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  • Tom Caruso

Sept MGA Update


2023-HARBOUR CUP/STATracker Week-23 Highlights

(thru: 8/4/2023… 59-rounds)


The 2023 race for the HARBOUR CUP, completed its 23rd week of play.

Here are some notable Week-23 highlights…

***HICE SETS NEW RECORD WITH DOUBLES***

VILLANOVA GETS 1st I-WIN, REIVIK GETS 3rd ~ KOONCE COOLS ~ CORMIER SCORES TRIFECTA

Rain played a role once again during this 2023 season as Friday’s round had to called off in week-23.


Two-time major winner and Masters champion, BRUCE HICE set a new STATracker record in Monday’s round when he finished his round with 2 holeouts and 2 sandies. Including a 2nd place team finish, Hice ended up with 52 points for the day. That catapulted Hice into a playoff position at the #15 spot. Hice has never missed the playoffs but he had been lingering well outside that playoff pool for most of this season. Well… that changed in a hurry with his record-setting round.


In Wednesday’s MGA individual playdate round, it was BOB REIVIK and GUS VILLANOVA getting the I-wins in their respective flights. In the case of Reivik, it was his third I-win of the season. Only one other player has been able to get three I-wins this season so far…Stan Koonce. Reivik shot a blistering 67 to edge out runner-up DAVE SEYERLE by one stroke. Reivik made the playoffs last year for the first time and is solidly on track to do it again as he now sits in the #12 spot in the Combined standings. For Villanova, it’s the second week in a row that the big guy from New Jersey, has scored a double holeout round. It has all paid off as Villanova, who has never made the playoffs, has now jumped up the the #17 spot in the C-standings, just 5 points out of 16th place where JIM FURMAN resides in that last playoff position. Villanova is enjoying his best season this year.


It was an oddball week for the #1 ranked player, STAN KOONCE as he scored but just one point for his week-23 (1-x-x) Koonce was out of the lineup on Wednesday and was rained out on Friday.


With that, #2 PAUL CORMIER, made up some more ground on the top spot as he had a big day on Monday that included a holeout and a sandy during the round, finishing with 37 points for his week (31-6-x). In fact, Cormier hit the “trifecta” in Monday’s round getting points for birdies, holeouts and sandies. Cormier had recently trailed Koonce by nearly 100 points now sits just 29 points behind the frontrunner. As we begin the sixth month of the season, this pennant race remains to close to call.


Elsewhere… ahead of the big MGA tourney this Wednesday, CHARLIE HENKE, one of the MGA’s founders, had one of his best days this season as he scored both a holeout and a sandy in Wednesday’s round. Henke played in only the one round last week and had 25 points for the week (x-25-x).


Speaking of the big tourney coming up this Wednesday, while it is not one of the majors it is considered by STATracker as a “mini-major.” Triple points will be awarded for the 1st, 2nd & 3rd place finishers. It will be an individual Stableford format for the Founders Cup tournament. Many eyes will be on the big-time major winners… Hice, Nolan and Carmichael, to see how they fare. Also two other players to watch will be Koonce and Reivik. Both players have the most I-wins this season thus far.


2023-HARBOUR CUP/STATracker Week-24 Highlights

(thru: 8/11/2023… 62-rounds)


The 2023 race for the HARBOUR CUP, completed its 24th week of play.

Here are some notable Week-24 highlights…

***FURMAN, CARUSO WIN FOUNDERS CUP***

MULLHALL, CARUSO SCORE EAGLES- KOONCE MOVES PAST 900- CORMIER SUSTAINS BACK INJURY

The annual MGA Founders Cup tournament originally scheduled back in July, but got rained out, was rescheduled for this past Wednesday, and it was a go. In fact, Week-24 completed all three rounds.


In Wednesday’s Founders Cup competition, it was the Michigan Grinder, JIM FURMAN, winning his flight by 3 strokes over runner-up's Stan Koonce and Dave Lange. For Furman, it was his 2nd I-win of the season and his 9th all-time. He has now tied Mark Carmichael on the all-time Winners Circle list with the most I-wins. Furman, the 2nd most winningest player in the field caught up to Mark Nolan for this season’s Winners Circle competition. Furman, still recovering from knee surgery, has had a “quiet” season, but put together a rock steady round to secure his victory. In the Gold flight, it was the guy from Brooklyn, the Cyclone Roller Coaster, TOM CARUSO, getting his first I-win of the season.


