The 2015 World Hickory Match Play Championship is in the books. Ben Hollerbach of Chamblee, Ga., came through tough competition to earn the 2015 Championship Division title. He is pictured at right, receiving the Champions Trophy from Brian Schuman, event founder and host.
Philadelphia treated us to some magnificent weather for the final day, with cool temperatures in the morning with low humidity, and a nice breezy afternoon with lots of sunshine in the low-70’s.
After five qualifying rounds, the top point leaders were Claus Muehlfeit in the Champions Division and Deal Hudson in the Players Division.
The deep talent level in both divisions led to numerous sudden death playoffs to determine the championship matches.
In the Champions Division, Ben Hollerbach and Jeremy Moe squared off with Hollerbach winning on the first hole, advancing him to the championship match with Muehlfeit.
In the Players Division, Bill Wardwell, Greg Shayka, and Bill Geisler went at it to see who would meet Deal Hudson in the 1st Place match. Wardwell was eliminated after hole 1, and Geisler soon after, allowing Greg Shayka to move on.
The 1st Place match in the Players Division came down to a stymie on 18, when Hudson nestled his birdie putt between the hole and Shayka’s ball, leaving Shayka no option but to try the chip over the opponent’s ball and land in the hole. Stymies are never easy. Shayka missed the try, knocked into Hudson’s ball, and ended the match.
The 3rd Place match went to Bill Wardwell, who continued his steady play and was too much for Bill Geisler, who earned fourth place honors for the second year.
In the Champions Division finals, the 3rd Place match goes to Cliff Martin, who showed outstanding game in the qualifying rounds; besting the defending champion Jeremy Moe, 3 and 2.
The championship match between Muehlfeit and Hollerbach was well played by both gentlemen. Hollerbach’s unerring play was too much for the two-time Swiss Hickory Champion, defeating him 4 and 3.
The championship committee would like to express their heartfelt gratitude to all the competitors who made the trip to Philadelphia to make this championship truly a world-class event. Also, many thanks to the Philadelphia Cricket Club for being such wonderful hosts and providing an absolutely perfect venue for a hickory golf championship.
We look forward to another great event next year in May at the wonderful Philadelphia Cricket Club.
Championship Division – From left: Ben Hollerbach, 1st Place; Claus Muehlfeit (Sweden), Runner Up; Cliff Martin (Los Angeles, Calif.), 3rd Place.
Players Division – From left: Deal Hudson (Fairfax, Va.), 1st Place; Greg Shayka (Marshalls Creek, Pa.), Runner Up; Bill Wardwell (Turners Falls, Mass.), 3rd Place.