USGA Mens State Team Blog – Wrap-up
(NOTE: AGA Director of Rules and Competitions, Scott McNevin, is blogging from the USGA Mens State Team Championship, at The Country Club of St. Albans, just west of St. Louis, Missouri. Michael Wog II, Chris Kessler and Dalen Linnerson are the three AGA players representing Arizona in the Championship. The first round began on Wednesday.)
Team Arizona survived the 8th USGA State Team Championship, at The Country Club of St. Albans. With the USGA implementing a cut, Arizona finished in 24th place after the final round. Although the weather was forecasted to be another rainy day, we teed off just to overcast skies. By the time we were through our 5th hole of the day (#14 hole, as we teed off #10 to start), the skies were completely blue, the best weather we had seen all week. For the final round, Chris Kessler fired 73, with Dalen Linnerson shooting a 77. Michael Wog fired a 78.
Overall we had a great time, and the Arizona players experienced a great USGA Championship. From the 3 ½” rough, to the long yardage and tough hole locations, the event was set-up to the USGA standards… difficult, but fair. The highlight of the trip was the hospitality from the all the staff and members of The Country Club of St. Albans. Some players might remember the birdies, the neat player key chain / ball marker and headcover they received, or even the great bacon they served at the golf course. Our team from Arizona will remember the championship for the friendliness and generosity of the membership, from the team BBQ hosted at one of the member’s homes, to the Arizona host “mom” serving us brownies and cookies on the course, while she was volunteering and collecting scores for live-scoring.
State Team – Round 2
Well if you have ever been to Oregon and the Pacific Northwest between November and April, you know you get those cloudy, gray skies, with the constant drizzle, mixed in with some steady rain… almost every day of the week. I went to University of Oregon for six years (and did eventually graduate), so I was used to the constant winter weather. On Thursday morning, this is the exact type of weather that Team Arizona, and the rest of the morning wave experienced at The Country Club of St. Albans.
Driving over to the course at 6:30 a.m. in the morning we were all wondering if we would play, knowing how wet the course was already, and how steady the rain was coming down. But deep down inside, I had this feel that we would tee off and play, and it would be a very wet day.
With the forecast calling for moderate rain all morning, our guys were dressed and prepared, with rain jackets and pants, umbrellas, bucket hats and rain gloves… and multiple towels. During the round it seemed like my main job as captain was making sure our players had plenty of dry towels, advil and chocolate chip cookies (or jelly-bellies).
Team Arizona started on #1, with Dalen Linnerson at the 8:10 tee time, followed by Michael Wog II and Chris Kessler in the following tee times. I think the toughest part of the front nine is knowing that hole #2 will be played in steady rain, as a 490 yard, par 4, with a lateral water hazard down the entire right side of the hole. While our guys all survived #2, it seems like everyone looks forward to stretch of holes #4 and 5. Hole #4 is a 345 yard, par 4, dog-leg right. Although as the crow-flies, the hole is about 275 yards to take the direct flight and drive the green. And the 5th is hole is a dog-leg left, par 5, playing about 600 yards, the only par 5 on the front nine. Team Arizona took advantage of these two holes, as we played 2-under as a team on Thursday.
As our guys made the turn, from #9 to 10, it was looking like it would be more like a day of survival than anything else, as the steady rain continued. Considering all the adventurous weather conditions, team Arizona finished their day with a team total of 4-over par, 146. Chris Kessler shot an even par 71, with Dalen Linnerson shooting a 75 for the two team-counting scores. Michael Wog II fired a 79. Although our team was done playing by 1:15 p.m., half the field would be playing in the afternoon wave, and only time would tell if they would get to enjoy the steady rain that we enjoyed in the morning.
We would eventually find out Thursday evening that the afternoon wave enjoyed their round with almost no rain (although the course was very wet due to the morning precipitation). But as every golfer knows, sometimes you will end up with an easy draw and sometimes a tough one…. and playing in the morning wave at The Country Club at St. Albans, with steady rain, was definitely the tougher draw.
On Thursday afternoon with our golf all done for the day, we decided to take advantage of our time in St. Louis and do something a tourist would do. Since the Cardinals were out of town, we decided to head to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour near downtown. The free, hour-long tour gave us an inside look at how beer is made, and at the corporate headquarters at one of the largest beer companies in the world. Although one might say that neatest part of the tour was the two free beers we can consume at the end of the tour in the “hospitality room”, one of the highlights was seeing several of famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses, that are kept in the stables on the property. Before there were planes, trains and automobiles, Clydesdale horses were the main source of transportation to deliver beer in the 1ate 1800’s and early 1900’s.
After all was said and done with Thursday’s Round 2, Team Arizona finished T-22nd through 36 holes, at 8-over par 292. With rain forecasted for most of Friday’s Final Round, the USGA implemented a cut, and only half of the field advanced to play the final round on Friday. By finishing in the top-half of the field, Team Arizona survived to play one more day in cloudy, overcast skies, before returning to the 90-plus Arizona heat.