He sank a 6 foot putt on his final hole of the day to save bogey and get that last point to edge out the runner-up's Carmichael and MacDowell, by one stroke. Caruso had a good warm up round on Monday when he scored his first career eagle on #2. His approach shot from 153 yards landed 16 feet from the upfront pin. He then sank the twisty putt. Caruso finished the week with 63 points (21-33-9).


SEAN MULHALL, last year’s MGA champ, got his first career STATracker eagle on Friday, when he cranked his 110 yard approach shot on #1, from the left rough using a 7-wood, onto the green and then it rolled over to the hole and in! With that 30 point holeout shot for eagle, Mulhall had a career best week with 57 points (6-18-33).


Speaking of points, Mark Carmichael, has snuck back onto the Harbour Cup radar screen after he pounded out a 93 point week (2-52-39), one of the best ever on record. After a slow start on Monday, the 2-time Harbour Cup champ blew things wide open on Founders Day, narrowly missing a victory there and then finishing the week on Friday with a double-sandy round with a holeout to boot. The #3 ranked Carmichael now sits just 142 points from 1st place with 2 ½ months to go in the season.


In those Combined standings, STAN KOONCE, with his 35 point week (0-20-15), pushed past the 900 points mark, landing at 931 for now. Last year, Koonce was on a quest to become only the second player in history to reach 1000 points, but fell just short. The Virginian has now put himself in easy striking distance of that achievement. Chasing Koonce down for that top spot in the C-standings, #2 ranked PAUL CORMIER had an unfortunate week when he sustained a back injury. He did not play on Monday. He gave it a valiant attempt on Wednesday, in the Founders Day tourney, but barely was able to finish. He was also then out of the lineup on Friday. I did catch up with him on the practice green after Friday’s round and he indicated he would be ready to play this Wednesday. We wish him all the best.

On Monday, 89 year old LARRY ERVIN blew past his age when he carded a round of 82!!!

Also beating their ages last week… BOB GILLHAM (twice), SEAN MULHALL (twice).



2023-HARBOUR CUP/STATracker Week-25 Highlights

(thru: 8/18/2023… 64-rounds)


The 2023 race for the HARBOUR CUP, completed its 25th week of play.

Here are some notable Week-25 highlights…

***THE WEATHER & THE FURNACE HEAT UP***

AIUTO, MULHALL GET 1st I-WINS ~ The COMET APPROACHES LIGHT SPEED ~ ERVIN DOES IT AGAIN

For the first time in STATracker history, one of Week-25’s rounds was cancelled due to the heat!!


On Monday, JOE PILLOW, director of operations for the Bald Eagles, made the call to cancel with a 110 degree heat index due to kick in right in the middle of the scheduled round. It was the right call as it became quite brutal out on the course later that morning. With that in mind, and only 2 rounds completed in Week-25, lets get to what did happen last week…

FRANK AIUTO and SEAN MULHALL each got their first I-wins of the season when things resumed on Wednesday, in the MGA playdate round. For Aiuto, he got his win with a one stroke victory over the hot-handed runner-up, Joe Pillow. Aiuto had a steady round and got only one birdie on the day.


In the case of Mulhall, his win had to come by way of a playoff over the other current hot player in the field, JIM FURMAN. Mulhall also, just played a rock steady round. He put up no big numbers, just one birdie on the day. And speaking of the “Furman Furnace…”

Furman narrowly missed securing his 10th career I-win with that playoff loss to Mulhall, but by Friday’s round, he still had the fires stoked. He helped lead his team to a first place finish giving him the lead over Mark Nolan, in the Winners Circle competition. Furman had a 40 point week (x-19-21).


It was Furman’s second trip to the W.C. in the last 9 days.

The KOONCE COMET continues to scream on down its flight path towards history. Koonce entered Friday’s round just 29 points shy of becoming only the 2nd player in STATracker history, to reach 1000 points in a season. He did get 25 points in Friday’s round, coming up just short and building up the anticipation for the inevitable which will most likely occur in the very near future. Koonce stacked up 65 points for his two rounds last week (x-40-25). With PAUL CORMIER still dealing with some serious health concerns, the streaking ball of Koonce cosmic golf dust, is picking up speed.


