2023-HARBOUR CUP STATracker
2023-HARBOUR CUP/STATracker Week-32 Highlights
(thru: 10/06/2023… 83-rounds)
The 2023 race for the HARBOUR CUP, completed its 32nd week of play.
Here are some notable Week-32 highlights…
***FAHRMEIER SETS SANDY RECORD***
BEDENBAUGH WINS TWICE ~ PLAYOFFS AND TITLES HIT SUPER SERIOUS TIMEFRAME
Only 3 weeks remain in the 2023 STATracker season and only 9 scheduled rounds left to play before a host of titles are determined and the final playoff picture is formed. Here’s what we know right now
DAVE FAHRMEIER scored the first ever triple sandy round in STATracker history. The feat was accomplished during Monday’s Bald Eagles round. The big guy from Maryland joined the HPGC STATracker field just this season and has made a substantial impact on the proceedings. Besides setting this latest extraordinary record, Fahrmeier has been pouring it on lately after a quiet summer season campaign. He currently has moved into the top 10 in the Combined standings at the #9 position. He’s sure to be in the playoffs, in his first year, come November 1st. He added a 4th sandy during his Bald Eagles round on Friday, completing his week with 44 points (32-2-10). Speaking of sandies, PAUL CORMIER had a double sandy round on Monday as well. Cormier pushed back into the field in his one round scoring 25 points for his week (25-x-x). On the subject of doubles… KEN PLANTIN had a double holeout round in Monday’s game. The quiet guy from Vermont has returned to steady play with a nice 37 point week (33-1-3).
Also in the “doubles” department, it was WAYNE BEDENBAUGH notching a double win week as he helped his team in Wednesday’s MGA 4-man scramble tournament to a one stroke victory and then won again in Friday’s Bald Eagles team event. In fact, Bedenbaugh has notched several wins in the last 5 weeks and moved up to #11 position in the Winners Circle competition.
DAVE SEYERLE scored big in Friday’s round getting both a holeout and a sandy in his only appearance in week-32. Those 25 points put him back in the top 10 at the #10 position after a quiet last couple of weeks. Seyerle is another player sure to make the playoffs in his first STATracker season.
Regarding the playoffs…as mentioned before, 3 weeks and 9 rounds remain before the 2023 regular season concludes.
STAN KOONCE continues to hold a commanding lead in the Harbour Cup race and has a slim lead in the Winners Circle completion. MARK CARMICHAEL has a comfortable lead in the Tournaments standings with only one tournament remaining to be played. Due to the hefty overlap between the 2 standings, we find the wildcard players fairly well down the list in the Tourney standings. Currently Sean Mulhall, Frank Aiuto, Dave Lange and Ken Plantin are clinging to qualifying alternate status, and inclusion in the playoffs. Dan Englehaupt, Larry Ervin and Brian McDowell are just a couple of points behind that group. So point-getting in these concluding weeks is paramount.
It is hoped that inaugural STATracker playoffs champion, JOE PILLOW recovers from an injury he sustained in the final match, during the multiple month HPGC Match-play tournament series. Pillow has had quite the hot-hand in the latter half of this season. His 4th place position and 704 points in the Combined standings makes him a certainty for the November 1st playoff round. We mention the Match play event here in the STATracker Weekly report because that tournament will be included in next year’s STATracker proceedings. In a deal struck with the HPGC pro shop, in 2024, players will receive STATracker points for their achievements during that tournament. There are plans for inclusion of a couple of other HPGC events in the 2024 STATracker season. More on that will be forthcoming after the conclusion of this season.
2023-HARBOUR CUP/STATracker Week-33 Highlights
(thru: 10/13/2023… 86-rounds)
The 2023 race for the HARBOUR CUP, completed its 33rd week of play.
