First Time Winner Highlights Matterhorn International Pro-Am
26 Sep 2017 at 13:17 | Published by: PatPenguin | Views: 2290 | News search
L to R: Jonah Hurley, Pat Sheridan, Autumn Sutherland, The Highlighter, Justin Seymour. (Photo by Matterhorn Mini Golf)
As the sounds of the Alps echoed across the course on an unseasonably warm September day in Canton, Connecticut, one shining beacon of a player grabbed the lead of the professional division of the Matterhorn International Pro-Am and never looked back. Mark “The Highlighter” Novicki came out of the morning three rounds with a 1 stroke lead, shooting a 120 for the three rounds. He would keep or tie the lead for the rest of the tournament over the field of 19. The tournament was played at Matterhorn Mini Golf, which is a Swiss themed course where all the holes are designed to tie to some aspect of Switzerland from the Matterhorn, to Toblerone to the fabled Swiss banking system. » Final Results - Amateur
The professional division of the Pro-Am played three rounds of minigolf in the morning, followed by re-pairing for a fourth round after lunch and then a re-pairing and a final fifth round. The amateur division of the Pro-Am played three rounds in the morning. As the day moved on the temperatures would move into the upper-80s and with little shade on the course the professional division turned into a competition of both putting and endurance.
In the amateur division the competition was tight as 15 putters vied for the top 4 “paying” spots. In the end, Steven Langlois would win by 1 stroke with a 129. The action was so tight that both 2nd place and 4th place had to be determined by a playoff, with only 2 strokes separating 4th place from 1st place. In the 4th place playoff, Brian Hogan would prevail over Mickey Davis in 3 holes. In the 2nd place playoff, Daniel Erickson would also prevail after 3 holes over Matthew Liles.
In the professional division, the action, and the temperatures, would heat up in the afternoon as the top four spots were only separated by 3 strokes. One of the surprising bits of the tournament was 11 year-old Jonah Hurley who was in second place, just one stroke off the lead, after the morning rounds. The Highlighter, who earned his nickname at the 2015 U.S. Open after he started donning bright clothes to tournaments, had this to say of Jonah, “We played before during a warm up round and I was really impressed. He definitely has a future in the game. I told him good luck and to bring his A-game and boy did he as he matched my low of 38.”
With some of the lowest scores of the day posted, The Highlighter and Jonah would keep their positions as Justin Seymour picked up a stroke and went into the final round tied for first. Pat Sheridan put together a round of 37 in the fourth round to move into fourth place and round out the final foursome of the day.
“I felt like this was the last chance I had and lucky for me this was my favorite because it was a basic straight with a slight right to left at the end,” commented The Highlighter. “I placed my ball down and took a second to calm myself. Took one last look at the hole, took my swing and as soon as I made contact with my ball I knew that was it. Perfect speed and it just felt good and as a result I knew it would soon be the game winning ace.”
The pressure would ease a bit as Jonah took a 4 on the next hole but Justin was still close to the top as the final two holes loomed. A clean 17th hole meant it all came down to the long 18th hole, which given its length and tight putting lines was normally a three for most players. The Highlighter calmly played his tee shot as a layup and then approached with a strong shot leaving a one-foot putt for the three and finishing with a 198. This meant Justin would need to sink a deuce of the tie. He gave it his best run, leaving the second shot mere inches from the hole and sealing the Highlighter’s first tournament win. For his efforts, The Highlighter would win $500, a Germanic style hat, a trophy and neon green Chromax World Minigolf Sport Federation approved ball. His name would also be engraved on the trophy to remain at Matterhorn.
The Highlighter had this to say about his win, “The experience was one I’ll never forget, almost like a first Superbowl win. Going into the day with zero sleep I felt like it was my time I’ve come close in tournaments locally and have done well in the U.S. Opens and Masters tournaments. I felt like all the hard work and hours practicing each hole was going to pay. With this win I feel more confident than ever going into the Masters tournament next month.”
The drama wasn’t over on hole 18 as Jonah as slipped some in the final round and Pat caught up to force a tie for third place, both shooting 203. The playoff was over one the first hole as Pat went around the “Wilhem Tell” apple to leave a short deuce putt and Jonah took the risky move of going through the apple and dropped the shot directly into the hole for the ace and to secure third place. Jonah would also win the day’s contest for most hole-in-ones in the tournament after a three-way tie breaker was played on hole 15.
Pat Sheridan, who also served as the co-tournament director with Mandy Ranslow, had this to say about the tournament, “I was happy with the turnout for both divisions and it led to some great excitement in the final round and the playoffs. The weather was great and the course was in excellent condition and really allow the players to show off their skills.”
Autumn Sutherland, owner of Matterhorn Mini Golf commented that “I was impressed by not only the caliber, but the professionalism of both the amateur and professional fields. I’m looking forward to not only next year's Pro-Am, but being able to continue providing world class mini golf to northwest CT.”
The dates for the 2018 tournament have not been set yet but everyone is looking forward to the second edition of the Pro-Am. For more information you can visit Matterhorn Mini Golf, The Putting Penguin or visit The Putting Penguin Facebook.
» Final Results - Pros