Prospector champions Bryan Hottman and Steve Thue. Photos by Carol Thames. (Click photos for larger images.)
By Don Thames
Rancho Murieta CC Golf Pro
To some, a daily horoscope can have meaning in their lives. A forecast of a person’s future, typically including a delineation of character and circumstances based on the relative positions of the stars and planets at the time of a person’s birth can sometimes actually come to pass. Before the second round of the Prospector, Debbie Hottman read Bryan Hottman a short version of his horoscope: “Do your part.” After a lackluster performance on Thursday, Hottman did his part for the rest of the event. He teamed with guest Steve Thue to win the 2017 Prospector. “From there on, Steve and I ham-and-egged it pretty well,” said Hottman.
The champions goal coming into the event was to “Play well enough to make the Derby.” That they did. Twenty teams qualified for the Derby by winning their flights or coming in second. Those 20 teams then went out in two separate heats to narrow the field down to four teams. These four teams would then go on to the 17th hole to play for the Prospector Championship.
Fnalists, from left, are Scott Smith, Mike Smith, Dwight Haldan, Steve Thue, Bryan Hottman and Eric Dutton. (Click photos for larger images.)
Meeting for finals on hole 17 were the teams of Hottman/Thue, Mike Smith/Scott Smith, Eric Dutton/Dwight Haldan and Jack Crawford/Jarvio Grevious. Crawford and Grevious were the first to fall from the finals as they could not get up and down from over the 17th green. The final three teams then proceeded to the 18th tee located on the gold tee box. Dutton and Haldan made a six and in the process locked up third place in the tournament.
Hottman/Thue and the Smith Brothers played the 18th hole to another tie and tried playing off once more for good measure. When that effort ended in a draw, the championship came down to a chip off for the title. All four players would hit a pitch shot and the closest player to the hole would win the Prospector for his team. Steve Thue pitched it up there to just over two feet for the winner for his team to become Prospector Champions.
The Putting Championship final was a wonderful thing to behold. Hunter Rappleye won the event by holing an 85-foot putt. He cashed in handsomely. Chuck Hays qualified with a field-leading five balls and claimed second and third place and actually earned more than Rappleye. Coincidentally, Hays' partner, Rob Schutter, won fourth place as they completely dominated the putting competition as a team.
In a flash, Dwight Haldan enlisted Head Pro Don Thames to putt for him with the proviso that the money would go to charity. As luck would have it, Thames holed the putt. When the committee later decided to disqualify Thames' putt, Haldan said, “OK, I'll write a check of $650 to charity." When that check was left in Thames' pocket and washed in the evening, Haldan said, “Oh…money laundering. I'lll bring you a new check in the morning for $1,000." Not to be outdone, Chuck Hays, after the awards ceremony, announced that he would match Mr. Haldan’s donation of $1,000. Both checks will be sent to Folds of Honor. Folds of Honor is a charity for the children of disabled servicemembers or servicemembers who lost their lives. The money goes to fund the college education of their children.
That particular story was too good to be told by a horoscope. It was just too good.
Dwight Haldan and Eric Dutton. (Click photos for larger images.)
Rob Schutter, Karen Jackson-Hays and Chuck Hays. (Click photo for larger image.)