MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Duffers from Special Missions Training Center played 36 holes at Paradise Point Golf Course Aug. 1 to lay claim to the coveted Intramural Golf Championship trophy.
Representing the three service branches of SMTC, Bill Fitch, Jeff Houdek (both Navy), Jon Batchelor (Marine Corps) and C.J. Tozer (Coastguard) came into the end-of-the-season tournament as the second-ranked team in the league.
Only the top four sides out of the 11 teams playing the 2007 schedule received an invitation to play for the championship. The SMTC team beat the undermanned 2nd Light Armored Reconaissance Battalion in the afternoon final after topping Maintenance Battalion in the morning semi-final round.
“[The match against Maintenance Battalion] was really close,” said Fitch. “Three of those matches were really tight. And in the final, we were just hoping [2nd LAR] wouldn’t do to us what they had done to 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion. That was just amazing.”
Fitch was referring to 2nd LAR’s improbable run into the finals. After spending the first half of the 10-week intramural season in first place, 2nd LAR watched its lead slowly slip away as training commitments kept them from fielding a full team for the rest of the summer. The team squeaked into the playoffs as the fourth seed and admitted to not having high expectations.
“We came out today thinking we’d just shoot a round of golf and go back to work,” said Shawn Campbell, one of just two 2nd LAR golfers available to play in the finals. “One of our guys was in the field and one of them was teaching classes. The only chance we had in the first round was tying [2nd AA] and winning in a sudden-death playoff — and that’s what we did. It was nuts.”
Along with Campell, Charles Stephens took to the tee box in the final for 2nd LAR. The two men hoped lightning would strike a second time in the afternoon session, but SMTC and its full compliment of four players proved to be far too much to overcome. Houdek led all scorers with a 72 on the Scarlet Course for SMTC in the final round and the team cruised to a 12-0 victory.
“What’s really cool is that we represent the three service branches at SMTC,” said Tozer. “We had a great time playing this season and appreciate everything the organizers put into it.”
Camp Lejeune Intramural Sports Director Antonio Warner said the golf season was a great success, culminating with 2nd LAR’s exciting run to second-place honors. “My hat’s off to 2nd LAR. They did the impossible,” he said.