2013 Season is off and Running!
For the past five years the tournament season has been started with the annual Ice Breaker Open. This year we had the most players ever for the tournament with a total of 110 players representing 15 different tours playing in the season starting 2-day tournament. The tournament was a huge success and the directors of the tournament... could not have been happier with how the tournament turned out. One addition to the Ice Breaker Open this year was the Senior Division. A total of 27 players took part in the senior division. This was a great turnout for the first year having a senior division!
The tournament started off the skins game on Friday. This year the skins game was held at the Robert Cupp course in Palmetto Hall Plantation on Hilton Head Island. A total of 35 players participated in the skins game. Many of the golfers used the skins game as a practice round for the tournament as the championship round was going to be held on the Cupp course that Sunday. All of the players that took part in the skins game walked off the course with nothing but positive comments about the course conditions and the course itself. The Cupp course is an island favorite.
The weather and courses could not have been better for the tournament. Day one of the tournament was held at the Robert Trent Jones course inside Palmetto Dunes. The RTJ course has been on the schedule for the Ice Breaker since it got started. It was the favorite course of Roger Mitterling, who was the mastermind behind this wonderful tournament. Every year, players take a moment on the 11th tee to tip their hat or hit a shot into the ocean in memory of Roger. Roger will always be missed and this tournament will always be held in memory of a great person and a friend.
Day two of the tournament was held at one of the fan favorites; the Robert Cupp course inside Palmetto Hall Plantation. This course is a very challenging course that can lead to big numbers if you aren’t careful, especially off the tee. If you were solid enough to put your ball in the right spot off the tee, putting was your next challenge. The greens at the Cupp course are very different than those of the Jones course. A lot of break and a drastic speed difference made this Championship Sunday round an interesting one.
When the dust was settled and all 110 players were finished playing, there were a lot of happy players. The championship flight saw one of the best displays of golf of the weekend. With 15 players playing in the Championship flight (0-3.9), the competition was tight. In the end it was 14 year old; yes you read that correctly, 14 year old Davis Shore taking home the top prize. Davis shot a very impressive 76-77=153 to claim the top spot over Jody Clary who went 77-78=155 and Bill Hall 73-82=155. Davis came to the tournament from the East Tennessee tour. Davis has been playing golf since he was 3 years old and won his first junior golf tournament at the age of seven. He has over 30 junior golf tournament wins and is carrying a +2.6 handicap right now. Needless to say, this kid is good and will be a force to reckon with as the year progresses. Congratulations Davis and good luck the rest of the season!
The A flight (4.0-8.9) say a great turnout as well with 18 players competing for the top spots. Mark Ducker came into the Ice Breaker as the defending champion. Mark shot an impressive 160 total last year to claim the top spot. This year Mark wanted to make sure that everyone knew last year wasn’t a fluke and that he was the man to beat. Mark, representing the Charleston Tour, again shot an impressive 160 two day total to claim the top spot by 3 strokes over Jimmy Turner (163) and Wade Porter (163). Mark is building up a nice collection of big time trophies. Will he be able to three-peat in 2014 or will someone step up and take Mark down? I guess we will have to wait and see.
The biggest flight of the tournament was the B flight (9.0-3.9) with 31 players. It was a great turnout and display of golf for the Hilton Head Tour in the B flight. The top four spots in the B flight all came out of the Hilton Head-Savannah Tour. Winning it all was newcomer Mitchell Hammock who shot a solid, consistent two day total of 161 (80-81). Coming in behind Mitchell was Rick Mannell (167) followed by Ricky Futch (168) and Radek Klauda (169). Absolutely great golf by the host tour! Congrats Mitchell and the B flight for the Hilton Head-Savannah Tour is going to be a very competitive flight this year!
With 23 players competing in the C flight (14.0-18.9), it was set up for an epic battle! James Mercer made the trip all the way from Columbus, Ohio to take part in this tournament. It paid off for him as he was able to fire an 86-89=175 to capture the tournament win! James won by four strokes over Dustin Wheeler (179) and five strokes over Todd Saylor (180) and Lee Sanders (180). James was very excited about the win and could not stop smiling the entire afternoon. Congratulations James and good luck in Columbus this year!
The D flight (19.0+) consisted of 15 players and what was thought of as a competitive flight, turned out to be a runaway win for one player. Dennis Harris of the Charleston Tour started the tournament with an impressive 88 on the Jones course and never looked back. His Sunday round of 91 secured him a 14 stroke win over fellow Charleston Tour member Reggie Simmons. Rounding out the top three was Timothy Riordan of the Upstate Tour.
As mentioned earlier, this year the Ice Breaker Open featured a senior division. In the Championship flight Doug Savage claimed the top spot by firing an amazing 72-74=146. The A flight was won by Hilton Head-Savannah Tour member Howard Tomlinson who went 85-82=167 to edge out Greg Ferguson by one stroke. The B flight saw Mitchell Hammock become a double winner with his 161 total score. The C flight also saw a double winner in James Mercer from the Columbus tour.
Now that the tournament is over and we have time to reflect on the season opener, we can see that there was a lot of fun, smiling faces and trophies handed out that weekend. A total of $6400 in Visa Gift Cards were handed out, $2990 in skins money and $1060 in Closest to the Pin money. A total of $10,490 was handed out over the two day tournament! That’s not counting the 9 trophies! What a great weekend.
Congratulations to all the tournament winners. We wish everyone a great and successful season in their respective tours. We hope to see everyone back in 2014 for the Ice Breaker Open!