Here are some notable Week-33 highlights…
***KOONCE BREAKS 1400 CORMIER 1000***
THINGS HEAT UP WITH TWO WEEKS TO GO IN THE SEASON
Only 2 weeks remain in the 2023 STATracker season and that’s only 6 scheduled rounds left to play… and with that, the jamming starts. That is, players must begin making big moves in order to gain access to a playoff position, just two weeks from now. Before we get to that, the big news of week-33 is the historic achievements by two of the fields’ best players in the 2023 season. Number one ranked STAN KOONCE continues to reach new heights in STATracker points. This past week, as he screams towards the Harbour Cup championship, Koonce cracked the 1400 points mark. As he entered Wednesday’s MGA playdate round, he needed 11 points to get there. On the par-3 11th hole, Koonce came up short with his tee shot landing on the uphill approach to the green. From about 22 yards out, he snared his 55th holeout of the season, for a birdie. That 18 point shot pushed him past 1400 points on the season. Where this comet is going to stop, nobody knows.
In another historic moment on Wednesday, #3 ranked PAUL CORMIER became only the third player in STATracker history to break the 1000 points mark. Cormier also entered Wednesday’s proceedings needing 7 points to get to 1000.
On the par-3 6th hole, the left-handed Cormier faded his tee shot a little too much and it landed and then rolled into the left greenside bunker. From there, he hit a textbook bunker shot to 4 feet. Sinking that putt, put him in the history books. He ended up with a double sandy round that day along with a birdie. Sooo… for the first time ever, 3 players have achieved 1000 points or more… IN THE SAME SEASON to boot!! What is going on?? Has the game gotten easier?? Its just been a landmark year this season at the HARBOUR POINTE Golf Club.
Elsewhere… it was C.A. SMITH getting his 3rd I-win of the season in Wednesday’s MGA round. Smith’s victory over runnerup DAVE LANGE came by way of a playoff. For Smith, it was his 9th I-win of his STATracker career. He is one of only 4 players to have reached that number of individual career wins. Also on Wednesday, KEN PLANTIN got his first I-win of the 2023 season with a convincing 4 stroke victory over the hot-handed BOB REIVIK, recent Broad Creek OPEN champ. For Plantin, the victory is just part of a late season surge as he is one of several players pushing for a wildcard spot in the upcoming STATracker playoffs. In another rare occurrence during Wednesday’s round, KEITH SWAN scored a sandy-holeout-birdie, but it was not a bunker holeout. Swan reached the fairway bunker on the par-5 12th . He landed on the fringe in 3. He then proceeded to holeout for the birdie and of course a sandy! Speaking of sand play, SEAN MULHALL scored another rare shot… the Bunker Holeout. The 20 point shot was only the 4th one for the field this season. In fact, there have never been 4 BHOs in a single STATracker season. Mulhall is also one of the players making a substantial late season push. He is currently a qualifying alternate for the playoffs, from the Tournaments standings, with just one more tourney to go in the season.
Another notable player making hay here in the closing act of the season is BRIAN McDOWELL. McDowell played in 2 rounds last week and had a huge day on Friday as he hit the trifecta… a birdie, a holeout and a sandy in the same round. His 33 point week (x-3-30) was a great indicator as to how the musical crooner has been playing lately. He’ll need to score well in the last MGA tourney coming up this week, in order to have a chance to be a wildcard.
WAYNE BEDENBAUGH had a big day on Friday as he helped his team to the Winners Circle as well as 3 birdies and garnered 2 of 2 CTPs. He is holding the fort at the #15 position in the Combined standings. Club president DAVE LANGE has pulled to with 1 point of the final playoff spot in the Combined standings. That last spot is currently being occupied by JIM FURMAN, who has been struggling of late.
2023-HARBOUR CUP/STATracker Week-34 Highlights
(thru: 10/20/2023… 89-rounds)
The 2023 race for the HARBOUR CUP, completed its 34th week of play.
Here are some notable Week-34 highlights…
***EDMUNDSON TIES HOLEOUT RECORD***
EDMUNDSON MOVES INTO PLAYOFF PICTURE~WILDCARD POSITIONS REVEALED~ONE WEEK TO GO!
A wild and wooly week was the deal in week 34. All three rounds were completed. Several developments occurred as the 2023 STATracker season has arrived upon its final week of play.
