Golf National Championship Won by Mohammad Kamal
24 August 2007
The event was held in the Pinehurst, North Carolina for the first time. The event was marked by the participation of young croquet players once again from Winston Salem's Jefferson High School, and two first time tournament players, Adel (14yrs) and Ali (10yrs) Kamal from South Pasadena Ca.
First and Second flight had some fantastic "firsts". Eight year old Matthew Essick, the winner of last year's second flight, played in the first flight. Adel (Also,Tournament photographer :)) and Ali Kamal from South Pasadena, California, playing in their first golf croquet tournament ever in second flight finishing strong.
The children had a very impressive showing right out of the gate. Tiawan Harper appeared to be the front runner. He demonstrated a deadly combination of an impressive touch with accurate shooting. He finished his block with a 5-1 record. Other strong performances by David Max, James Ray and Adel Kamal were also noted. Younger players such as Sarah Essick and Ali Kamal showed a very promising potential and glimpses of brilliance in defeating older opponents. Jeri ….. or "mom" as everyone called her, deserves mother of the year award for her remarkable care for all the children on and off the court.
With everyone advancing to the playoffs round on Saturday, Second flight Jordan Cornell defeated James Ray and Tiawan Harper Defeated Adel Kamal in the semifinal. Tiawan prevailed in the final winning 7/4-7/3.
The second flight double title went to David Max and James Ray after defeating Travis Shoemaker and Tiawan Harper.
First flight singles and doubles were won by Randy Murzyn. Randy has never played in a Croquet tournament before this. What's even more impressive, is that his coach is Ron Lloyd....just kidding Ron! Randy played the singles final against his doubles partner, Mike Conry In all of the flights, the finals where match play. (Two out of three games) All three games were needed in the single finals, and they went to the tie braking wicket for each game!
Nine players participated in the championship flight doubles and singles. Four Doubles competed in the tournament. Josie Jackson-Jimmy Huff, Dick Brackett-Leo McBride, Mik Mehas- David Bent along with last years champions, Ron Lloyd-Bill Martin.
Playing best of three matches in all rounds of Championship doubles, Bent and Mehas won all of their three matches to capture the first seed and play in the Semifinal against Jackson-Huff (defeating them in straight games).
In the other semifinal match Brackett- McBride defeated Lloyd-Martin in a strongly contested match to reach the final. During the first game, Mehas-Bent played a solid consistent all around game with smart tactics and accurate shot making. Although the first game went Mehas-Bent 7/6, the most spectacular shot was made at hoop 12 by McBride when his shot from the east boundary ran hoop 12 after it hit the opponent's position to tie the game at 6/6. Game 2 went to Brackett-McBride after they found their shots. The third game was a very close game with both sides exchanging the lead until the score was tide 6/6. McBride took an excellent position with the first ball going to the tie breaker hoop 13. Mehas hit a fantastic roquet sending McBrides ball to the boundary line in front of hoop 13. After 2 position shots by Brackett and Bent, and with Mehas' ball at the boundary, McBride was left with no choice but to take the hoop shot before Mehas, who was the most consistent shooter of the 4 players, did. McBride made the hoop to capture with Brackett their first national golf croquet title.
The block play of the championship singles was played as round robin, with everyone advancing to the match play knock-out round. The first round games were very interesting and again showed consistent play by Mehas with the exception of his game with Jimmy Huff. Mehas was very strong in his other games, (defeating Kamal)
The game between Mehas and Bent was noted for the miraculous finish by Bent. With Mehas leading for the entire game and Bent unable to get the lead, the score was tied 6/6. Bent won the game by hitting an incredible jump shot from about 10 feet with a difficult angle to the east of hoop over Mehas' ball that was about one foot in front of Bent's ball. It was the by far the shot of the Tournament. That shot got the attention and the applause of Kamal and Lloyd who were playing their game on the same court and had a vested interest in the game as it determined the seeding for the knock-out round. Mehas held the tie breaker against Kamal and Lloyd and a victory over Bent would have guaranteed him the top seed. McBride's surprise 2-5 record was a result of the extreme heat, and the excess energy spent in the doubles tournament and the North America V NC test match. However, he showed moments of his usual brilliance with his smooth swing, spectacular shooting and enviable ability to concentrate. Josie Jackson was the only female participant in the championship flight. She had a few great shots and was able to give the guys a run for their money. For Josie, the tournament was a great preparation for the women's world championship in golf croquet to be held in Ireland in September. Dick Brakett had a very solid showing finishing fifth in the block play. The newest addition to the golf croquet players competing at this level was Jimmy Huff. In his game against Mehas, Huff went up 5/0 making very smooth hoops and stunning everyone including Mehas. This game went to Huff 7/2. Ron Lloyd finished second in the block with 5 wins two losses, as were Bent and Mehas, but better in net score. Ron played his usual smart croquet while running the event. Kamal finished with the best record of 6 wins with his only loss to Mehas. In the quarter final of the knock out round Kamal, Lloyd, Mehas and Brackett won their matches. In the semifinal, Kamal defeated Brackett 7/4-7/5, and Mehas Beat Lloyd 7/5-7/5.
The final had some great shots and a especially impressive first game start by Mohammad, scoring the first five wickets. Mohammad made a long distance hoop shot at hoop 2 in game one, long distant jump shot at hoop 1 in game 2 and a jump shot at hoop 7 in game 2 from a tough angle and close distance.
Mik also had great shots especially his promotion at hoop 9 in game 1 and hitting Mohammad's position at hoop 4 in game 2 going to the south boundary line in front of 5 and running it after running hoop 4 with his other ball. In Game 3 was Mik held the lead up to 4/3 and then Mohammad had 4 hoops in a row to win the championship. Mohammad's hoop shot at hoop 9 in game three was crucial as it broke the 4/4 tie and put him ahead for good.