The Red Hoffman Cup Matches crowned a new champion, Arcola Country Club in May. In its first trip to the Finals, Arcola shot an impressive 209 (1-under par) to capture the title over three other strong Finalists: Black Oak Golf Club (213), Baltusrol Golf Club (213) and Plainfield Country Club (216).
It was widely assumed that the Finals would be one of the closest ever, with each team being given a shot at the win. When the first four teams reported in with 70, there was talk of tie breakers and playoffs. But as the scores slowly came in, it became clear that Arcola was firmly in the driver's seat. Paced by the side of Al Costello / Trevor Randolph (68), Arcola posted an even par 70 from Ryan Chin / Mike O'Connell, followed by a 71 from Ryan Fountaine / George Cultraro, Jr. That balance was enough for a four shot win.
Last year's co-medalists, Black Oak's Todd Peluso / Patrick Bosworth, did it again, tieing for low with a brilliant 68. David Glenz returned to his old home club, partnered with Brian Komline, and posted a 71. Black Oak, primed for a three-peat, had to have a 69 to cut Arcola, but needed to count a 74 from John Olsen / Chris Markham. Black Oak's impressive showing in the HCM (two firsts, two seconds in four seasons) still counts as a dynasty in the making. They will surely be back loaded for bear next year.
Baltusrol, likewise, was an impressive squad, featuring players with national-level experience coursing through the team. When Roger Hoit / Dan Feeney shot 70 and Gregg Angelillo / Nick Desai followed suit with a 71, the race was on. One more good score would do it. However, the 72 from Brandon Holden and Randy Riley had to count, leaving them tied for second with Black Oak.
Plainfield had good scores from the sides of Scott Paris / Brett Rosely (70) and Bob Corbett / Keith Handler (72), but needed one solid subpar round to reckon in the final tabulation. They had to settle for a 74 by Mark Gately / Timmy Campbell. This young Plainfield team will only get better with more experience -- it was great to have them in the Finals again!
All this said, all the competitors would probably agree that venerable Morris County Golf Club extracted a pound of flesh for every birdie. The course, honed to perfection in time for Tuesday's kickoff of the New Jersey State Golf Association Amateur Championship, sported perfect fairways, firm greens, and downhill putts that would make Rory and Jordan cringe. The consensus among thie Hoffman Cup competitors -- many of whom will be there -- seemed to be that the State Am would be won over par.
Thank you to Morris County Golf Club, for its impeccable hospitality. Your club and your course were equally impressive!
Finally, thank you to Isabel Gonzales and Brendan Komitus,
recent high school graduates, First Tee veterans, and First Tee of
Raritan Valley college scholarship recipients, who helped out
with the day-of activities. They are great examples of the
quality kids who are participating in The First Tee.
2 -- The number
of scores under par at Morris County Golf Club in the HCM Finals -- by
the strongest field ever in the event.
8 -- The HCM clubs that boast a spot on GolfWorld magazine's "Best Classic Courses."
60 -- The number of
years Arthur K. "Red" Hoffman,
long-time dean of New Jersey golf writers, covered New Jersey golf,
starting with the Newark News right
after five years of service
in WWII. Hoffman wrote more (and came to know more) about
Jersey golf than anyone.
864 -- The number of rounds in April and May played by participants in the 2015 HCM.
$56,000 -- A conservative estimate of the caddie fees that were generated by the 2015 HCM (800 rounds x $70/loop).
$60,000 – In its first four years, the amount generated by our team captains in support of our First Tee Initiative, which donates funds to support New Jerseys' four local First Tee chapters.