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Sunnydale duo capture Pebble Beach Pairs golf tourney
Special to the Record
Greg Koster and Sandy Watt, both members of Sunnydale Golf Course, travelled to Pebble Beach, California the week before Christmas to compete in the 11th Annual Pebble Beach Pairs Tournament, an exclusive event that attracts competitive golfers from all over North America, all expenses paid.
Both players faced a long road to reach the iconic Pebble Beach links on the Pacific Ocean. First, they had to win a local qualifying tournament at Sunnydale which is a yearly event run by the Men’s Club. A victory there qualified them for a two-day tournament in early October at Crown Isle to compete against 40 other teams, each representing their home clubs from every province west of Ontario.
Sponsored by Inside Golf, a popular Canadian golf magazine, this tournament was played as a handicap event. Greg and Sandy are such accomplished golfers, their low handicaps meant they had the fewest shots to work with in the field. Nevertheless, the pair forged on, playing through terrible weather the first day to eventually tie for the lead on their final hole, thanks to a net eagle by Watt. (one of the three holes Watt had a shot on — Koster actually had to add a shot to his score!) Enduring excruciating pressure, Watt and Koster finally prevailed on the fifth playoff to win the event. The next step was to book their flights to Pebble Beach, Dec. 20-22.
Under blue skies and windless conditions, the pair tuned up with a round at the famous Spy Glass Golf Club located on the Carmel Peninsula. The first round of the tournament was at Pebble Beach, and Watt and Koster’s combined score left them at even par, three shots off the lead.
The event in Pebble Beach differed from the Crown Isle event in that it had both a gross and net division which favoured the Sunnydale team. On the Sunday morning, they teed it up on The Links Golf Course for their final round. As Watt said, “We ham and egged around the course – Greg had a great day but when he had a lapse, that just happened to be the time I played a great hole.”
The result was a combined gross score of three under and a two-shot victory for the tournament. Both men agreed that playing this tournament was an unforgettable golfing experience. “Having now played Spy Glass and Pebble beach and walked where several U.S. Opens have dramatically unfolded, I have a deeper appreciation of just how good PGA pros really are,” said Koster.
The pair vow to defend their title next year, but first they have to win the local qualifier at Sunnydale—and several members there will have something to say about that!