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Mona Dye, of Brierwood, and Peter Allen, of St. James Plantation, were repeat winners in The Brunswick Beacon’s Tournament of Champions, played Saturday and Sunday at the Members Course at St. James.
Allen shot a round of 69 on the first day of competition. The seven birdies he carded in that round put him far enough ahead of the field to allow him an eight-stroke victory. He finished with a two-day score of 143 to seal his victory for the second year in a row.
“I played really well on Saturday, despite the wind and wet conditions,” Allen said. “On Sunday, I chunked a few iron shots and had a couple of three-putts, but managed to shoot a 74, which was good enough for the win.”
Before moving here from Michigan, Allen won 21 championships at several clubs. He plays regularly in Senior Amateur, Society of Seniors, GolfWeek Tournaments and Carolina Golf Association events.
Bill Calhoun, of Sandpiper Bay, finished second with 151. Calhoun was the 2006 winner of the Tournament of Champions and has won the Sandpiper Championship for four years in a row.
Richard Curwen, winner of the 2004 Tournament of Champions, finished third with a score of 153. A second-day score of 71 brought him back after a rough start on Saturday with a score of 82.
Chad McCullough, of The Lakes, and Terry Sinay, of Rivers Edge, tied for fourth with 156. This is McCullough’s first entry in the Tournament of Champions.
Terry Sinay has won the Rivers Edge championship for three years in a row.
Mona Dye of Brierwood repeated as champion by shooting 159 (83-76) over the two days of competition on the Members Course at St. James.
“It was a great day of competition and it brought out the best in us,” she said. “I’ve been working on my game for over three weeks now, and I’m glad I put the effort into it, but tomorrow I’m going fishing.”
Dye is an avid golfer and fisher. She has won the Brierwood Club Championship each year since 2006. In 2006, she tied for the Tournament of Champions with Sandy Hulberg, of The Lakes. In 2007, she lost to Dale Calhoon, of Brick Landing, on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff. In 2008, she won the championship outright.
A score of 76, with an even-par 36 on the second nine, sealed Dye’s victory Sunday.
Faye Curry, of St. James, Billie Elwanger, of Farmstead/Meadowlands, and Dale Calhoon, of Brick Landing, fought it out on the last day with several ties and changes of lead during Sunday play.
Final scores showed Curry in second with a total two-day score of 164. Elwanger came in third with a 167 and Calhoon finished fourth with a 171.
“The wind helped dry out the course after nearly a week of rain,” said Anthony Paglieri, head golf professional of the Members Club. “The remnants of Hurricane Ida dropped several inches of rain on the course, but we drained well, and by Saturday the course was playable with a 90-degree rule for carts. We did allow lift-clean-and-place for the competitors on both days.”
In shooting his score of 69 on Saturday, Allen birdied Nos. 1, 2, 6, 7 and 8 on the front nine. On the back nine, he birdied Nos. 12 and 18. He bogeyed four holes and parred the seven others for a sizzling 69.
On Sunday, Allen had three birdies (at 7, 14 and 18) in shooting a 74.
“The only really bad hole I had was No. 1, which was our 10th hole, since we started that day on the back side,” Allen said. “I took a double bogey on that one.”
Terry Sinay and Chad McCullough had identical scores of 81-75 in the two days of competition. Sinay started the second day with a 1-under 35 on his first nine holes of play; McCullough shot an even-par 36 on the same nine.
Pat Schutzman, who has won the club championship at Carolina National for nine years in a row, competed gamely despite having knee surgery only four weeks ago. She managed 45-43 on the second day of competition, when the course conditions were drier.
“I am so happy to be here,” she said. “I’ve only played four times since the surgery. I iced my knee last night and I’ll do the same this evening. It was fun and the two other ladies in my group (Susan Bisceglia, of Rivers Edge, and Alcina Davis, of Brunswick Plantation) had lived or are living in the same area of New York state that I came from. They even played our old golf course. We had a great time getting to know each other.”
Alcina Davis, of Brunswick Plantation, shot a strong 83 on the second day of competition, with a 38 on the back nine. “This is a fabulous tournament,” she said. “Next year, we’ll all be gunning for Mona.”
First-time competitor Art Hahl, of Carolina Shores, a retired police officer, was delighted to be playing in the Tournament of Champions.
“This was an outstanding weekend of golf,” he said. “The course conditions were excellent, the other competitors were great. After being a police officer for all those years, it’s wonderful to be out playing golf and not watching my back to see if someone’s shooting at me. I’m going to work real hard to get into the Tournament of Champions next year.”
All of the competitors praised the conditions of the Members Course, especially the greens.
David Kjome, director of golf at St. James said, “the greens were overseeded with rye a few weeks ago, and we’re very pleased with how they came in. They were fast, probably rolling about a 10 on the stimpmeter during the tournament, but most of the players liked that. We heard a lot of compliments about our course.”
TOP-EIGHT FINISHERS, MEN
1. (143) Peter Allen, St. James; 2. (151) Bill Calhoun, Sandpiper Bay; 3. (153) Richard Curwen; T-4. (156) Chad McCullough, The Lakes; Terry Sinay, Rivers Edge; 6. (157) Mike Verhoosky, Lockwood Folly; 7. (160) Chris Lane, Brierwood; T-8. (161) Dennis Miller, Ocean Ridge; (161) Mike DePauw, Sea Trail.
TOP-EIGHT FINISHERS, WOMEN
1. (159) Mona Dye, Brierwood; 2. (164) Faye Curry, St. James; 3. (167) Billie Elwanger, Farmstead/Meadowlands; 4. (171) Dale Calhoon, Brick Landing; 5. (174) Judy Nicoletti, Sandpiper Bay; 6. (176) Alcina Davis, Brunswick Plantation; 7. (177) Shari Hodson, The Lakes; 8. (180) Karen McClosky, Ocean Ridge
This is the sixth year the Brunswick Beacon has hosted the Tournament of Champions. To be eligible to play, a golfer must have won his or her club champion in stroke or match play without handicap.
Competing clubs were Brick Landing, Brierwood, Brunswick Plantation, Carolina National, Carolina Shores, The Lakes, Lockwood Folly, Meadowlands/Farmstead, Oak Island Club, Ocean Ridge, Rivers Edge, Sandpiper Bay, Sea Trail and St. James Plantation.
Thirteen women and 13 men competed in the Tournament of Champions. Dennis Radke, of Brunswick Plantation, could not play because of a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery. Janet Jacobson, the ladies champion from Sea Trail, could not play because of a prior commitment.
Magnolia Greens did not finish its championship in time to compete in the countywide Tournament of Champions.
ELSA BONSTEIN is a golf columnist for the Beacon. Reach her at email@example.com.