Wildcat Creek Golf Club was led to its third straight Liberty Cup by Josh Kinney, 3-under 67; Luke Pitcher, 2-under 68,; and Nick Irish, even par at 70.

Wildcat finished with 502 points using the Stableford Scoring System. For the first time in 12 years, two teams tied for second: Kokomo County Club (KCC) and Chippendale with 485 points. The American Legion posted 466.

As is always the case with the Liberty Cup, certain holes make or break a team’s score. The Wildcat men were able to play pretty consistent posting 428 points to outpace KCC by 29 and Chippendale by 30.

Chippendale had trouble on holes three and four, and in fact, didn’t play the front nine all that well, trailing Wildcat by 33 and KCC by 18. Chippendale “won” the back nine with 250 edging Wildcat by six. KCC was just the opposite. KCC was only down five after the front but stumbled on the back with hole 18 being the biggest problem.

Both women’s groups of Chippendale and KCC outperformed Wildcat, Chippendale with an 87 and KCC 86 versus Wildcat’s 74. The American Legion’s ladies were the bright spot for the hosts, posting a women’s high total of 90, led by Ann Marie Balsbaugh’s even round of 70. Wildcat’s Julie Wagner was the closest to Balsbaugh with a 77.

KCC and Chippendale tie for second

For the first time in 12 years, we had a tie. KCC and Chippy tied for second with 485.

The playoff format was one man and one woman from each team with both scores counting. KCC went with Brock Miller and Diane Pfeifer. Chippendale went with Ryan Rossi and Chris Lalonde.

Playing the 190-yard par three, Miller hit first with his shot going slightly long, just over the green. Chippendale’s Rozzi pulled his shot far left nearly going into the creek.

The women teed off from down below at 151 yards. Pfeifer hit her shot over the back of the green similar to Miller. Lalonde sent her shot about 15 yards right of the green. Rozzi’s second shot went past the pin and left him about 30 feet right of the pin. Lalonde’s second shot came up short leaving her about 10 feet. Miller hit his shot about three feet short coming down the hill.

After consulting with Miller, Pfeifer rolled her putt past the pin less than three feet away. Lalonde missed her par putt and made bogey. Rozzi 3-putted for double bogey. Miller 2-putted for bogey, and Pfeifer plunged the dagger into Chippendale’s hopes when she made par, giving KCC a playoff win for second.

Outstanding individual highlights

When you bring 80 of the best golfers in Howard County together, there are going to be some fantastic shots. Nikki Lalonde of Chippendale posted a Liberty Cup first when she eagled the par-4 first hole. Lalonde used a driver to reach the green, 230 yards away. She then made her 4.5-foot putt for eagle.

Chippendale’s Patty Parrott was the only lady to birdie number 10, and the American Legion’s Ann Marie Balsbaugh birdied 13. She also drove the green on eight and 2-putted for birdie. Sources told us Balsbaugh played on Saturday in an outing and drove eight again but this time made the putt for eagle. For the first time, we added a closest-to-the-pin contest. Number six was the ladies’ hole, and Wildcat’s Christy Trent was the winner. We should also recognize Balsbaugh for setting a record for Liberty Cup women by shooting an even par 70.

The men also provided some exciting moments. In addition to Wildcat’s Kinney, Pitcher, and Irish shooting par or better, Sean VerLee captured a skin on 11 with his eagle 3. Chippendale’s men showed how they tied for second with Eric Tuchscherer shooting an even par 70 and being the only guy to eagle numbers seven and 16. Mike Parker and Justin Palmer got in the skin game with birdies on six and 18 respectively. The men’s closest-to-the-pin hole was the 170-yard number 17, and Chippy’s Jerry Graber was the winner. One other player shot even par, and that was the American Legion’s Collin Irish whose brother, Nick, also shot 70.

The weather held off, the cheeseburgers were great, and the beverages were cold. We should give the Legion’s Benny Wisher kudos for having the course in great shape, Steven Tucker for handling scorecards and rules sheets, Brad “Spike” Nicholson and Gwenn Eldridge for handling the scoring, and, of course, Legion Head Pro Bob Balsbaugh for helping with the whole event.

Next year, we’ll return to Chippendale. Mark your calendars and put in your time-off requests for Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. Until then, try and keep it in bounds.