Of the four clubs left standing after the Semis in the 2018 Red Hoffman Cup Matches, Arcola CC was viewed by many as a clear favorite. Not only were they the defending champions, the Paramus club had a "murderers row" of a lineup, averaging an under-scratch average handicap index and a raft of trophies from 2017 events. Well, the favorite won it, but not without some anxiety right to the end.
Arcola scored an impressive, 7-under 281 at near-perfect Plainfield CC, holding back three-time champ Baltusrol GC, which came in with a solid 284. The DCs took advantage of the new rule requiring all four scores to count by turning in three par-or-better scores. Arcola's consistency, led by Captain Brian Celiberti and newcomer Xavier Dailly's 69, was the winning recipe.
The low round of the event rested with Roger Hoit and Ryan Fountaine of Baltusrol, with a brilliant 67. On a course that had been subject to a deluge in the morning, but that still sported incredibly fast greens, their 5-under round left folks talking to themselves.
Third place went to Manasquan River GC, a club that returned to the Final Four for the first time in a few years. While generally considered a young team, it was the "mature" duos of Mike Stamberger / Chris Farren and Tom Hassel / Captain Chris Dymek that led the teams, with 70s, and a total of 291. It's good to see MRGC back in the saddle!
Rumson CC, playing in the Finals in just its third year, came away with plenty to be pleased about. Jack Skirkanich and Brett Flynn teamed for an impressive 68 to lead their team to a 294 total. Expect Rumson to take take the court at more than a few future Hoffman Cup Final Fours.
One of the winners of the 2018 Hoffman Cup Finals was Plainfield CC, in many ways. We did our best to honor a former member of PCC, legendary sportswriter and our namesake, Red Hoffman, and were pleased that his daughters Lisa and Loren were able to join us.
Despite an ugly, pouring morning, the course responded with extraordinary conditioning. The emphasis that the PCC Green Committee and Superintendent, Travis Pauley, placed on effective drainage showed, with invariably great lies and fast, fast greens. Very impressive.
PCC Director of Golf Scott Paris continued the great support of the Hoffman Cup that he started in 2006, when PCC joined the event. He and his staff -- particularly First Assistant Scott Golden -- went out of their way to make the Hoffman Cup Final Four a success.
PCC has been an key member of the Hoffman Cup all along . . . in so many ways, thank you!
Final Four scoring details are in 2018 Competition Results, above.