army from repeating as champion and won the closest to the pin award; Gary Sorensen captured second place and had the shot of the day; Jim Hamilton also tied for second place and had the longest putt, Gary Swartz had the longest drive and Howard Dickey won the most consistent putter award.