Here’s what happened, what’s ahead and what we know…
First up, ED EDMUNDSON had a career-best round in Monday’s game. The big guy from Iowa affectionately nicknamed the “Freight Train,” had been sitting on a siding in recent days and outside the top 16. Well, the “Freight Train was back on the main line as Edmundson scored 59 points in Monday’s round catapulting him up the Combined standings into the #16 playoff spot. His big hit that day was tying the record for the most holeouts in a single round.
Edmundson tied Tom Caruso’s record of 3 holeouts in one round. In addition, he scored his first sandy of the season.
With just two rounds left to play in the season, Edmundson has a slim 4 point lead over JIM FURMAN for that last playoff spot. Edmundson finished the week with 67 points gained (59-5-3).
Another player who made a big move last week was BRIAN McDOWELL. McDowell joined the 2023 season late and it appeared for quite a while that he would not have a chance to make the playoffs this season. McDowell had been in the playoffs in 2021, missed it last year and it didn’t look good for this season either. Then, by late summer and into this Fall season, he began to pour it on. By this past Wednesday’s MGA tournament, McDowell had a chance to get it done. However, the 2-man scramble tournament was not an easy one to get points in. But, during the tourney, McDowell was able to score a birdie and a sandy for a total of 13 points, just enough to move up into the 4th wildcard position in the Tournaments standings. He’s had a bit of a hot hand of late, and that has made the difference.
PAUL CORMIER has been returning back to form. Last week, Cormier scored 56 points (29-8-19). He has taken over 2nd place in the Combined standings and is only 31 points away from the 1100 points mark. It’ll be fun to see if he can get there. Of course, STAN KOONCE has unofficially wrapped up the 2023 Harbour Cup trophy. Koonce only played in one round in week 34, the MGA tourney on Wednesday and scored 8 points. Cormier continues to lead all players in the field with 86 birdies on the season in 65 starts.
BRIAN SANDALL is another player battling to make the playoffs. Sandall had a spectacular round on Monday as he snared 2 holeouts and a sandy for a 40 point day. Those points have put him within striking distance of a playoff spot. He’ll need a couple of holeouts here in the last two rounds to get it done. Sandall has made the playoffs in each year of his STATracker career. He’s trying to make it 3 years in a row.
Elsewhere… first year player DAVE FAHRMEIER got his 50th birdie of the season during Monday’s round. He added another one in Wednesday’s tourney. Fahrmeier had 35 points for his week (18-7-10).
WAYNE BEDENBAUGH had another 2-win week… the third time he’s done that in the last couple of weeks. Bedenbaugh helped his teams to the Winners Circle in both Bald Eagles rounds last week. Bedenbaugh has 16 team wins (T-wins) in the 2023 season.
And speaking of the Winner’s Circle… as we enter this last week of the 2023 season, 2 players have just one more opportunity to set a new STATracker record. Both STAN KOONCE and BOB REIVIK have scored 5 individual wins this season (I-wins). No player has ever been able to get 6 I-wins in a season. These two players have one last chance on this coming Wednesday, in the MGA’s final individual playdate round of the season, to get that done. That will be another fun thing to watch out for in the last week. The last week of this season will have only 2 scheduled rounds… the Wednesday round just mentioned and then the season concludes on Friday with the Bald Eagles team round.
2023-HARBOUR CUP/STATracker Week-35/Special Report
(thru: 10/25/2023… 90-rounds)
The 2023 race for the HARBOUR CUP, has one round left to play.
