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2023 USCA Florida Regional GC Championship

Johnny Mitchell - TD | Published on 1/26/2023
Florida Golf Croquet Regional
January 26-29, 2023
National Croquet Center

Golf Croquet has been making a huge impact on croquet over the past couple of years and this year’s Florida Golf Croquet Regional is no exception. With a field of 64 players, the 2023 event is the largest Florida GC Regional thus far. With such a large field, one can only expect a few problems and this was no exception. With one withdrawal two days before the start, the TD scrambling to find a replacement. Then there were another three withdrawals the day before. With scheduling problems on the horizon, help was on the way and major kudos have to go out to Nancy Sansalone for helping fill those spots.


The issues didn’t stop there. On the first morning a couple of championship players came and lobbied  for untimed games. After discussions and appeals being made to management, the schedule was revised to allow untimed games for the championship flight. Additionally, the semifinals and the finals in championship were made the best of three. Once that was sorted out, it was time for the games to begin.


The tournament began with doubles, which were designed to be completed in one day. Doubles were divided into two flights and there were several closely contested games in each. Each flight was a knockout ladder with the losing teams in the first round of play dropping into a consolation ladder guaranteeing each team at least two games before being eliminated. Teams were seeded according to their combined grades. In First Flight, after battling their way through the ladder, it was the third seed Kendall & Laura Hendrick and the fourth seed Bruce Hindin and Neill Trimble that met in the finals with Hindin/Trimble coming out on top with a close 7-6 win. Neil happened to be one of the substitute players when Bruce’s partner fell ill just prior to the start. I think Bruce was happy with the result. In Championship Flight it was the top seeded father and son team of David and Kyle Maloof vs second seed Ahab Dincer and Tamer Hatata in the finals. If you don’t know, Ahab is the brother of Sherif Abdelwahab who was the pro at the NCC and a champion in his own right. Because of the untimed best of three, play had to be moved under the lights to court three. Both semifinals and finals went to three games which resulted in a very long day that finally finished at 9:00pm with the Maloofs coming out on top.


Singles began on Friday with three flights of blocks of eight. Ahab Dincer had to withdraw before play began as a result of an injured wrist from the previous days play. Since each block only played 6 of the 7 other players the other players in his block were able to get 6 games in by playing the game that they would not have played if Ahad had played.


In Second Flight, Larry Lynch, Scott Spoerl, Ryan Eberlein, and Robert Smothers all went through block play with only one loss. In each block the top four players would make it to the playoff ladder and the difference between the top four second flight players was very close making for a very competitive flight. In the end, Larry Lynch and Scott Spoerl reached the final game with Scott coming out on top in an impressive 7-2 victory.


First Flight was just as competitive with Bruce Hindin, Kendall Hendrick, and Steve Tasker all coming out of block with just one loss. Ladder play was close with several hard fought games with the exception of Scott Spoerl who won the semifinals in a 7-2 victory over his wife Jan and then another 7-2 win in the finals over Larry Lynch.


Championship Flight had a number of top ranked players and that was evident in their play. With some amazing clearing shots and difficult hoop shots, there was little doubt that this was a true championship flight. Jim Jamison was impressive being the only undefeated player in block play in any flight while David Maloof, Jim Teel, Billy Harper, Alex Galasso, Kent Lovvorn, and Brian Lozano made it through block with only one loss. The competition was fierce with many action-packed games but in the end, it was the Maloofs in the finals. Proof that the branch doesn’t fall far from the tree. David, who has been a strong competitor for many years, taught his son Kyle well. Maybe too well as Kyle bested his father in two games 7-5, 7-2.


In the end it was a good event with competitive play. Out of 192 singles block games only two didn’t go to 7 points. The fervor for golf croquet is evident in the large turnout of players and the intensity of play. It is safe to say that golf croquet is here to stay and all the players were already looking towards the next tournament. Thanks to everyone who lent a helping hand to make this event the success that it was and thanks to Bill Simmons, the Florida RVP.


Johnny Mitchell - TD


Championship Singles
1 Kyle Maloof
2 David Maloof
3 Billy Harper
3 Brian Lozano
5 Jim Jamison
5 Kent Lovvorn
5 Rick Zazueta
5 Jim Teel
9 Debbie Davidoff
9 Marc Stearns
9 Jim Podraza
9 Tamer Hatata
9 Billie Ray
9 Alex Galasso
9 Jeff Morrison
9 Dennis Leddy
17 James Creasey
17 Hal Denton
17 Bo Prillaman
17 Steve Jackson
21 John Warlick
21 Helen Covington
21 Cami Russack
21 Leo McBride
21 John Wight
26 Dallas Denny
26 Sandra Knuth
26 Gary Gamble
26 Tate Russack
30 David McCoy
30 Amr Hamdy
DNF Ahab Dincer

First Flight Singles
1 Steve Tasker
2 Bruce Hindin
3 Devin Burress
3 Kendall Hedndrick
5 Kathie Gamble
5 Barbara Jamison
5 Laura Hendrick
5 Sam Collins
9 Bill Simmons
9 Linda Bjorklund
9 Caryl Firth
9 Earle Mauldin
13 Anne Carr
13 John Joseph
15 Susie Day
DNF Priscilla Flowers

Second Flight Singles
1 Scott Spoerl
2 Larry Lynch
3 Ryan Eberlein
3 Jan Spoerl
5 Jennifer Joseph
5 Susu Day
5 David Scott
5 Robert Smothers
9 Nancy Sansalone
9 John Grout
11 Lynn Foley
11 Jim Sansalone
13 Gay Cinque
13 Bob Smith
15 Whitney Miller
15 Jim Forbes

Championship Doubles
1 David Maloof & Kyle Maloof
2 Ahab Dincer & Tamer Hatata
3 Brian Lozano & Rick Zazueta
3 Kent Lovvorn & Dallas Denny
5 Jim Jamison & Billie Ray
5 Leo McBride & John Warlick
5 Helen Covington & Marc Stearns
5 Jim Teel & Gary Gamble
9 Bo Prillaman & Jim Podraza
10 Sandra Knuth & Devin Burress
11 Amr Hamdy & James Creasey
11 Alex Galasso & Priscilla Flowers
13 Debbie Davidoff & Earle Mauldin
13 Dennis Leddy & John Wight
13 Billy Harper & Bill Simmons
13 David McCoy & Hal Denton

First Flight Doubles
1 Bruce Hindin & Neill Trimble
2 Kendall Hendrick & Laura Hendrick
3 Jeff Morrison & Steve Jackson
3 Linda Bjorklund & Kathie Gamble
5 Susie Day & Susu Day
5 Jim Sansalone & Nancy Sansalone
5 Jane Granduski & Jane Smith
5 Sam Collins & Ryan Eberlein
9 Larry Lynch & John Grout
10 Caryl Firth & Barbara Jamison
11 Scott Spoerl & Jan Spoerl
11 Tate Russack & Cami Russack
13 Gay Cinque & David Scott
13 Steve Tasker & Whitney Miller
13 John Joseph & Jennifer Joseph
13 Jim Forbes & Robert Smothers