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Playoffs push Martin, Meyer to Geneva title

Royce Martin watches his 20-foot putt roll toward the cup in a playoff hole in the Geneva Member Guest tournament on Saturday afternoon. Martin sank the putt, and he and Nate Meyer won tournament in a second playoff hole. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

Royce Martin and Nate Meyer were in some trouble during a playoff hole on Saturday afternoon at the Geneva Golf Club’s Member Guest tournament, needing to sink a 20-foot putt in order to stay alive against the team of Ken Nelson and Dan Saucke.

But Martin sank the putt, and on the second playoff hole on the par-three Marsh sixth hole, Martin and Meyer shot a bogey to top a double-bogey from Nelson and Saucke to win a competitive Member Guest tournament.

“All the teams in there, they’re all close,” Martin said. “If you look at the scores in there, it’s amazing how close it came out.”

Match play kicked off the tournament from Thursday to Saturday morning and determined which 10 teams would play in an alternate shot team elimination shootout Saturday afternoon on Geneva’s Marsh course.

The field had been whittled down to the final two teams as they headed into the Marsh sixth hole. After both teams shot bogeys, they were sent back to the tee box for a playoff hole. This is when Nelson and Saucke shot a par, setting up Martin’s putt that was needed to keep them alive.

“I couldn’t leave it short,” Martin said. “It had to go in, or if not then we were done.”

It did go in, and Martin and Meyer used their second playoff hole to become the tournament champions. The playoffs were not the first time the team was close to elimination as they needed to survive a chip-off two holes earlier to stay alive.

“We had one chip-off, and Royce put it to about three feet on the chip off,” Meyer said. “So that carried us through that one.”

Heading into the tournament, Martin and Meyer said they were not 100 percent confident they would be the last team standing on the final day. Meyer, a member of the Alexandria Golf Club, even sent his partner Martin an e-mail earlier in the week telling him about his struggles with his golf game.

“I sent him an e-mail this week and I said, ‘I am not confident in my game at all right now,’” Meyer said.

“And he wanted a lesson,” recalled Martin. “But apparently it worked out without a lesson.”

Rain had caused some schedule changes for the golfers during the match play portion of the tournament. The Geneva Golf Club grounds crew made sure that the rain did not hinder the golfers’ play on the course throughout the tournament.

“The conditions, with all the rain they got out here, the course is still in great shape,” Martin said. “It dried out just enough to make the greens roll great.”

Not to mention the varying challenges that the design of Geneva’s course offers to golfers. Often Geneva will vary from wide open holes on hilly terrain to tight fairways with trees overlooking on both sides.

“This course has different holes all the time,” Meyer said. “That’s what I like about it.”

The older golfers had just as much success as younger guys throughout the member guest tournament. Martin said the younger golfers tend to drive the ball with more distance, which was a disadvantage while playing off the shorter white tees in the tournament.

“The old guys out here play good ball,” he said. “They hit the ball straight and don’t get in trouble. You play from the whites in this thing, so the longer hitters get in trouble off the whites.”


1. Royce Martin/Nate Meyer; 2. Ken Nelson/Dan Saucke; 3. Spencer Engebretson/Dan Williams; 4. Ron Carlson/John Anderson; 5. Anthony Zimny/Pete Bright; 6. Eric Larum/Gary Haffley; 7. Jay Ness/Terry Koch; 8. Jeff Horstman/Jason Horstman; 9. Andrew Wiener/Derek Swedberg; 10. Russ Pederson/Lach Glennie

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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