Here is an update on the STATracker Playoffs race…
***SANDALL/FURMAN/LANGE MOVE INTO PLAYOFFS***
McDOWELL, MULHALL, PLANTIN & AIUTO NAIL DOWN WILDCARD POSITIONS
KOONCE CLINCHES WINNERS CIRCLE CHAMPIONSHIP
THIS IS IT!!!..... The 2023 STATracker season has just one more round to go… the Bald Eagles team event round scheduled for this Friday. After the completion of that round, the season will be concluded. The only thing left will be the annual STATracker PLAYOFF round to determine the winner of the Harbour Cup Championship, scheduled for play on Wednesday, Nov. 1st
The top twenty players that have earned spots in this major tourney, a tourney with the biggest purse of the season, has really cleared up after today’s MGA individual playdate round. Coming into today’s round, 4 wildcard positions were up for grabs. Our hats go off BRIAN SANDALL. Sandall has always made the playoffs each year, but this season, it was not looking too promising that he could get it done this year. But with a timely set of circumstances, Sandall snared his berth in the Playoffs again. A couple of things needed to happen for this to take place. As always, each year, not all the eligible players accept the invitation to compete in the tournament, for a variety of reasons. This year, for the first time, 3 eligible players declined the invite. That meant, the eligible positions in the Combined standings would have to be adjusted. With the combination of that adjustment, and Sandall getting a badly needed holeout for 15 points, which occurred today, Sandall moved up into the 15th spot in the standings, and that’s a playoff position. DAVE LANGE got some badly needed points in the last couple of weeks to put himself in a position to have a shot at the playoffs… and it paid off. Lange has secured the 16th and final playoff spot. Just ahead of Sandall and Lange is JIM FURMAN. While Furman has cooled off in the last couple of weeks, the one-time major champion has had a stellar year. His earlier season successes kept him in the playoff pool for the whole season. Only in the last couple of weeks, did he drop just outside the playoff positions. But after the invitation polling today, Furman learned of his good fortune. Good fortune also paid a visit to one BRIAN McDOWELL. After starting the season late, Mac
came on strong in the fall. His timely birdie and sandy in last week’s MGA tourney, was key in securing a wildcard playoff berth. FRANK AIUTO once again put together a strong season and even after only 37 starts, he once again has secured a wildcard spot in the playoffs. In Aiuto’s case, he earned it by his play in the MGA tournaments and his position in the Tournaments standings. As did KEN PLANTIN, who’ll make his first playoff appearance. Plantin also came on strong during the Fall season. Plantin quickly moved up the Tournaments standings and has secured the final wildcard position. A more complete preview of this year’s playoffs will appear in the final STATracker report this Sunday.
Elsewhere… STAN KOONCE clinched the Winners Circle Championship. Koonce and Bob Reivik entered this week with a chance to set a new record for individual wins (I-wins) in a single season. Each player needed a win in today’s MGA individual playdate round. Well... Reivik was not in the lineup today, so Koonce had the open road to himself. Koonce carded a 35 on the front nine today, looking like he was well on the way to getting that historic victory. But, it was not to be. Koonce faltered a bit on the back nine and ended up in 2nd place 3 strokes behind RICK WOLFE who got his first I-win of the season today. DAN ENGLEHAUPT, in the group B flight, also got his first
I-win of the season as well.
STATracker-III will get a full preview in this Sunday’s Final Season Roundup Report.
2023-HARBOUR CUP/STATracker Week-35 / FINAL Report
(thru: 10/27/2023… 91-rounds)
The 2023 race for the HARBOUR CUP has concluded
This is the final STATracker Season Report for 2023.
***SEASON WRAP-UP ~ PLAYOFFS PREVIEW***
The third STATracker season at the Harbour Pointe GC, concluded this past Friday and it was a historic season.
This final season wrap-up report will cover the final week of play and what was achieved and then we’ll get into the playoff picture and the players who will be vying for the final major of the year.
With the conclusion of play on Friday, a few things were made official. STAN KOONCE officially became the Harbour Cup Champion after his record-setting season. We’ll get more into Mr. Comet… errr….uhh…. I mean…
Mr. Koonce, later in this article. Along with the Harbour Cup, Koonce also won the Winners Circle competition.
MARK CARMICHAEL took the Tournaments title. DAVE FAHRMEIER officially became the winner of the “Rookie of the Year” honors. PAUL CORMIER snared the title of “Birdman of HarbourTraz.” Cormier finished the season with 88 birds. Last year, he became only the second player ever to surpass the 80 mark for birds. This season, three players achieved that feat, Cormier with 88, JOE PILLOW with 83 and Stan Koonce with 82…and THAT’s a new record as well. Cormier and Carmichael share the “Sand-King” honors as both players had 35 sandies on the year.
