WOW!!! WOW!!!! WOW!!! For 18 years, the mantra "IT HAS NEVER RAINED ON AN IAGA EVENT" held true. This mantra held true through the threatening clouds of Day 1 of the 2016 IAGA Club Championships.
IT CAN NO LONGER BE SAID. Not only did it rain, but it rained for 7 continuous hours!!!!!!
The ONE thing that will come from this Championship day is an unbelievable memory for all who participated:
- 55 players started on Day 1
- 43 players showed up on Day 2
- 38 players endured the 7 hours of rain!!!
What an adventure it was for the 38 who stayed till the end. The course conditions were nothing less than the toughest BRITISH OPEN conditions you can imagine. You recall 3 years ago, the rain pelted the OPEN and scores shot skyhigh. Players could barely walk forward in the wind and rain, let alone advance their ball. IAGA has ARRIVED!!!! We experienced it all:
- Wind and rain
- Casual water in every inch of the fairway
- Carts doing 360's while going down the fairway
- Rough that made balls disappear
- Drives that flew less than 150 yards
- Clothes that were drenched as if players had gone swimming
- Scorecards so wet you could not read them...Iwannamaker became the official scoring!!!
- 6.5 hour round
- Average score in the 100's
But through it all.........IAGA played!!!! There was no quit in IAGA's passionate membership. Given the chance to not play, they all put their rain gear on and said......let's go do this!!!!! Now some of them decided against it after 3 - 4 holes, but 38 players went through all 18 holes and had the memory of a lifetime!!!
And now onto the golf results.
In an amazing performance, the Champions of each flight played brilliantly as possible under these conditions and were able to separate themselves from the rest of the field. Most of the Championships came down to the last two holes, except the Cobra Flight.
In the COBRA Flight, KUNAL VERMA destroyed the field to win by 10 shots. He had an 8 shot lead after day one and built on it through these tough conditions. CHARANDEEP SEHGAL gave his best effort, but could not close the gap. Past Champion, RAVI PINDIPROLI........quit!!!! Congrats KUNAL on a dazzling performance!!!!
In the TIGER flight, it was a see saw battle with the top 3 golfers battling through all 18 holes of the final day. There was no quit in them. Two of the three were past champions so they knew what it would take to capture the coveted TIGER Cup for a second time. KULWANT SIDHU and BJ DESAI were in a fight for the top with newcomer and hottest TIGER player, HARSHA SASTRY. Each of the top 3 held the lead at one time during the round. It came down to who could bring it home in the final two deciding holes. That honor went to past champion BJ DESAI who drained a 25 footer on the final hole to hang on by ONE shot over HARSHA SASTRY. An AMAZING finish!!! Congrats to BJ DESAI for his 2nd TIGER CUP title!!!
In the MAHARAJA flight, the final group was comprised of ALL newcomers. All had knocked on the door before, but RAJ GAUTAM, JIMMY SINGH, VISHAL WADHWA and JANG BADHESHA had not broken through to get their name on the MAHARAJA Trophy. Who would show their mental strength and be able to keep it together under brutal conditions? Who would be able to identify that ALL are playing under the same conditions and whoever makes the fewest mistakes on a day like today, was going to hoist the trophy? For the third time in four years, VISHAL WADHWA has been in position to close the door on his competitors in the final round. He has knocked on the door so often, he has the title of "best IAGA golfer never to have won the Championship". He was also trying to become the first to have won the MAJOR at Half Moon Bay AND the Club Championship in the SAME YEAR!!!!! The challenge was on. Following on Iwannamaker, you could see how all four played amazing through the first few holes. Coyote sold out of rain gloves thanks to IAGA. These rain gloves allowed for some fabulous play and some brilliant shots amongst the many misses. But it is the brilliant shots that each player will remember. While WADHWA held some share of the lead through 15 holes, the conditions and the mental strain caught up to him. RAJ GAUTAM made a charge through the middle of the round and was within ONE shot of the lead......till his triple!!!! He stated "I was trying so hard just to make bogey, but the conditions would not even allow me that!!!!" JANG BADHESHA put up a valiant effort early in the round as well, but eventually faded down the stretch with some unflattering shots under tough conditions. Both RAJ and JANG had to press in the final holes to make up significant gaps and that resulted in the race being left to the final two.
Through the rain, the wetness, the puddles, the drops, the penalties, the pressure, the heart pounding final two holes..........it was the man with a NEW stronger HEART who prevailed. JIMMY SINGH comes from off the surgery table after a heart attack less than 3 months ago to capture the MAHARAJA Trophy and the CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP for 2016. It was a fantastic performance by JIMMY. He kept things cool and just kept watching his competitors fall. He was always chasing till the final 2 holes when mistakes by him competitors and some timely putting where he knocked in 20 and 30 foot putts......vaulted JIMMY to the front......and he held it there with a solid finish!!!!! CONGRATS TO THE 2016 IAGA CLUB CHAMPION ........JIMMY SINGH!!!!
