2011 World Golf Teachers Cup

Location: Orange County National, Orlando, Florida
Individual Champion: James Douris (Australia)
Score: 69-68 = 137
Team Champion: USA

It wasn’t too long ago that James Douris didn’t have a single WGTF title to his name. Starting in 2006, when he won the United States Golf Teachers Cup for the first time, Douris seemingly cannot be contained.

By winning his fourth US Cup title and first World Cup individual championship at the United States and World Golf Teachers Cups at Orange County National in Orlando, Florida, this past October 11-14, Douris has firmly established himself as the WGTF’s best player. In the process, Douris tied Christopher Richards’ two-round record score in winning the World Cup individual title with 69-68 – 137. He has won the last four US Cups in which he’s played (he chose not to defend his titles in 2008 or 2010), and finally broke through with his maiden victory at the World Cup.

He joins Dave Belling, Mark Harman, and Richards as the only ones to win both the US and World Cup individual titles. With Belling and Harman approaching their 50th birthdays in the next couple of years, it appears that Richards and a new generation of WGTF players will have to rise up to challenge the recent domination Douris has pulled off.

Douris wasn’t the only one to win two championships, though. Canada’s Darquise LeDuc swept both Ladies titles at the US and World Cups, as did Walt Abraham in the Legends division. LeDuc was the defending individual champion in the World Cup coming in and is also the reigning Canadian Ladies titlist. Abraham has been a fine player for many years and is a longtime participant in these events.

In the team competition, unlike the previous two events where the outcome was in doubt virtually until the final putt dropped, no such suspense was on hand this year in the six-person team format (counting the five best scores each day). Team USA raced out to a 21-shot lead after the first day over Team Caribbean (representing Trinidad & Tobago), and the only suspense was in which team would finish second. Caribbean held a slim 4-stroke advantage over Canada heading into the final round. Team Canada members Bill Hardwick and Chris Callihoo fired final rounds of 72 and 74, respectively, and Caribbean was unable to match that pace, finishing the two-round event three strokes back.

Team USA was led by Ed Williams, playing out of the Super Senior division, with a 68, followed by Michael Wolf, who opened with a 69 to match Douris for the first round lead in the Championship division. Individually, Jamie Locklear was next with a 72, followed by Richards and Derek Ary with 74. Locklear hung with Douris the final round through nine holes, but a 6 on #1 (their 10th hole of the day) and a 7 on #2 ended his chances, although he still managed a third-place finish. Wolf fired a final-round 74 and captured individual runner-up honors. Williams continued his stellar play with a 70 to win the Super Senior division.

Jim Perez outlasted Tipo Toomalatai and Ron Longoria in a two-hole playoff for World Cup Senior division honors. It was Perez’s second WGTF title, the first being his US Cup Senior division championship in 2009. Hardwick and Moore finished second to Williams in the Super Senior division, with Andy Rosales posting a runner-up finish to Abraham in the Legends division. Ingrid Narken finished in second place in the Ladies division as LeDuc proved too strong the final day.

In the United States Golf Teachers Cup, Douris overcame a first-hole triple bogey to win with 73-69, besting runners-up George Wilson and Matt Smith by two shots. First-round leaders Cole Golden and Stephen Kostoff, both of whom posted 70, struggled the second day and finished back in the pack. In the Ladies division, Leduc bested defending champion Narken by a single shot. In the Senior division, Charun Chungaew defeated runners-up Perez and Jim Grow by two shots. In the Super Senior category, Hardwick’s 139 bested Williams by two strokes. Abraham, just like he would two days later, defeated Rosales for Legends division honors.

In a week full of highlights, perhaps the biggest one came on the second day, the final round of the US Cup. Moore, the 2008 overall United States Golf Teachers Cup champion and winner of six division titles, scored a hole-in-one on the 11th hole at the Panther Lake course. It was no ordinary hole-in-one (if any hole-in-one can be called “ordinary”), because it came on the hole in which the Hyundai Motor Company was sponsoring a Sonata for an ace. Moore later stated that it was difficult to continue playing after that due to the emotion involved, but he did manage to cobble together a third-place finish in the Super Senior division.

Hyundai also sponsored the presentation of IPad 2s to the winner of the US Cup, Douris, and LeDuc, winner of the US Cup Ladies Championship.

Orange County National Golf Club, with two courses, proved a difficult venue for most of the participants. Heavy rains buffeted the course just prior to the events, making the courses playing much longer than their yardages. As a result, it was decided that future US and World Cups held in the United States will be played at much friendlier yardages, which means participants should find an already-enjoyable experience even that much better.

Next year’s US Cup will be held at a longtime USGTF favorite, Boulder Creek Golf Club in Boulder City, Nevada, just outside Las Vegas. At press time, the location and dates for the 2013 World Golf Teachers Cup have yet to be determined.

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