With beautiful weather conditions, the 2017 Make-A-Wish Lakeshore Open went off as scheduled Saturday, September 30th. As with every Lakeshore, the predictability of what is about to take place is impossible. 80 players participated and 21 were lucky enough to make the cut. Currently we have raised well over $10,000 and 47 cents. The .47c is due to Jack Haynes and is a story too long to discuss here.
The first group teed off at 7:10am and these beginning morning tee times included the first of many controversies throughout the day. The Lakeshore is always organized chaos. The superintendent of the course does not water the course for 2 days before the event to gauge the ‘speed’ right, and there was some early morning dew that slowed down the greens for these early strikers. Harry Schroeder was the only one to take advantage as he was in a very early group and painted a masterful even par on the first round to hold the lead. James Derella was the only other golfer in single digits at +7 and then there were 4 stuck at +10 (Carl Gaglione, John Sieberg, Matthew Tom and Ryan McCullough). Hole 18 usually determines who makes the cut and who wins the Royal Blue Jacket every year and it was dramatically exciting for one of the last 3somes in the first round. Rookies Anthony Giordano and Jake Peterson along with veteran Paul Gaudet stepped up on the last hole all at the cutline bubble. Anthony and Paul could not find the fairway and their Lakeshore dreams ended abruptly. But Jake had a different outcome. He stroked a beautiful ‘ace’ to put him safely under the cut at +14. The excitement overwhelmed him as he had his finest moment in his golfing career. He was one of 4 rookies to make the cut. There were a massive record 29 rookies in the field. The other 3 to survive were (Jack Rippel +17 which was the cutline, Harry Hall +15, and UNLV coach Philip Rowe +12).
The final round every year only has a few ball strikers score better than the first round. The Championship gold tees are just 24 yards further than the up tees; and I know it is hard to imagine, but every year, these back tees play at least 10 shots higher per participant and this year was no exception. Everyone is aware that most players collapse on the back 18 of a Major but this year was a bit ridiculous. Everyone collapsed to a certain degree! It was fantastic that all 21 players could have won this tournament if they would have had shot +1 or better on the championship round. These are the best players and no one came even close to that number.
We often kid Dr. Harry Schroeder that he backed into his 2009 win because he was in the clubhouse a full hour before the final players broke down. This year, even though he had the lead going into the final round he had an amazing amount of difficulty on the front nine. He carded: 5-5-3-4-6-8-3-4-7=45 +18 over par! James Derella was having his own troubles too but he was tied with Harry at +18 at the end of 27 holes. Incredibly, they were tied for the LEAD! But there were 5 players within 3 shots of Harry and James. It set up a spectacular finish once again at the greatest experience in golf. Lurking were: Philip Rowe, Rob Mullaney, Ryan McCullough, Thomas Buonomo, and Harry Hall. Schroeder bogeyed both the difficult 10th and 11th and his group was now 4 holes back of the next 3some. These boys were taking a lot of strokes. The marshall then put his group on the clock. Which means they either speed up or be assessed 2 additional strokes. What happened next is legendary. Schroeder, a player who is 20 over par then birdied 4 or the next 6 holes and then took the long walk to the 18th box with a 4 shot lead. What made the difference? Harry said he heard rumblings when he was on hole 13 that Rob was in the lead and he did not want Robbie to win another jacket. Rob Mullaney was in at +20 in search of his 5th jacket. Harry had to card a triple bogey 6 or better on a hole that averages over 8 per player for the win. Harry first pitch went miserably out of bounds. He then hit 3 over the fence but was a bit short. He then had a big decision to make. Lakeshore News tried to get an interview with him but Harry would have no part of it. He was in his own world and selected to hit it further down the fence line rather than go through the fence immediately. He lied 4 and had to get it up and down through the fence to secure the victory. He turned the club over and backhanded a beauty to 6 inches of the pin. Harry Schroeder had won his 2nd Royal Blue Jacket and Major. His +19 was the highest score since 2006.
- Harry Schroeder 54-73=127 +19
- Rob Mullaney 65-63=128 +20
- Philip Rowe (R) 66-65=131 +23
- Ryan McCullough 64-68=132 +24
- Thomas Buonomo 69-65=134 +26
- Harry Hall (R) 69-67=136 +28
- James Derella 61-78=139 +31
- Matt Tom 64-77=141 +33
- Jake Peterson (R) 68-73=141 +33
- John Sieberg 64-78=142 +34
- Jason Kirste 70-73=143 +35
- Carl Gaglione 64-80=144 +36
- Mark Tom 67-78=145 +37
- Murray Hickman 66-81=147 +39
- Mike O’Donnell 69-78=147 +39
- Jon Holloway 68-80=148 +40
- Paul Robards 70-79=149 +41
- Fred Weiss 70-80=150 +42
- Jack Rippel (R) 71-84=155 +47
- Paul Olsen 70-90=160 +52
- Randy Bolla 69-100=169 +61
I am overwhelmed again at the generosity of everyone who attended and participated this year. It takes a team effort to pull this event off every year. I will send an email later recognizing all of you sponsors that made this happen. The Lakeshore Club proved once again that it is the most difficult golf course in the world. The Open is a wonderful sanctuary that tries to get everyone away from the insanity of everyday life. I really do not want to comment on the tragedy that Las Vegas experienced this weekend other than I do not know of anyone who suffered a direct loss affiliated with the Lakeshore. Las Vegas is a great city and no doubt will overcome even this cowardly evil act. –CHAIRMAN OF THE MAKE-A-WISH LAKESHORE OPEN GOLF TOURNAMENT COMMITTEE