With the Trophies won.........there were three things left to share!!!! The first was a TREMENDOUS achievement by RAJESH HOODA on DAY One where he made a HOLE IN ONE on Hole #2!!!! This feat during an IAGA event, earns RAJESH a $300 award. This will come in handy at the IAGA kickoff event in 2017 where EVERY member should be sure to get his free drink from RAJESH!!!! Hope he shows up!!!! CONGRATS RAJESH.
Next on the agenda was the health of the RABBIT!!! Under these tough conditions, could the RABBIT survive?? He popped his head out after a couple of years to experience the new players in IAGA. As it turns out, he should have stayed in his hole as he got whacked like a rat under the shoe of a pissed off housewife!!! He may NEVER come out again!!!! All those who had bets against the RABBIT will be contacted in a separate email for your PayPal account so you can receive your rewards!!!! And the Rabbit has some choice words for you that cannot be shared in this family email.
Finally, the GRAND FINALE Raffle. With a Surface Pro, Beats speakers, Nespreso Cafe machine, Amazon Echo, ProV golf balls, Nordstroms gift certificate and much more, could there be any drama left. OH YES......OH YES........OH YES!!!! ONLY IN IAGA do we ooooze drama till the final bell!!!! The first prize in the raffle is always the dreaded GOLF TOWEL. It is the LEAST COVETED Prize. If you win the towel, and you won nothing in golf, means you hung around for 2 hours for a chance to go home and show off your towel!!!! It is almost as bad as finishing last........NO...CORRECTION.....IT IS WORST THAN FINISHING LAST!!!!
The last two towel winners have been SUHAS KULKARNI........and .......SUHAS KULKARNI. Throughout the day, SUHAS had only one goal. Commish, please don't draw my name for the towel. PLEASE!!!!! You could feel SUHAS's heart beating so fast as if he was having the heart attack Jimmy just went through. You could hear it and see the chest heaving as the Commish called out the winning (losing) ticket!!! And with the last number of the ticket called a MENACING SHRIEK was heard. It was from none other than our loved SUHAS KULKARNI who had just won the towel for THE THIRD TIME IN A ROW!!!!!! OH MY GOODNESS!!!! IT COULD NOT BE POSSIBLE. THE ODDS ARE HUGE!!! But alas, it did happen. The rest of the raffle was a formality as no top prize winner could top this highlight (lowlight)!!!! Congrats to SUHAS for bringing us another MEMORABLE moment in IAGA!!!!! Can't wait for the Major in Half Moon Bay next July!!!!! Suhas, hope you qualify!!!!
Here are the final results: (A summary of the payouts will be coming shortly as well and all payments will be handled via PayPal........including SKINS payouts for Day 1).
- Closest to the Pin ..Hole #5........HARSHA SASTRY
- Closest to the Pin ....Hole #7.......BJ DESAI
- Long Drive.....Tiger/Cobra.....VIKAAS DIXIT
- Long Drive .....Maharaja........VISHAL WADHWA
- HOLE IN ONE......Hole #2......RAJESH HOODA
- Golfers of the Year.......Maharaja....SUHAS KULKARNI......Tiger...ABHI DESAI......Cobra....HARSHA SASTRY
- Individual Match Play.......VINEET SHARMA
- Team Match Play........JANG BADHESHA / SANDEEP MALIK
- Low Net Day 1 of Championship .......RAJIV MALIK
- Low Net Day 2 of Championship.......PRASAD UPADHYAYULA
- Cobra Flight Championship Runner Up.....CHARANDEEP SEHGAL
- Cobra Flight Champion .....KUNAL VERMA
- Tiger Flight Championship Runner Up.......HARSHA SASTRY
- Tiger Flight Champion.......BJ DESAI
- Maharaja Flight Championship Runner Up.....RAJ GAUTAM
- Low GROSS 36 holes Champion........VISHAL WADHWA
- Maharaja Flight Champion......JIMMY SINGH
And with all of the festivities above having been concluded..........we bring a close to the 2016 IAGA Tour!!!! It has truly been a very memorable 19th year for IAGA. We look forward to hosting all of you for our special 20th year celebration year in 2017.
We also encourage you to continue to bring you friends into the club to make this an even more enjoyable experience for you and for all of us. IAGA continues to grow and we will be making lots of plans for 2017 to make the IAGA experience even that much better for all our returning and new members!!!
You will have a 60 day cooling off period before we begin taking sign ups for the 2017 MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIPS. These events sell out fast so be on the lookout and get your name in early!!!
Also be on the lookout for the 2016 JUNIORS CHAMPIONSHIP in November. It will be a fantastic follow on to our first JUNIORS event where we had 40 golfers tee it up in the JUNIOR/SENIOR OPEN!!!! Bring your JUNIOR for the GRAND FINALE!!!! IT TOO will be memorable!!!
Members, have a safe and joyous Diwali season and a fantastic holiday season at year end!!! Look forward to welcoming you to the 2017 IAGA Tour in December with our first stroke play kickoff event at Yocha De He Golf Course in February!!!!
Thanks for your support of IAGA!!!