FALLBROOK – Pala Mesa Men's Club defeated Golf Club of California in the 2023 championship match of the San Diego County Senior Team Play League.
The league is composed of 15 teams from different golf courses throughout San Diego County. During the year each team plays home and away matches after which the top eight teams compete in a single elimination tournament to determine the overall league champion.
The community of Fallbrook was well represented as the two final teams are from local courses, Pala Mesa Resort and Golf Club of California.
Since 1967, when Fred Bradley, former Fallbrook resident and avid golfer, and five of his friends conceived of the idea of a Senior League, hundreds of senior golfers from all over San Diego have played in this competition. It is a chance to meet fellow golfers, satisfy one's need for competition, and play a variety of different courses throughout San Diego County.
Each course will generally have players of all ages in their men's club but only those players age 55 and over are eligible to compete in Senior League Team Play. Throughout the year matches are contested of six players from each club going head-to-head in a two-man match play format.
During the final eight team playoffs, each club fielded a team of eight players. Half of the matches played on the final day were at Pala Mesa and half at Golf Club of California. The results of all matches played on the final day determined the winner.
Pala Mesa Men's Club has over 100 members. Twenty-seven men age 55 and older signed up to be part of the Senior League Team Play. All 27 Pala Mesa Senior League players had an opportunity to compete at various times during the year and each man had a winning head-to-head record at the end of the regular season.
Players competing for Pala Mesa during the championship match were Mark Wunderlich, Chris Burkhart, Jeff Miller, John Blum, Ernie Ortiz, Brad Urquhart, Tae Cho, and Phil Vanderwerf.
Playing in the final match for Golf Club of California were Jerry Marheine, Neil Sorenson, Frank Doherty, Vince Orlando, Jay Featherstone, Frank Loizu, Scott Luttge, and Jeff Hendricks.
Pala Mesa has finished league play the last four years as the number one seed for the playoffs only to lose prior to the championship match. Not this year.
The Pala Mesa Men's Club has dedicated this year's victory to teammate James Chambers who passed away unexpectedly of natural causes on Thanksgiving weekend. He participated in many Senior League team matches during the year and was instrumental to the success of the team.
Chambers was an intense competitor and had an opinion on just about anything anyone wanted to talk with him about. They mostly needed to be a good listener when talking with him.
Chambers was known to never give up during a golf competition and was always a grinder down the stretch on the last few holes. He will be missed by his fellow golfers both on the golf course and after golf in the 19th hole sharing the day's experiences with an adult beverage or two. "This one's for you Jim."
Submitted by Pala Mesa Men's Club.