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14th Annual United States Golf Teachers Cup®

14th Annual United States Golf Teachers Cup®
DOURIS TAKES THIRD US GOLF TEACHERS CUP CROWN
Nov. 2-3, 2009 • Palmetto Dunes Resort
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

The 14th annual United States Golf Teachers Cup, held November 2-3, 2009, had one of the most dramatic regulation finishes in its history, but, in the end, a familiar winner emerged.

James Douris of Australia captured his third US Cup by defeating Trinidad & Tobago’s Christopher Richards in a two-hole playoff at the Arthur Hills Course at the Palmetto Dunes Resort in Hilton Head, South Carolina, in the 36-hole event.  However, the real fireworks happened during regulation play.  Richards, sitting at even par for the tournament and down two strokes to Douris entering the 18th hole in the final round, saw Douris hit his 50-yard third-shot approach to the par-5 over the green, and then fail to get up-and-down, resulting in a bogey 6.  Richards, a former World Golf Teachers Cup individual champion, had a 12-foot birdie putt to tie and send the tournament into extra holes, which he did, and emphasized it with a couple of fist pumps.

A playoff format unique to the US Cup calls for no sudden death.  Instead, a series of two-hole playoffs would determine the championship.  Both players parred the first hole, a par-4.  On the par-4 second, Richards left his approach shot short of the green while Douris played his to eight feet right of the hole.  Richards played a good pitch shot to tap-in range, but it went for naught as Douris holed his birdie putt to once again emerge as the champion of the United States Golf Teachers Cup.

It was a sense of déjà vu for Douris and Richards, as they previously battled in overtime in the 2006 US Cup in Boulder City, Nevada.  The déjà vu in 2009 was all the more complete, as Douris also got the better of Richards in that 2006 event.

Douris, who did not play in the 2008 tournament, opened with a 69 to tie newcomer Christopher Callihoo of Canada for the first-round lead.  Richards, Matt Smith, and Ted Williams were next at 72, followed by Michael Wolf with a 73.  Given the strength at the top of the leaderboard, no one else had a realistic chance to make a comeback.  Defending champion Jerry Moore, playing out of the Super Senior division, opened with a 76.

The second round became a familiar two-man battle between Douris and Richards in the final group, as the others fell by the wayside.  Douris and Richards battled back and forth the final round, with Douris finally taking a two-stroke edge into the last hole, preceding Richards’ dramatic putt.

Douris and Richards both finished regulation play with -1 scores of 141; Douris on 69-72 and Richards 72-69.  Callihoo finished second at 69-77 – 146, Wolf third at 73-74 – 147, and Smith and 2004 champion Dave Belling tied for fifth at 149.

In the Ladies division, Jeanne Hazelhekke of the Netherlands took home a three-stroke victory over defending champion Melody Robinson with scores of 82-82 – 164.  In the Senior division, Tipo Toomalatai won for the second time in three years by shooting 75-74 – 149, besting Ted Williams by two strokes.  In the Super Senior division, Anthony Benny took down defending overall champion Jerry Moore in a two-hole playoff.  Benny’s accomplishment was all the more remarkable as Moore had won division titles for five consecutive years.  Both players finished with two-round totals of 150.