For the second straight season the duo of Mick Smith and Craig Czerniejewski was able to run the table and win the WPGA Four-Ball Match Play. This year’s competition featured a little less work for the winning squad, as a delayed start and smaller bracket was formulated due to Covid-19. That work though featured some equally impressive victories on their way to the finals. Throughout the summer they were able to take down quality teams such as Eddie Terasa/Larry Tiziani, Erik Stenseth/Evan Wartgow and Michael Crowley/Steve Fischer. The three wins would set up a final match against John Gaschke and Ryan Helminen.
With the weather starting to turn and the golf season fading away the two teams teed it up on Saturday, October 24 at West Bend CC. On a day where temperatures would hover around 40 degrees, the four players would quickly make their own heat via their golf games. During the first eight holes of the match each team would grab a 1up lead, but only to have it negated just one hole later. Through those first eight holes the teams would put up a combined seven birdies.
Then starting on the long par-4 9th the match would turn in Smith and Czerniejewski’s favor. Between the two players they would put up five birdies over the next seven holes. It was a combination of great ball striking and clutch putting. The birdies would end up being too much for Gaschke and Helminen to overcome, and result in a 4&3 win for Smith and Czerniejewski.
A big thank you goes out to Harris Golf Cars, Sun Mountain and the PGA Tour for their support of the championship.
A familiar face would find his way back on the champion’s trophy of WPGA Assistant Professional Match Play in 2020. Seven years after his first title, Evan Wartgow would once again navigate his way through the bracket to be the last man standing.
With the Assistant Professional Stroke Play being cancelled due to Covid-19, the bracket would end up being formulated through a qualifying round at the Hornung’s Classic. In addition to a different way to qualify, the field would also be reduced to sixteen players.
The Koshkonong Mounds Country Club assistant professional would start off his quest for the match play title by claiming the third seed. Then over the course of the summer months he would earn wins over Michael Higgins, Ryan Zonski and Joaquin Diaz. The wins would propel him into the finals, where he would meet Blake Jens.
On Thursday, October 1 the two players would meet at Nakoma Golf Club to determine the victor. It would be one of those days where both players would be searching for their game. As they searched they battled, and slowly Jens would build up a lead. The Pleasant View Golf Course assistant professional would take advantage of two birdies on the back nine to grab a 3up lead. First after no. 11, and once again after no. 15.
As Jens looked to close out the match, the momentum would quickly shift to Wartgow. He would play the final three holes at 1-under-par and win each one. The stretch would force extra holes. After matching pars on no. 1, Wartgow would step up and knock it to two feet on the long par-3 2nd. The tee shot would produce a birdie and a win in 20 holes.
The WPGA would like to thank OMEGA watches for their support of this year’s Assistant Professional Match Play.
Throughout the short history of the WPGA Senior Match Play the event has only known one champion. For a third year in a row Blue Mound G&CC Director of Instruction, Jim Schuman, would capture the title. The continuation of the impressive undefeated run took place with a twenty-six player bracket this year.
After receiving a first round bye, the Madison native would then run off a series of wins over John Wallrich, Chris VanPietersom, and his foe from last year’s final, Charlie Brown. The run of wins would lead Schuman into the finals versus Kurt Mantyla.
The final match brought the two competitors together at Meadowbrook CC in Racine on Monday, September 28. From the start Schuman’s solid play became the theme of the match. Getting underway on hole no. 10, he jumped out to a quick 3up lead after four holes of play. The lead would hold steady as he produced an even-par scorecard after ten holes. With a margin to play with the 57-year-old would then post birdies on two of the next four holes. The final of which would come on the par-4 5th, delivering him a 5&4 win.
For Schuman it would mark the third straight year where he captured both the WPGA Senior Stroke Play and Match Play Championships.
The WPGA would like to thank OMEGA watches for their support of this year’s Senior Match Play.