VALENCIA, Calif. (Dec. 9, 2014) -- Bear Creek Country Club (Murrieta) captured the California Scratch League Championship today at Valencia CC, beating out Northern California's Turlock Country Club by two points.
Longtime AmateurGolf.com member David Ober is a member of Bear Creek Country Club and their Scratch League Team. He provided us with this account of the season that led to the title match:
The season was a blast. "Scratch League" this year was, once again, really cool. We breezed through league play undefeated, winning every match we played by a large margin. Dove Canyon, always one of the top teams in the state, had a tough time at our place and then was unable to hold us off at home, and we pretty much sealed it with a victory there.
The regular season saw us play thirteen different players over the four different matches, which is a testament to our depth. Even playing thirteen different players, the highest index on our team in any given week was less than 1.0.
The playoffs were a different story. At the Industry Hills "Babe" course, we tied Woodland Hills in regular play and had to go to a playoff to secure victory, with Bob Erling making a clutch birdie on the first playoff hole and Rick Taniguchi holing a ten-footer to make bogey after hitting his tee ball OB. They held off multiple USGA contestants Corby Segal and Michael Turner from Woodland Hills in the playoff. Amazing.
In the finals at a tipped-out and difficult "Big Valencia," (playing even more difficult than usual due to soggy conditions and long, wet rough from recent heavy rains), we were able to outlast Turlock CC due to steady play the entire team. Bob Erling, playing in the number one spot, gave the team a huge boost early when he went from last in points on the 18th tee to second in points with a two-putt par. Finishing second in his foursome meant he got five points for the team instead of just the one he would have gotten for last in his foursome. Such is the unpredictable nature of the "16-point" format.
I was able to get 7 points to edge out Chris Wood from Spanish Hills, and Iain Macdonald also got 7 points in his hard-fought foursome. Macdonald chipped in on the 18th hole for par to secure his 7 points. Without that chip-in by Macdonald, we would have tied Turlock and been forced into another playoff.
Macdonald, usually an emotional rock, came off the 18th green a bit misty-eyed after his chip-in to secure 7 points in his foursome. He felt like he was about to let the team down and instead he dug down deep and chipped in from the rough. Nice to see that a 10-time USGA contestant cared that much about Scratch League.
ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA SCRATCH LEAGUE
The Scratch League is a season-long series of team matches, all played at scratch as the name implies.