The members of Port Huron Elks now need every finger on a hand to count how many consecutive Inter Club Tournament titles they have won.
The Elks had seven golfers sweep up three points in their individual match play rounds at St. Clair Golf Club to win the tournament with a three-day total of 81 points. St. Clair Golf Club, who was trailing Port Huron Golf Club by 14 points heading into Sunday, came in second with 68½points. Port Huron, who entered the day in first place by four points, came in third with 66½ points.
“We’re all a lot of grinders,” Ted Ernst of Elks said. “The guys have been here before and coming from behind doesn’t surprise me. To play that well coming into a course we are not familiar with was a big deal.”
St. Clair’s comeback into second place happened thanks to nine golfers sweeping three points from their opponents. Mike McHugh, who swept Tim Phipps of Elks, said he truly believed his team could make a run at the top coming into the final day.
“We just knew today we had no margin for error,” McHugh said. “Every point counted, (and) we dug ourselves a hole. We had to go deep today, and we did. We played good.”
Teeing off in the first group, Bobby McKillop started the day with a bang for Elks, taking 2½
“Being one of the first guys out, you always want to get as much points as you can,” McKillop said. “Dieter and I had a tight match, a couple of swing holes here and there … I was fortunate to take 2½ points today.”
As Scott Rich of St. Clair wrote the scores on the leaderboard, golfers and fans were anxiously counting the totals in their heads as each group came in. After six groups came in, the scoreboard read Port Huron and Elks tied at 52 with St. Clair sitting with 42 points. The scores remained close for the better part of the afternoon, but the gap was clear once all but four matches were done.
Scoring for Elks in their championship win was Dan Croteau 2½-½ against Port Huron’s Floyd Bouchner; Don Allen 3-0 against St. Clair’s Gary Streitz; Dave Goodrich 2½-½ against St. Clair’s Mark McIntosh; Mike Wilton 2½-½nan; Mike Sloan 3-0 against Port Huron’s Doug Hinton; Bill Rogers 3-0 against Port Huron’s Ross Green; Bob Thiele 2½½ against St. Clair’s Kevin Gilbert; Jeff Perkins 3-0 against Port Huron’s Scott Worden.
St. Clair’s point getters were Tommy Catalpo 3-0 against Port Huron’s Steven Albert; Ed Nadolski 2-1 against Elks’ Ted Ernst; Dan DiCristofaro 2½-½
Port Huron’s scorers were Dan Pink 2½½ against St. Clair’s Pat Walsh; Dave KOZ 2½-½ against St. Clair’s Doug O’Rourke; Bob Funk 2-1 against Elks’s Ron Badley; Mike Basha 3-0 against Elks’ Mark Howard; Kyle Lawrence 3-0 against St. Clair’s Chet Skrzypek; Whitey Larson 2-1 against Elks’ Doug Flemming; Jerry Grace 2½-½ against Elks’ Jerry Goodwin; Scott Shigley 21/2-1/2 over St. Clair’s Gary Ignasiak.
Port Huron’s Tyler Laws tied Elks’ Mike Bush; St. Clair’s Mike Bark tied with Elks’ Jim Livingston; Port Huron’s Tom Jackson tied with Elks’ Jim Heinbuck. Elks’ Otto Graham tied with St. Clair’s Bob Baden.
Friends turn to foes
Mike Bush and Tyler Laws have known each since they were six years old, but on Sunday they shared one new moment — playing against each other on the final day of the Inter Club tournament.
After Saturday’s round at Port Huron Golf Club, the two predicted the final pairing would be somewhat of a “dogfight.” It turns out they were spot-on, as they were one of four pairings to tie their back-and-forth match in the final round.
Accustomed to talking and joking with each other through the round, this air was a tad quieter on Sunday.
“With him going up two (holes) on me, it got really quiet really quick,” Laws said.
Their round showcased action that could only be rivaled with a TV drama. Bush had a chip-in on the 14th hole, and Laws thought he lost his ball on the following hole to lock up the match in Bush’s favor. Laws not only ended up finding the ball, but also saved a par to keep him in the match.
“If I didn’t find that ball, it’s over. Period,” Laws said. “The hole would have been his, and it would have been over no matter how (the round) finished up.”
While this was the first time the two have butted heads on the golf course, this isn’t the first time the two have been opponents — just last time they squared off it was in a chillier setting.
When Laws graduated from Port Huron Northern in 2003, he elected to go to Oswego State in New York to play hockey. When Bush graduated from the same high school in 2004, he went to play hockey at conference foe Fredonia State.
After that many years of competition with and against each other, the two know how to handle business on the course when trying to steal points from one another.
“After the round you know you’ll have a beer together,” Bush said. “But when you’re on the course you don’t want to say the wrong thing and you stay quiet.”