LARRY ERVIN did it again for the 2nd week in a row. The 89 year old “Man-of-Inspiration” blew past his age on Wednesday, firing an 84 in the MGA playdate round. It was a good for a 5-way tie for 3rd place. Ervin also scored a H.O. and a birdie leading to a 21 point day.

MGA founder, C.A. SMITH also beat his age. The 84 year old scored an 82 on Wednesday and had a 24 point day to boot, which included 2 birds and a H.O. He was also part of the 5-way tie for 3rd place.


Friday’s Bald Eagles team event saw not only Furman getting to the Winners Circle but also on his team that day was KEITH SWAN, last year’s WC champ, BOB REIVIK, and TIM WELCH who is also lighting things up in the WC competition.

This coming week will feature the MGA’s 10th tourney of the season. MARK CARMICHAEL has quietly built up a formidable lead in the Tournaments standings, entering this week’s proceedings.


He’s currently in a good position to defend his inaugural title of Tournaments champ from last year.


2023-HARBOUR CUP/STATracker Week-26 Highlights

(thru: 8/25/2023… 67-rounds)

The 2023 race for the HARBOUR CUP, completed its 26th week of play.

Here are some notable Week-26 highlights…

***PILLOW GETS 2nd EAGLE, KOONCE CRACKS 1000***

SEYERLE HITS WINNERS CIRCLE TWICE ~ CARMICHAEL TAKES LARGE LEAD IN TOURNEY STANDINGS

All three rounds in Week-26 were completed.

JOE PILLOW took a walk on the wild side in Friday’s round as he spent some time in golf’s “aviary.”


First, Pillow scored his 2nd eagle of the season on #12. His tee shot went slightly into the woods on the left side, but he recovered well with a solid out shot from that position that landed in the middle of the fairway just 2 yards shy of the 150 stake. With a decent headwind and a back pin placement, Pillow launched his approach shot from 164 yards away with his 3 wood. It was a dead-straight shot heading right for the flag. From the fairway, his team that day couldn’t see the final result. When they all got to the green, his ball was not anywhere to be found, until they checked the cup. It was a 30 point shot for the #4 ranked player. Pillow followed that party up with a birdie on #13! He finished with a 76 gross score for the day. With the playoffs now just a couple of months away, the former inaugural STATracker Playoffs champ has his game on the uptick.


STAN KOONCE became only the second player to reach 1000 points in a STATracker season when his birdie putt attempt on the #5 par-4, found the cup. It was his second birdie in a row and it was the one that sent him over the 1000 mark. His 40 foot birdie putt came after he nailed a 240 yard approach shot on the course’s most difficult hole. After scoring no points in Monday’s round, Koonce revved it up for the rest of the week. The record breaker occurred during Wednesday’s MGA tournament, and then on Friday, the #1 ranked player had a 3 holeout round along with a sandy, to top off his historic week (0-22-55). Those 3 holeouts tied a record for most holeouts in a round.


Rookie sensation DAVE SEYERLE had everyone buzzing on Friday morning before the start of round. He had hit the Winners Circle in Monday’s and Wednesday’s rounds. If he could do it with his team just one more time, that too, would set a new record. He and his team scored very well, in fact their final score is usually a winning number. But as the other teams reached the clubhouse, it was not to be. However, with his two T-wins this week, Seyerle finds himself in 2nd place in the WC standings just one point behind the current leader, JIM FURMAN. Seyerle has a 1-12 record after week-26. That’s 1 individual win (I-win) and 12 team wins (T-win) for 14 points, for those of you keeping score at home.


MARK CARMICHAEL had a strong showing in Wednesday’s MGA tournament round. He has quietly opened up a substantial lead in the Tournament standings after a 27 point round in the tourney.


There are just 4 MGA tournaments remaining on the schedule for the 2023 STATracker season and he currently enjoys a hefty 68 point lead. Carmichael will certainly be in the playoffs again this year and could take the Tournaments champion title again. In addition, the 2-time Broad Creek OPEN champ will attempt to defend that title next month in the season’s final major.


It is official… #2 ranked PAUL CORMIER, will have to stay out of the lineup for the next couple of weeks, on orders from his doctor, due to on-going back and neck issues. We will eagerly await his return.

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