In the final week of play, only 2 rounds were completed… the MGA individual playdate round on Wednesday and the season finale on Friday which was a Bald Eagles team event. In the season’s final individual event on Wednesday, two players got their first individual wins (I-wins) of the season. The group “A” winner was RICK WOLFE. His 3 stroke victory over runnerup Stan Koonce was a satisfying end to a season that saw the big guy from Baltimore, have to miss the whole summer session due to shoulder surgery. Wolfe is a terrific player and will surely be in the mix next year.
In group “B” DAN ENGELHAUPT got his first I-win of the season when he pulled out a 2 stroke victory over runnerup Tim Welch. Now in the case of Engelhaupt, he ended up putting himself in a position to have an outside shot to make the playoffs… and guess what??... when the dust settled late Friday afternoon, Engelhaupt got the call and the invite to this week’s playoffs, as the final Wildcard entry. In the season finale on Friday, four of the twenty playoff bound players were paired together for the team event. It was BRUCE HICE, Stan Koonce, DAVE LANGE and MARK NOLAN claiming the final trip to the Winners Circle, with their victory. The top scorers for the week were JOE PILLOW with 40 points (x-16-24) which included 5 birdies in his last 2 rounds, Stan Koonce with 36 points…
(x-13-23) and Rick Wolfe with 24 points (x-23-1).
The playoff picture was also completed come Friday afternoon. After the invitations were sent out, came back the acceptances and the declines. For the first time ever, four of the top 20 eligible players for this year’s playoffs, declined to participate. That opened the door further for the scrambling Wildcard possibilities. Here’s how it ended up…
(in order of ranking)… Stan Koonce, Paul Cormier, Mark Carmichael, Mark Nolan, Dave Fahrmeier, Bob Reivik,
Johnny Harrell, Keith Swan, Dave Seyerle, Tom Caruso, Bruce Hice, Wayne Bedenbaugh, Ed Edmundson, Dave Lange
Jim Furman and Brian Sandall. The Wildcards are; Brian McDowell, Ken Plantin, Dan Engelhaupt and Larry Ervin.
All eyes will be focused on a few things in these 2023 playoffs… Can Stan Koonce complete his dream season with a major victory on Wednesday?... Will Paul Cormier continue his bounce-back?... Does Mark Nolan have a third major in his bag?... Will the “Freight Train” plow a path to the top?... Has this year’s “Dark Horse,” Johnny Harrell, found the victory torch?... Does a “Cinderella” ending await the Wildcards?... McDowell, Plantin, Engelhaupt or Ervin?
Let’ now try to delve into these and other pressing questions with our official PLAYOFF PREVIEW…
The STATracker III/2023 PLAYOFFS Preview-
This year’s playoff round will be played on Wednesday, November 1, 2023. The tee time for the first group out will be 9:00AM… with the “featured” group of Koonce, Cormier, Carmichael and Nolan teeing off at 9:40AM. All groups will be playing from the Red Tees and starting on hole #1, so all play the same game. The winner will be determined by the player’s low net score using 75% of their handicap from the Red Tees. It will be a tough parameter game as players will receive no relief outside the usual. Players will not be able to touch their ball after teeing off, until it is on the green. It will be a “US OPEN” type of atmosphere. Players will have to complete each hole despite their score.
Here’s a look at some background stats to start off our examination…
PLAYER Starts Ind.-Rec/Team-Record Birdies /Eagles H.O./Sandies Pts. Rank
KOONCE 2021 80 2-2-2 12-10-6 38 7 20 518 4
Stan 2022 72 3-3-1 12-6-8 69 25 22 994 2
(Virginia) 2023 77 5-5-1 11-10-6 82 57 20 1470 1
Paul 2022 59 0-2-1 10-7-5 89 7 28 754 5
(New Hamp) 2023 67 2-0-3 7-7-7 88 23 35 1077 2
CARMICHAEL 2021 80 5-1-2 21-8-6 63 2 33 28 1149 1
Mark 2022 76 4-3-3 12-11-12 76 23 42 1178 1
(Indiana) 2023 76 0-3-5 18-7-7 58 1 22 35 1043 3
NOLAN 2021 60 1-1-0 10-8-5 8 9 3 269 15
Mark 2022 35 1-0-0 3-6-9 2 5 2 145 34
(New Jersey) 2023 66 2-0-1 13-10-7 22 17 9 526 6
(Maryland) 2023 77 0-1-1 5-10-8 51 10 12 495 7
REIVIK 2021 26 0-0-2 2-4-2 2 3 3 113 29
Bob 2022 76 2-1-2 15-12-7 16 1 7 6 325 16
(New York) 2023 64 5-3-0 8-5-11 16 13 12 471 8
(North Carolina) 2023 65 1-3-2 11-10-4 24 6 21 468 9
SWAN 2021 40 0-1-1 4-6-2 16 8 2 233 18
Keith 2022 73 1-2-0 17-2-8 22 1 18 6 498 10
(New York) 2023 72 1-4-1 12-12-8 20 10 12 438 10
(New Jersey) 2023 67 2-3-2 13-8-9 15 13 8 437 11
CARUSO 2021 77 1-2-4 10-17-6 17 15 4 435 6
Tom 2022 77 5-2-1 8-11-9 27 15 9 503 9
(New York) 2023 77 1-0-1 10-8-13 30 1 12 4 430 12
HICE 2021 46 5-1-0 8-8-2 16 4 0 223 19
Bruce 2022 54 1-5-2 6-3-5 22 5 10 318 18
(Connecticut) 2023 60 2-0-4 11-8-4 12 11 8 395 14
BEDENBAUGH 2021 61 1-0-1 8-9-7 31 7 3 309 11
Wayne 2022 74 0-2-3 9-10-8 41 1* 7 9 451 12
(New York) 2023 81 0-1-0 16-11-8 28 8 9 394 15
Ed 2022 42 2-2-0 6-6-4 1 2 0 89 41
(Iowa) 2023 63 1-4-2 9-10-7 15 13 1 360 15
LANGE 2021 32 0-1-0 4-6-5 4 1 2 80 33
Dave 2022 37 1-3-0 4-3-1 12 3 3 157 30
(Michigan) 2023 58 0-2-0 9-6-6 20 7 11 344 17
FURMAN 2021 69 3-1-1 17-8-9 10 6 6 290 13
Jim 2022 56 4-1-2 9-4-8 15 10 4 335 15
(Virginia) 2023 70 3-3-1 12-7-6 9 13 2 340 18
SANDALL 2021 76 1-2-2 8-12-6 30 12 1 389 10
Brian 2022 77 1-1-0 5-14-4 20 17 12 512 8
(Virginia) 2023 66 2-3-1 8-7-8 11 11 6 339 19
McDOWELL 2021 43 2-4-0 10-7-0 12 6 8 282 14
Brian 2022 36 1-2-2 4-1-2 20 6 2 217 23
(North Carolina) 2023 21 0-2-2 4-1-0 6 3 5 149 29
PLANTIN 2021 18 2-0-0 1-3-1 3 2 1 73 35
Ken 2022 27 1-1-0 4-4-6 3 3 1 105 39
(Vermont) 2023 29 1-0-1 3-5-4 8 8 3 217 24
ENGELHAUPT 2021 50 1-1-1 6-9-6 7 3 1 141 26
Dan 2022 31 2-2-1 1-3-3 6 4 1 128 36
(__) 2023 29 1-4-2 3-2-0 5 3 1 112 31
ERVIN 2021 37 2-0-3 2-4-3 11 2 3 141 27
Larry 2022 35 0-3-1 2-2-1 14 3 2 145 33
(Pennsylvania) 2023 39 2-4-5 4-1-3 13 4 7 243 23
So now that we can examine some hard and fast facts from the above stats, here’s what the “Weekly Report” has to say about each player and their participation in this year’s playoffs… we’ll start with the Wildcards and work our way up the rankings…
LARRY ERVIN- At a healthy 89 years old, the “Man of Inspiration” produced the best year of his STATracker career.
Ervin, known for his fairly exclusive play in only the MGA tourneys and the individual playdates, kept himself close to the mix for a Wildcard playoff spot, and it paid off as he got the call after Friday’s season-ending round. Ervin is quite capable of pulling off an “upset” victory in the playoffs. Ervin achieved 2 individual wins in 2023 so this is definitely in his wheelhouse.
