It was the last CGA championship of 2010, but certainly not least.
In fact, though the inaugural CGA Team Interclub Championship didn't include as many elite-level players as most of the association's tournaments do, it had a bigger impact in a couple of respects.
Forty men's club teams from across the state signed up, 65 matches were contested over the course of five months, and 1,560 rounds of golf were played because of the tournament. In addition, with the Interclub being a "net" event, many more typical golfers participated than is the norm for CGA championships.
And in the end, when The Ranch Country Club clinched the 2010 title Saturday by defeating Indian Tree Golf Course, it looked like a mini Ryder Cup, with players from each team -- all with color-coordinated shirts -- surrounding the 18th green as the final matches concluded.
"This is just a great event," said Bill Leone, one of five Ranch players to win two matches in Saturday's finals. "It was so much fun all year long. The matches against other clubs were fun and playing at different courses was fun. It was great competition and great camaraderie. I think everybody should be doing this."
With players ranging in handicap from a plus-1 to an 18, The Ranch rallied to beat Indian Tree 22-14 at CommonGround Golf Course, which is owned and operated by the CGA and CWGA. The victory capped a perfect Team Interclub season for The Ranch, which went 6-0. Indian Tree finished 4-2.
Indian Tree won nine of the first 12 points awarded, but The Ranch came on strong to take the lead and win by an eight-point margin. For the entire Team Interclub, The Ranch outscored its competition 141-75.
"It's quite an honor for The Ranch Country Club," said team member Dave Tarpley (at left in top photo, with Leone). "We knew it was really close when we made the turn and were told it was tied. So we tried to bear down."
Joining Tarpley and Leone in winning both their net singles and net four-ball matches Saturday were Brandon Dingae, Michael Kochevar and Paul Jarosz. Ryan Donofrio, who had the best handicap of any of the competitors Saturday (plus-2), and Don Stoner went undefeated for Indian Tree.
"It's all right; it's just fun," Donofrio said of the final result. "I take it seriously, but for the majority of the guys, I think it's another men's club event."
Indian Tree was missing several of its regulars, who were at an outing in Myrtle Beach, S.C., but The Ranch has been formidable all year no matter the competition.
The Ranch beat Indian Tree in six of 12 net singles matches -- tying another two -- and prevailed in four of six net four-ball matches. A win was worth two points and a tie one. The singles and four-ball matches were contested simultaneously.
The championship match culminated a competition which began in early May. Ten groups of four teams each played a round-robin in May, June and July, with the top team in each group advancing to the playoffs. The single-elimination postseason took place in August and September.
All in all, CGA executive director Ed Mate saw the first official Team Interclub as a rousing success.
"I think it was great," he said as Saturday's competition concluded. "Getting 40 teams to play and having public (Indian Tree) and private (The Ranch) teams in the finals and having it be competitive all worked out well. I can tell just by watching the guys how much fun they're having. We couldn't be happier. Hopefully next year we'll get even more teams and build it from here."
Mate noted that a couple of the key byproducts of the Team Interclub are increasing the number of golf rounds played, and involving more non-scratch players in CGA championships.
But for Leone, the bottom line is, a good time was had by all.
"We got a lot of pride and team spirit going," he said. "I feel like it's the best of competitions. It's about the best competition that club players can have."
After Saturday's final match, the CGA donated $250 to the junior programs at each of the courses which made the finals -- a practice the association plans to continue at future Team Interclubs.
CGA Team Interclub Championship Finals
At Par-71 CommonGround GC in Aurora
OVERALL SCORE: THE RANCH CC 22, INDIAN TREE GC 14
SINGLES (Ranch 14, Indian Tree 10)
Ryan Donofrio (Indian Tree) def. David Farabaugh (Ranch), 1 up
Mike Ventimiglia (Ranch) halved with Todd Namba (Indian Tree)
David Gahagen (Ranch) def. Josh Harris (Indian Tree), 3 and 2
Don Stoner (Indian Tree) def. Lowell Hegg (Ranch), 6 and 4
Brandon Dingae (Ranch) def. Jim Rodgers (Indian Tree), 3 and 2
Joe Branchaw (Indian Tree) def. Gary Ariniello (Ranch), 3 and 2
Michael Kochevar (Ranch) def. Billy Evans (Indian Tree), 5 and 4
Scott Wilkinson (Ranch) halved with Gene Schluter (Indian Tree)
Dave Tarpley (Ranch) def. Bill Irwin (Indian Tree), 3 and 2
Bill Leone (Ranch) def. Jim Nealon (Indian Tree), 2 and 1
Douglas Goodrich (Indian Tree) def. Duane Powers (Ranch), 4 and 2
Paul Jarosz (Ranch) def. Mike Williams (Indian Tree), 5 and 4
FOUR-BALL (Ranch 8, Indian Tree 4)
Ryan Donofrio-Todd Namba (Indian Tree) def. David Farabaugh-Mike Ventimiglia (Ranch), 1 up
Josh Harris-Don Stoner (Indian Tree) def. David Gahagen-Lowell Hegg (Ranch), 3 and 2
Brandon Dingae-Gary Ariniello (Ranch) def. Jim Rodgers-Joe Branchaw (Indian Tree), 2 and 1
Michael Kochevar-Scott Wilkinson (Ranch) def. Billy Evans-Gene Schluter (Indian Tree), 1 up
Dave Tarpley-Bill Leone (Ranch) def. Bill Irwin-Jim Nealon (Indian Tree), 4 and 2
Duane Powers-Paul Jarosz (Ranch) def. Douglas Goodrich-Mike Williams (Indian Tree), 1 up