Mar-a-Lago Singles Invitational Won by Sandy Walsh
20-22 March 2008
There is only one private club in the world recognized by The American Academy of Hospitality Services with a coveted Six Star Diamond Award. Those who either belong to or have had the chance to visit Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club would certainly agree … perfection appears not to be the goal, but the reality. And such perfection flows with grace from the majestic facility right onto and upon the croquet lawns. Visible immediately upon entering the front gates, these courts are not, as often thought, artificial. They are, though, surreal in their beauty, not a flaw to be found upon them.
Holding two Croquet Invitational events per year, the Singles version was completed today under skies which, though suspect, proved only to be that, a threat. In ten years of competition, rain has emerged but once and that with a mere ten minutes remaining within the two Final matches.
Twenty-two players competed in the event and were divided into two Flights. Block play led to a single-elimination ladder with the top four in each division reaching the Playoffs. Games were timed at one hour and fifteen minutes and double banking was the norm up until the Finals. Entrance was, as it always has been, limited to those with handicaps of six and above … bad news for many past champions whose handicaps have dropped to five.
While gentlemen did comprise of about forty percent of the field, today certainly seemed to be ladies day. In the Championship Flight, the spirited Cynnie Cagney in one semi-final defeated the remaining gentleman, Ross Fusz (16-5) while Sandy Walsh overcame Tina Theurkauf (14-11) in the other. Walsh, charging from day one, took advantage of some missed Cagney roquets and pranced to a 20-12 victory. The First Flight found the always-determined Gisa Wagner overcome an equally energetic Victoria Albrecht (12-10) in the Final’s match. Helen Jones (last year’s Champion) and Robin Wagner shared Third Place honors.
As is always the case, continental breakfasts, scrumptious lunches and fantastic service made the entire weekend nothing short of, well, perfect. The Mar-a-Lago Club feels honored to have had a wonderful field of players and hopes to see everyone again next year. Until then, below you will find the Final Results: