HOT SPRINGS – For the first time in its 53-year history, a father-daughter duo won this year’s annual Father’s Day Invitational, played this past weekend at Southern Hills Golf Course in Hot Springs.
Dave Merrill of Hot Springs and his daughter Jenny Merrill – a 2002 Hot Springs High School graduate who now lives in Gurley, Neb. – earned the title following a one-hole playoff victory over Jay Miller of Hot Springs and his partner Tim Renner of Crooks.
Both teams finished the two-day, 36-hole tournament, played Saturday and Sunday, June 17-18, with identical scores of +21 using the Stableford scoring system.
Under the Stableford scoring system, the two-person teams begin the tournament with a negative score based on their handicap. They are then awarded points based on the par of each hole – six points for an eagle, four points for a birdie, two points for a par, and one point for a bogey. They are also penalized one point for any score of triple bogey or greater.
While both the Merrill/Merrill and Miller/Renner teams finished the tournament with the same scores, they each achieved that number in very different manners.
The eventual runner-up team of Miller and Renner were the leaders in the clubhouse following the first 18-holes of competition on Day 1 with a final tally of +16. They then improved on that slightly on Day 2 to finish +21.
The father/daughter Merrill two-some however was sitting at just -3 following the first day of competition, which was about in the middle of the 37-team field. They however came on strong in the second day to finish +24, which ultimately put them in a playoff with the Day 1 leaders.
In that playoff hole, played out on the par-four 9th hole, Jenny Merrill was awarded one stroke based on her handicap, while the three men were playing straight-up. Despite being forced to take a penalty due to a lost ball, Dave Merrill was still able to pull off a double-bogey for zero points.
Jenny meanwhile, after a perfect drive to the center of the fairway less than 100 yards to the pin, made a pressure-filled putt for par, which was applauded heavily by a packed gallery of fans watching from the nearby clubhouse deck.
That par putt clinched the win for the Merrill’s as it was lowered to a birdie due to the handicap stroke, giving their team a +4 for the hole. Miller and Renner conceded the hole despite neither of the players finishing, as the best they could score was +2 with both of them putting for bogey.
Despite finishing as the tournament runners-up, Miller and Renner however were the tournament team medalists with a combined 36-hole score of 298, using traditional scoring methods. Individually, Miller shot 150 (72/78), while Renner shot 148 (75/73).
And for the 12th consecutive year, Hot Springs native Mark Moller, now of Phoenix, Ariz., won the individual medalist award with a 36-hole round of 134 (69/65).
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Following is a list of the top-10 teams in this year’s tournament:
1st – Dave Merrill of Hot Springs / Jenny Merrill of Gurley, Neb.; +21 (-3/+24).
2nd – Jay Miller of Hot Springs / Tim Renner of Crooks; +21 (+16/+5).
3rd – Barry Vollmer of Hot Springs / Cassidy Vollmer of Rapid City; +17 (+4/+13).
4th – Allen Bennett of Hot Springs / Joel Bennett of Hot Springs; +15 (+10/+5).
5th – DJ Schroeder of Hot Springs / Bryan Opitz of Sheridan, Wyo.; +12 (+11/+1).
6th – Drue Schroeder of Spearfish / Nolan Schroeder of Hot Springs; +11 (+9/+2).
7th – Rod Watts of Hot Springs / Aspen Aaberg of Box Elder; +9 (+7/+2).
8th – Brian Fleharty of Hot Springs / Derek Ginn of Neb.; +8 (+12/-4).
9th – Mark Moller of Phoenix, Ariz. / Josh Moller of Rapid City; +7 (+1/+6).
Tie-10th – John Hatfield of Hot Springs / Lester Hatfield of Jacksonville, Fla.; +6 (-1/+7); and, Bill Miller / Rick Brady +6 (+5/+1).