11th Annual United States Golf Teachers Cup®
DOURIS PREVAILS IN 4-HOLE PLAYOFF
Aussie becomes second international winner of
United States Golf Teachers Cup
Nov. 2-3, 2006 • Boulder Creek Golf Club
Boulder City, Nevada
Making perhaps the greatest shot in United States Golf Teachers Cup history, USGTF member James Douris from Noosa, Australia defeated Trinidad & Tobago’s Christopher Richards on the fourth playoff hole to win the 2006 championship, held November 2-3 at Boulder C reek Golf Club in Boulder City, Nevada. Douris becomes the second international champion, following the 2004 title of Canada’s Dave Belling.
Douris’ approach shot on the par-4 third playoff hole found the desert over the green. Faced with needing a difficult up-and-down fro m 90 feet away to keep the playoff going, Douris chipped the ball into the slope, ran it up to five feet, and drained the putt to stay alive. He then parred the fourth playoff hole to capture the championship. Douris and Richards finished 36-hole regulation play tied at 3-under 141.
For Douris, the US Cup re p resented his first professional victory. After shooting a two-round record of 135 in his 2006 USGTF playing ability test, Douris announced his presence at last year’s tourney with a fifth place finish.
2004 champion Belling, from Sarnia, Ontario, wound up third at 71-73 – 144. A disappointing bogey-double bogey finish on 17 and 18 sealed his fate. Five-time and defending champion Mark Harman from Guyton, Georgia, never threatened the second day and finished tied for fifth at 72-73 – 145. Joe Bernat, from Surfside Beach, South Carolina , playing out of the Super Senior division, was also fifth with 71-74 – 145.
Douris, 25, started playing golf at age 14, coming over to the sport from rugby. He played his first tournament when he was 17, and has played a number of tournaments since then. Currently dividing his time between playing and teaching, he expects to land a full-time teaching position in the coming year near his hometown of Noosa, in the state of Queensland on the Sunshine Coast.
As steady as he appeared in the playoff, Douris admitted to a case of nerves as he stood over his five-footer in the playoff to keep his championship hopes alive. “I was nervous because I had been missing putts all day,” he said, “but I knew I was going to make that putt.” As to his dual careers of playing and teaching, Douris said, “I love to do both. I’m looking to find a course where I can teach full-time, as I have a number of students already lined up.”
Belling, playing in the last group with Douris, Richards, and Super Senior William Zachary, was impressed with the level of competition from the start.
“The front nine was a birdie-fest,” said Belling. “The game was on from the first tee shot.” The group made a total of eight birdies on the outgoing nine, while steady play ruled the back nine.
The 140 participants, playing for a record purse of $25,000 in the 11th annual United States Golf Teachers Cup, were nearly unanimous in their praise for the event and for the Boulder Creek course. Set up at 7,072 yards for the Open division, the course played fast, firm, but most importantly, fair. The Boulder Creek staff itself received rave reviews for their courtesy and professionalism.
While the competition itself is important, the true highlight of the week was the opportunity for WGTF members to greet old friends and make new ones. Many participants annually consider the event the highlight to their golfing year. Already, most are looking forward to the 2007 US Cup, to be held in conjunction with the 8th biennial World Golf Teachers Cup.
After consecutive runner-up finishes in 2004 and 2005, Bernat finally captured the Super Senior division with his 1-over-par total of 145. A tough competitor with a smooth but powerful swing, Bernat is the Director of Instruction at Wachesaw Plantation East Golf Course in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina .
Two-time defending Super Senior champion Jerry Moore moved down an age group to play with the “youngsters” in the Senior division, and his winning ways continued. Moore fired scores of 72-75 – 147 to take home $2,800 for his efforts. Last year’s Senior champion Ron Platz started strongly with a 73, but a final round 78 left him in third place behind Carlos DeBarros, who finished second at 75-74 – 149.
Jill Finlan Scally won her second Women’s division title by shooting 79-78 – 157. Scally was formerly a player on the Duramed Future’s Tou r. Florencia DeRolz traveled from Guatemala to finish second at 83 – 80 – 163.
The 2007 US Cup will be held in conjunction with the 8th biennial World Golf Teachers Cup in the Las Vegas area. Full details will be published in the Spring/Summer edition of Golf Teaching Pro. Until then, please visit www.usgtf.com for further information .