by Rick Langenberg:
The PGA Tour may have the FedEx Cup, and a $10 million grand prize, but the Shining Mountain Golf Club in Woodland Park sports the infamous Triple Crown Cup, courtesy of the Triple Crown Casinos. The Shining Mountain (SM) Men’s Club recently completed its highly competitive tour with a grand finale tourney, featuring a battle among the top point-earners (similar in format to the FedEx Cup). And following a grueling finish, Brian Gustafson emerged as the season winner, edging past Frank Gundy by a mere half-point. He received the coveted and impressive Triple Crown Cup. Nope, the season-long championship may not compare with the FedEx Cup, which featured its grand finale in Atlanta last week (with Brandt Snedeker snagging the Cup and final playoff tournament), but it’s definitely close in grandiose style with a showdown among the top links players in the royal Teller/Ute Pass golf kingdom.
While Gustafson snagged the Cup, the final Triple Crown tourney and the top cash prize of $500 went to Joe Neal. Three other finishers shared the second place prize, worth $300. As for other highly competitive SM tournaments, Rick Langenberg won the popular Match Play Club Championship, based on a series of elimination-style matches, played throughout the summer (similar in format to the U.S. Amateur). He edged past Gustafson in the finals by a 3-2 margin.
Langenberg attributed his win to an inspiring rules and etiquette seminar he attended earlier this year by Shining Mountain General Manager and head links cheerleader Jodie Hale. But one of the surprising dark horse finishers in the Match Play tournament was Butch Graham, who overcame a crippling neck injury and made it to the semi-finals, before bowing to Gustafson. Graham credited a new form of liquid medicine for his stellar finish and Ben Hogan-like comeback. In earlier tournaments, Brian Clifford shocked many players and the Shining Mountain pro shop staff by displaying a links form that rivaled Europe’s Rory McIlroy by winning the difficult 36-hole Stroke Play Club Championship (the Men’s Club version of the U.S. Open) in convincing fashion. The scores he recorded (all in the low 70s) set a new record for stroke play finesse. According to reports we have received from top sources, Clifford is now working on perfecting a Northern Ireland accent and changing his hair style.
Neal, meanwhile, won the top net honors for the Stroke Play Championship. Also, Don Rosen and Bill Nein swept the top honors in the Member-Member, two-ball tournament. Nein credits their victory to his outspoken fondness for liberal politicians and journalists. And Rosen’s team cleared the charts in the popular Member-Guest tourney, along with a great performance by the team of Frank Gundy. Rosen recorded an impressive sub-80 second-day performance that led their team to the gold title. The participation in all events was outstanding, thanks to the generosity of the Triple Crown Casinos and the inspiration of Jodie Hale. Also, the course conditions were outstanding. In fact, next year if current competitive trends continue, spectator charges may be assessed. Top Shining Mountain Winners Triple Crown Cup
– Brian Gustafson Triple Crown Championship Tourney
– Joe Neal Match Play Club Championship
– Rick Langenberg Stroke Play Club Championship
– Brian Clifford Member-Guest
— Team of Don Rosen Member-Member
— Don Rosen and Bill Nein