USGA State Team – Round 1
The best part of Round 1 at the USGA Men’s State Team Championship was we survived with no rain and no weather delays, especially with afternoon tee times. Having an overcast day, the temperatures were just about perfect. After the first round, the Arizona team of Michael Wog II, Chris Kessler and Dalen Linnerson are tied for 24th, right in the middle of the pack of the 51 teams. On the par 71, Lewis and Clark Course at the Country Club of St. Albans, Wog II fired a 72, with Kessler shooting a 74 and Linnerson scoring a 75. The scores of 72 and 75 counted for the 4-over team total of 146. The team from Kansas leads the event at 9-under 133.
So what is the best thing about attending a USGA event at The Country Club St. Albans? Too many things… but I will start with… the golf course and the great welcome entrance to the club. Heading down a country road, 20 minutes from the host hotel Marriott, you really wonder if you are ever going to find the golf course. Then out of no-where, you see the long, driveway entrance to the massive tudor-style clubhouse. The great welcome begins on the main driveway, where you drive pass all 51 state flags (the 51st team is the District of Columbia). And now you know you are at the USGA Mens State Team Championship.
One of the highlights of the massive clubhouse is the overly large men’s locker-room, which is very much maze-like, where someone can easily get lost. The favorite of many players from all the states are the sugar treats….. which include jelly-bellies, M&M’s, receses-pieces, fresh made chocolate-chip cookies and of course, last but not least, the frozen cooler which has ice cream sandwiches and cookies. I know if Doc Graves was here, he would be in heaven with these fantastic treats.
Team Arizona tees off in the morning on Thursday, with Dalen Linnerson teeing it off first at 8:10, followed by Wog II and Kessler. Hopefully we luck-out again, and get no rain with no weather delays.
USGA Mens State Team Blog – Live from St. Louis
(NOTE: AGA Director of Rules and Competitions, Scott McNevin, is blogging from the USGA Mens State Team Championship, at The Country Club of St. Albans, just west of St. Louis, Missouri. Michael Wog II, Chris Kessler and Dalen Linnerson are the three AGA players representing Arizona in the Championship. The first round begins Wednesday.)
Team Arizona arrived safely by lunchtime on Monday, September 21st. With a good chance of rain throughout the week, our guys came prepared with rain gear, umbrellas and multiple pairs of shoes. The plan was to play a practice round on Monday afternoon, and head to the welcome reception at The Country Club of St. Albans immediately after the round. After arriving at the club, it didn’t take long to realize why the club and its members were chosen as the host site. Every staff member and volunteer was very welcoming, almost as if we were already members at the club. After getting a tour of the large, tudor-style clubhouse, by one of the many member-turned volunteers, we knew we were in for a special week.
The Country Club of St. Albans has 36 holes, but the entire championship will be contested on the Lewis and Clark Course. Monday afternoon, our practice round was cut short by some possible lightning coming to the area. At about 5:30 pm, as our guys were just on the 10th hole, we were evacuated to the clubhouse, which concluded our play for that day. Having a Tuesday morning practice round at 9:00 a.m., we were not too worried, as would be able to see the entire course the next day as were hopeful to get a full practice round in.
Monday evening was the spectacular welcome reception at the club. A great food display was setup for the dinner, which was highlighted by the pork short ribs (which was one of a few of the main entrees), and funnel cake with vanilla ice cream for desert. Only about halfway through dinner, the thunderstorm that brought us off the course struck with force, dropping 1.3 inches of rain, which would make the course a little bit longer for the week.
During the welcome reception we got to meet our adopted host family, so if we have any issues, questions, etc, we can give them a call. They actually live on the other golf course at St. Albans. We sat and talked with them for most of the reception, and they gave us a little background on The Country Club of St. Albans. The club opened in 1992, with the Lewis and Clark Course being the first course to open that year (Tavern Creek, the other Course at St. Albans, opened in 1997). Currently with about 800 members, The Country Club of St. Albans is one of the largest private clubs in Missouri, and annually ranked one of the best private golf communities in the state.
The Lewis and Clark Course was designed by the team of Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, which should be very familiar to Arizona golfers. A few of the courses in Arizona designed by this famous duo include Troon Country Club, Forest Highlands and TPC Scottsdale – Stadium Course. The great layout will be playing as a par 71, at a stout 7150 yards, with three par 4’s over 480 yards. The course is in excellent condition, and with the rain from Monday evening, it will be a great test of golf for all players.
Tuesday evening was the player dinner, hosted at the Country Club of St. Albans. The highlight of the evening was the flag ceremony, where the captain from each state walked into the dinner reception with their respective state flag (there are 51 teams in the championship, as the District of Columbia is also represented). USGA President Jim Vernon was present, and Vernon announced each state as the flags were inserted in the flag stands and displayed behind the head table. Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, also known as the “Wizard of Oz” for his spectacular defense during his tenure with the St. Louis Cardinals, was present as the Honorary Chairman of the event. Smith carried the United States flag into the reception immediately following all the state flags.
Team Arizona tees off in the afternoon wave for Round 1, with Dalen Linnerson off at 12:40, followed by Michael Wog II (12:50) and Chris Kessler (1:00). The two low scores each day will count toward the team score. Good Luck to Team Arizona! Live scoring can be found at http://www.stateteam.org/mens/