2019 USCA Golf Croquet Eights
April 11–14, National Croquet Center, West Palm Beach, Florida
For complete scores see the croquetscores.com listing for the tournament.
The third annual USCA Golf Croquet “8s” had it all this year. The warm Florida weather and fast courts at the NCC provided the setting for players who traveled from across the country to compete. Players were divided into three groups and featured a wide range of players from seasoned world-class veterans and talented youth, to first-time tournament players.
The GC8s is comprised of four solid days of head-to-head match play with no knockout. Winners are determined by overall matches won and net games in their respective groups.
The first group of eight had a few unexpected twists and turns and it wasn’t certain until the final hoop was scored as to who would emerge on top and where the others would land in the overall standings.
Along the way, 12-year old phenom Blake Fields of Mission Hills, California displayed his fearless sharp-shooting to take down 5 of the 7 players in his group including impressive wins over the top two players, Mohammad Kamal and Macey White. It wasn’t until both Leo McBride (7-6, 6-7, 7-6) and Matt Griffith (7-5, 7-6) each secured close wins over B. Fields that the final playoff for 1st and 2nd place was determined to be the match between Kamal and White.
The final match was highlighted by spectacular long-distance clearing shots, impressive hoop shots, precise placement, and clever tactics. White continued to do what he had done all tournament, i.e., to quietly and steadily dismantle his opponent Kamal and capture the title with a 7-5, 3-7, 7-2 victory.
The second group of players was evenly matched throughout with many games being decided on the 13th hoop. William “Bo” Prillaman was able to hold on to win the second group by the narrowest of margins edging out Gil Flowers by one net game in the overall results. Interestingly, Bo’s only loss in the tournament was to Flowers, but it was Flower’s loss in two games to Donna Dixon that gave Prillaman the opening he needed.
The third group of contenders played a double round robin format where each player played their opponent in two separate single game matches. For several of the players it was an introduction to the sanctioned tournament scene, and they rose to the occasion securing wins to flame their passion for the sport. Priscilla Flowers proved to be the cream of the crop going undefeated in all eight of her games to take home top honors.
—Cheryl Bromley, T.D.