Coto de Caza, Meadowlark win 2016 SCGA Team Play Championship
After months of play and more than 100 teams in each division, Coto de Caza G&RC and Meadowlark GC emerged victorious Sunday in the 2016 SCGA Team Play Finals, held at The River Course at the Alisal. One of the most popular SCGA programs, Team Play includes more than 245 clubs and 8,000 participants each year. Teams advance through regular season action as well as playoffs to reach the finals, where they compete in both singles matches and a best ball competition to crown the eventual champion.
In the Thursday Division, Coto de Caza, playing in its first ever finals, beat out four-time winner Antelope Valley 27-21 to claim its first Team Play Championship. Led by Team Captain Rick Contrucci, who was able to win his own singles match and secure two points for his team, Coto de Caza secured the win when Yen Shan sunk a putt on the 17th hole. What followed was a celebration for the ages, as most of Coto de Caza's team was already surrounding the green. Cheers, fist pumps, high fives and celebratory drinking commenced, as the team from Orange County enjoyed its first victory.
"Oh my god," said Karl Webber, who has been a member of Coto de Caza's Team Play squad since 1991. "I've been doing this for more than 20 years and to win is just exhilarating. This is the best group of guys I've ever played with, they are truly stupendous."
Leading the way for the Thursday champions were the duos of Brian Madden/Karl Webber, Jay Skenderian/Paul Guziak and Shan/Stuart Peck, which all secured six points each for their squad.
En route to the finals, Coto de Caza defeated 2014 Champions Red Hill CC in the quarterfinals, and easily beat Canyon Crest GC in the semifinals. In all, the winners beat out 108 clubs that competed this season.
"It's the most unbelievable experience, said Contrucci, after receiving a victory ice bath over his head from the rest of his team. "It's everything we planned on and fought for all year. We've had the greatest damn time we could possibly imagine. We're a team, we're a brotherhood. These are the greatest guys you'll ever meet. We'll do anything we can for one another and always have our partner's back. We play to win and always win as a team."
In the Saturday Division, Meadowlark GC dominated El Camino CC, which was making its first finals appearance. Meadowlark won by the score of 31-17, securing victory with a number of players still out on the course.
"I didn't want to know where we stood at first," said playing Captain Sean Barbosa. "But around hole 9 I asked an asst. captain and heard we were in the lead."
Meadowlark, whose victory was the club's first since 2004, was led by the pairings of Gary Wells/Richard Eaton and Joe Stafford/Alan Zimmer, who both swept their potential points. But it was a total team effort from Meadowlark, which received points from every pairings on the course.
"It was more than just these 16 guys though," said Barbosa. "We had 39 guys qualify for team play this year, which was great because it gave me some flexibility but tough because it meant a lot of people couldn't play. I said from the beginning that the best 16 guys would be here today and they are. It was a great team victory."
To reach its first finals in 12 years, Meadowlark defeated Burbank Men's GC in the quarterfinals and Sundale CC in the semifinals. A total of 123 teams participated in the SCGA's Saturday Team Play division in 2016.