In what has become a typically tumultuous first weekend of Hoffman Cup play, some great story lines have emerged, while some old standbys reasserted themselves. Here are a few details (team versus team scores are in 2018 Results).
In Group A, Arcola CC reminded us all that they are a highly skilled set of golfers. The defending champs fought off both the Bedens Brook C and Bayonne GC to capture wins. Upper Montclair CC is next up for the defending champs, and still has the chance to upset the Arcola applecart.
Group B is really interesting. Top seed Plainfield CC knew it was a tough crowd, but few expected Mountain Ridge CC to provide the heckling. MRCC, a team that has never been to the Hoffman Cup playoffs tied the 2017 runners up, then beat a confident, strong Fairmount CC squad. There are some make-up points to be had in this group, with Echo Lake CC and Plainfield still to play. This group is officially in the air, but Mountain Ridge is already up in the catbird seat.
#3 seed Rumson CC is behind the steering wheel in Group C, with two quality wins over Ridgewood CC and Essex County CC. On Sunday, a tie between Ridgewood and Hackensack GC further strengthened Rumson's lead, but the NJ Shore team -- now in only its third Hoffman Cup season -- is poised to enter the playoffs.
Two heavyweights, top-seeded Knickerbocker CC and always-dangerous Baltusrol GC are due to go toe-to-toe on Saturday for the Group D title, both having earned wins over always-solid Spring Lake GC and newcomer Somerset Hills CC. SHCC lost both days by the closest of margins (6.5 to 5.5) to the Baltusrol and Knickerbocker teams, who must feel like they have been introduced to a strong left hook.
Speaking of perennial horses, Black Oak GC is racing through Group E like they are at Churchill Downs. The Long Valley team has already accumulated 22 points against Roxiticus GC and Montclair GC. Still, they have to get past an always dangerous Metedeconk National GC on Saturday to capture the group.
Mendham GTC has quietly become one of the elite teams in the Hoffman Cup, and is showing it again in Group F, with consecutive 8-4 wins over Essex Fells CC and Trump National GC. Even this solid play is not going to be enough if they can't put away pesky Spring Brook CC, a wildly unpredictable team that has a penchant for beating the Hoffman Cup's best squads. This match on Saturday will be fun to watch.
Surprising third-seed Manasquan River GC is playing as in days of old and is in the top position in Group G, having dispatched both 2017 playoff team Morris County GC and Hamilton Farm GC. It'll be up to Alpine CC to play the spoiler on Saturday.
Another relatively new team from the Shore has taken Group H by the neck. Sophomore squad Hollywood GC has accumulated 18 points so far in wins over #1 seed Navesink CC and a tough-to-beat Rockaway River CC squad. That said, they still must get by the wily veterans on Canoe Brook CC's team next weekend to get into the playoffs. Should be interesting!
Be sure not to assume the obvious will happen on the road to the playoffs. There's bound to be some fascinating turns next weekend.
|When: Sat, Apr 21; Sun, Apr 22; Sat, Apr 28||When: Saturday, May 5th||When: Saturday, May 12th|
|Who: Your club vs. the other three clubs in your Group||Who: Each of the eight Group winners||Who: The four semifinalist match winners|
|Where: Each day, two matches at home, two matches away||Where: Two matches home, two away; same as Intragroup Matches||Where: Plainfield Country Club|
|Format: Two-man better ball, match play, Nassau point system.||Format: Winner of Group A plays winner of Group H, B vs. G, C vs. F, and D vs. E; same format / scoring as Intragroup Matches. New: Sudden death tie breaker.||Format: For each club, four two-man teams; better ball, medal play; all four scores count. New: Sudden death tie breaker.|