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Sowa Memorial Golf Outing

Sowa Memorial Golf Outing a rousing success

A picture-perfect late afternoon turned into an even better evening as 52 golfers, divided into 13 four-person teams, did battle on the Beaver Island Golf Course on August 4th in the First Annual Jerry Sowa Memorial Golf Outing sponsored by the Port of St. James Association.

Warm temperatures, calm conditions, and a well-groomed course which benefited greatly from recent rains, combined to make this inaugural event as good as it could be — a fitting tribute to honor the memory of Jerry Sowa, a man who always tried to be as good as he could be.

“Jerry was on the Board of Directors of PJSA,” said event coordinator Buck Ridgeway. “But more than that, he was a member of Beaver Island.

“In thinking of a way to honor him, I knew this was the best way to go. And look how great the conditions are. I think Jerry is watching over us.”

Once again it was the team built around former PGA pro Larry Roy that took top honors, carding an impressive five-under-par 30. While all local golfers know Larry’s game is rock-solid, it was his 13-year-old son Patrick who starred this day as his drive on the par-three fourth hole proved to be the closest to the pin of the entire field. In addition to his $25 share of the winners $100 first-place prize, Patrick added $52 for his fourth-hole feat.

Helping the Roys to collect six birdies on their way to first place were Bob Simpson and Elwood Baker.

The winning team was presented with a plaque by Jerry’s wife, Shirley. Once their names are engraved, the plaque will be displayed at the BICG clubhouse.

Claiming the second-place prize of $60 with a respectable three-under-par 32 were Ron Wojan, Jeff Powers, Bill Detwiler, and Charlie Green.

Two teams tied for third at two-under-par 33. The crew of Mike and Jeremy Sowa, Joel Meintsma, and John Robert walked away with the $40 third-place winnings after claiming a one-stroke, sudden-victory win with a fine birdie on hole number one against the team of Rob Latimer, Mike Smith, Johnny Runberg, and Frank Solle.

In a great show of support for this event, the varied field included two all-women teams, one split fifty-fifty, and one with three men and one woman, as well as the family team of Jeff Mestelle and his three elementary-aged stepchildren, Gus, McCauley, and Ireland. “It wasn’t fair,” Jeff complained afterwards in his ever-so-quiet voice. “According to the rules we could only use three of Ireland’s drives.”

Ridgeway, somewhat of a course regular, further acknowledged the support for this event when he stated, “There were people here I’ve never seen on the course.”

Given the great turnout for this year’s Outing, Ridgeway said next year the field would be expanded to include a few more teams.

As the final cars departed the course in the setting summer sun, Ridgeway capped it all by saying, “It was just a fabulous day.”


Sowa Memorial Golf Outing

Par for the Course

This year’s Jerry Sowa Memorial Golf Outing on August 3 required a 10th hole to decide the winner, as the team of Larry and Patrick Roy, Bill Detwiler, and Charlie Green, along with the team of Ron Wojan, Joe Williams, Fred Rhem, and Bill Hirschey each finished the first nine holes with identical and impressive four-under-par rounds of 31.

This year’s playoff format featured a rotation through each team’s lineup with the twist that once a player’s shot was used, he or she was done until the other three players had accounted for a shot. More strategy. Golfers are like that.

While Green gave team Roy great position with a long, straight drive to open the playoff on hole #1, it was 14-year-old Patrick Roy who capped the outcome, putting his 70-yard second shot right on the pin. Wojan and Williams gave great efforts in chipping from just off the green in trying to match the near-gimmie winning birdie, but it wasn't to be and team Roy, who last year won the event while teaming with Bob Simpson and Elwood Baker, claimed half a repeat.

Another good sign for local golf was that eight of the 11 teams entered in this year’s event shot rounds under par. No surprises came in the individual prizes, however, as Ryan Smith claimed the mens longest drive, and Marieanne Brown the women’s. Larry Roy was closest to the pin on the par-three fourth hole, and Ron Wojan was closest on the par-three sixth.

A great lunch followed a great day of golf in memory of one of the Island’s strongest golf advocates, as again Ridgeway organized a terrific event, John Works provided a terrific venue, and Carolyn Works prepared a terrific meal. Terrific? Golf is like that.
Now the fall league is in progress and we have months, yes, months, of golf ahead of us before the joys of winter take over. There's no time like the present— I think I'll go golfing.


Sowa Memorial Golf Outing

Sowa repeat, sort of.

This year, play started under threatening conditions that temporarily turned to rain, thunder, and some far-off lightning. Yet play was hardly disrupted, and the determined field of 14 four-person teams persevered through the weather and around the course.

And again, as play on the Island seems to continually improve, a playoff was required to determine this year’s winners. Finishing the regulation holes at 5-under-par 30 were the team of Larry Laurain, Joe Williams, Jim McElwain, and Joe’s son-in-law Rocky O’Sullivan, and the crew of Larry and Patrick Roy, Neal Boyle, and Mike Bailey (this team carded an actual 28, but had a two-stroke handicap due to Larry’s high playing level). This time two holes were required before a champion could be crowned, although even then it was only by mere inches as Laurain and Williams each narrowly missed a long birdie attempt on the second green in order to match the Roy team’s score.

The team of Lars and Doris Larson, Nel Worsfold, and Glen Wagner finished third at 32 while a number of teams came in at 34.

In a first for this event, Jeff Mestelle won the Short-Game Contest which consisted of a chip to the green from 30 yards out and then a putt. Closest to the hole after those two shots was the winner, with Mestelle finishing just 3.5 inches away. Larry Roy was second at 8.25 inches.

A wonderful meal was provided by Carolyn Works, and various prizes were awarded afterwards. A special thanks goes to Shirley Sowa and Lois Stipp for all their work in making this memorial event a great outing.

And now, even as the season begins slowing down, there are still events happening and much golf to be played. Don’t miss out any longer. Fall is a great time to begin golfing.

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