DAN ENGELHAUPT- This player just had the planets align for his 2023 season and his playoff circumstance. First, Engelhaupt concluded the season by winning the last individual tournament. What a great way to enter the playoffs with an individual win against most of the players that he’ll be competing against in the next couple of days. The question is, can Engelhaupt execute the same game that got him that victory and got him into the playoffs with that late season surge. He should have a decent feeling of confidence come Wednesday morning.
KEN PLANTIN- A first time appearance in any playoffs situation, is a tough nut to crack. However, Plantin returned to the field after the summer session and really had some noteworthy play during the closing two months of the season to put him in a position to gain a playoff spot. He got an I-win and several holeouts towards the end. He’ll need to stay steady during his playoff round.
BRIAN McDOWELL- This native North Carolinian, had a strong finish to the 2023 season after returning to the field in the second half of the season. As a result of that strong play, including an unbelievable key sandy in the last MGA tourney back on Oct. 18th that gave McDowell the opportunity to gain a playoff spot with a remarkable comeback fight.
That lone sandy during a tournament where a chance like that would be tough to gain, showed the moxie this player has. That one event could end up being the “shot heard ‘round the world!”
BRIAN SANDALL- Sandall has always been in the playoffs… and apparently that’s something that’s not changing.
After what looked like a season that saw Sandall drop out of the playoff picture, he came up with some timely strong play at the end. His 40 point day a week ago along with a couple of other stray holeouts, made the difference and kept this veteran’s playoff streak alive. Sandall will need to start and finish strong come Wednesday.
JIM FURMAN- The 2022 Masters Champ had to bow out of the 2022 playoffs due to knee surgery last year. He returned this season and started off strong, all the while knowing, the other knee would have to be addressed in the off season. Well, as this season progressed, it became more and more apparent that, that second knee was becoming a factor. As the season entered its final month, Furman fell out of the playoff picture. But because of his earlier strong play, he remained right at that doorstep all during the Fall season. With the 4 withdrawls by eligible playoff players, Furman was in position to gain access to this year’s playoffs for the 3rd year in a row. It will be a challenge for the big guy from the same hometown as his buddy, Stan Koonce, to up his game and keep it there come Wednesday.
DAVE LANGE- The club president makes his first STATracker playoff appearance. He goes into Wednesday’s playoff round coming off a team win in the season finale this past Friday. He also carded a birdie in that round as well, so his confidence should be flying high. Lange experienced his best STATracker season so far, in 2023. It was a dramatic jump in his game. He also was one of the players in the field who turned it up towards the closing weeks of the season. He pushed himself right up to the threshold of the playoff pool and it paid off. Lets see what Mr. Prez can do this week.
ED EDMUNDSON- This second year player from Iowa, is arguably the most improved player in the entire field. Affectionately nicknamed the “Freight Train,” because of how he just kept bringing it on all season long. Edmundson is very capable of pulling off a victory come Wednesday. He’ll have to stay the course if he makes a wayward approach shot. That seems to be that last component of his game to come along. If he’s able to hold those shots to a minimum… LOOK OUT!... cause he’ll be a-whistling into Playoffs trophy station!
WAYNE BEDENBAUGH- Bedenbaugh got very used to winning in 2023. Sixteen trips to the Winners Circle during the season and with most of those wins coming in the last couple of months of the season. He had 3 weeks of 2 wins per week there towards the end. So this upstate New Yorker has things sailing along. One has to remember, Bedenbaugh along with 2 other players was just one stroke off the winning score in last year’s playoff round. This is a dangerous combination coming into this year’s playoffs.
BRUCE HICE- The two-time major winner is poised to make some noise. In 2021, Hice won his first major, the Masters. He had 5 individual wins that year… a record that still has not been broken. In 2022 he almost repeated as Master’s champion. In 2023, Hice gets another major win at the MGA. In fact, he added another 2 individual wins in 2023 as well as having his best season yet. If Hice’s putting is heated up, it’ll be his trophy on Wednesday.
