Senior Match Play recap

Sept. 16-19, 79 players from across the state descended on Whirlwind Golf Club for the 2011 AZ Senior Match Play Championship. The first day they played stroke play for seeding, with three days of match play determining the champion in three divisions: Masters (45-54 years old), Senior (55-64 years old) and Legends (65 and older).

Friday’s round of stroke play provided a glimpse of what was to be expected at the championship, as solid performances led to some great scores. In the Masters division, Carlos Cabral fired a 4-under 68 to take the No. 1 seed in the division. In the Senior division, Tom White also shot a 4-under 68 taking the No. 1 seed. Rounding out the top was Tony Petronis in the Legends division with a 1-under 71.

Match play can be entertaining, not to mention exhausting, and the final three days provided a wide array of results. Tom Sweigart’s journey to being named Masters champion started with his match against Don Taflin, in which he was able to keep his No. 2 seed momentum going by winning the match 6 and 5. He was able to continue this streak into his next matches, winning 4 and 3, 3 and 2, and then to face Cyrus Whitney in the final. Sweigart was able to edge Whitney out on the first hole of a playoff and won the match in 19 holes, becoming the 2011 AZ Senior Match Play Champion in the Masters division.

JP Bailey’s road to victory took a little longer. Starting as the No. 25 seed, his path took him through many lower seeds and some of the best golfers in the state. His first match against Jeff Rudi, the No. 8 seed in the Senior division, ended at 4 and 2 let him advance to the sweet 16 round. JP ran into some difficult matches edging out some close victories including a 1up win over Tom Preston in the semifinal. But it was the final where he had to muster some strength to triumph, because Don Nelson proved to be a tough opponent. In the end, JP Bailey won the match in 24 holes to become the 2011 Senior division Champion.

Richard Cardwell in the Legends division also had an interesting tournament, with two of his matches going into extra holes on his way to the final. Cardwell had to battle No. 11 seed Tom Egan through 20 holes before winning his first match. Taking his next matches through all 18 and more, Richard was able to win 1 up and in 19 holes to face Tom Eastlack in the final. With his consistent play all week, he was able to win 3 and 2 to capture the victory and the 2011 Legends division Champion title.