TOM CARUSO- Nicknamed the “Cyclone…” a reference to the famous roller coaster on Coney Island in Brooklyn, NY where Caruso was born. Once again, this season WAS another roller coaster ride for this player. Caruso shares two STATracker records… most individual wins in a season (5) and most holeouts in a round (3). Caruso’s only hope is that his first 3 holes have to be a strong start. He can’t afford to fall from grace on #5. Oh, and what about his “hate-hate” relationship with #18. Can he get his first ever major??... sure it’s possible… but…… Nahhhhh……
DAVE SEYERLE- What a season for this “rookie.” All in all, Seyerle entered the Winners Circle 15 times in his first season. Not only has he easily become accustomed to winning but his “smooth as glass” attitude is just the right ingredient for participating in the most prestigious tournament of the season. Excellent shotmaking to go along with that “calmness,” is what could get it done for this player. Seyerle is part of a trio of “rookies” who have made a historic impact on the field in 2023.
KEITH SWAN- Another player that’s part of the roller coaster brigade. Swan has amazing shot capability off the tee and from the fairway. If he can corral his short game and putting while swinging the big sticks, the Swan Song could have his first major victory. Swan won the inaugural Winners Circle competition and had 13 visits this year. He once again achieved a top ten ranking for the second year in a row. He is very close to achieving something big.
JOHNNY HARRELL- A member of the rookie trio that plowed its way into the 2023 season with a big splash, Harrell comes into this playoff event as, in this writer’s opinion, as the “dark horse” favorite to win the tournament. Harrell won the summer-long match play tournament with the final match up against the very formidable Joe Pillow. That victory right there, cemented Harrell’s place in a favored position for the playoffs. This writer has had a few chances to play with Harrell and… Wow!... he’s got all the components of a great game for a major tournament.
BOB REIVIK- Reivik took his game to another level in 2023. The best season of his STATracker career comes after he missed almost 2 months of the season with a back injury. Reivik became only the 4th player, All-time, to get five individual wins in a season. Reivik also got his first major winning the Broad Creek OPEN, back in September. He brings a good all-around game now out onto the course. He’ll be making his 2nd appearance in the playoffs.
DAVE FAHRMEIER- A slow start to his “rookie” season belied what a powerful player he was to be in the 2023 field.
Fahrmeier has spectacular capabilities off the tee. By his own admittance, his biggest concern is consistency. If his day on Wednesday stays well within his control, the Playoffs trophy will be well within his grasp. His 51 birds in 77 starts is something to watch out for.
MARK NOLAN- The first ever 2-time major winner in a single season. Nolan blew the doors open in the opening months of the 2023 season. No one has ever come close to a grand slam, let alone a season grand slam. While it was not to be, Nolan kind of cruised along all season. His breakout season this year came out of nowhere. He now finds himself in the featured foursome come Wednesday morning. He will have to play lights out under those intimidating circumstances.
MARK CARMICHAEL- This “all-in” player has had quite a run. Scoring more than a 1000 points these last 3 seasons in a row and winning the Broad Creek OPEN two years in row, places Carmichael in a favorite status. The only concern is a recent drop off in his play. He makes his 3rd playoff appearance in a row. He comes in as the Tournaments Champ.
PAUL CORMIER- This no-nonsense player burst onto the scene last May and nearly won it all in last year’s STATracker playoffs. He came up one stroke short of forcing a playoff with eventual winner David Ross, when he missed his putt on #18. If there is any player who has the definitive goods to get this done, its Cormier. He also took a major win back in May in the MGA. He chased down Koonce all season. After rallying his game back in September, Cormier became only the 3rd player to surpass 1000 points in a season. He seems to be ready to get back to business.
STAN KOONCE- Many would agree, that Koonce achieved a “Player of the Year” status after what he got done this past season. Not only did he set a ridiculously high single season points mark, that may never be broken, but he also won the Winners Circle championship with his 5 individual and 11 team wins… including a team win just this past Friday to close out the season. In beyond “icing on the cake,” a win on Wednesday would be monumental. I dare say, there may not be any other player in the field with both the weapons and the drive to win it all come November One.