The 2019 Crystal Cup Championship held Oct. 29 at the Ballyowen Golf Club will be remembered for producing the youngest Men’s Champion at the age of 16, Daniel Dessart and a repeat Women’s Champion, Mary Lou Nicoletti.
Twenty-six golfers competed in 4 qualifying competitions beginning May 1 at the Black Bear Golf Club to earn the right to add their name to the list of Crystal Cup Champions.
The Crystal Cup championship was contested in 3 categories including 11 golfers in the Men’s Division, 3 golfers in the Women’s Division 12 golfers in the Senior Men’s Division.
The Women’s Category brought 3 friends, Lisa Coe, Mary Lou Nicoletti and Dona Wallerius, together to compete for the championship. Each had participated in the Sussex County Long Drive Championship with Coe winning that event.
While Lisa Coe continued to out drive her friends, her short game let her down resulting in her elimination on the par 5 4th hole. On the challenging par 3 5th hole played over water, Mary Lou Nicoletti hit her tee shot safely to the back fringe approximately 45 feet from the pin. Dona Wallerius hit her tee shot on the green approximately 22 feet from the pin. Being away, Nicoletti faced a difficult slightly downhill chip shot. She coolly measured the shot and hit it to within 3 feet of the pin. Wallerius missed her birdie putt. Nicoletti sank her putt giving her a handicap adjusted birdie earning her the win on the hole and her repeat as the 2019 Women’s Crystal Cup Champion.
The Men’s category was contested by 11 golfers. Following nine holes the field had been paired down to just two golfers, Don Hemberger playing with a 5.2 handicap and the youngest golfer in the competition Dan Dessart, at the age of 16, with a 4.4 handicap.
The men’s champion was determined on the par 5 11th hole. Dessart hit a long tee shot landing just off the fairway approximately 157 yards from the green. Hemberger hit his first bad tee shot of the day landing in the native grass below the 11th fairway approximately 180 yards from the green requiring a blind shot to the green. Hemberger’s second shot fell short of the fairway and his third landed approximately 135 yards from the green.
Dessart hit his second shot to green landing approximately 25 yards from the pin giving him an eagle opportunity. With Hemberger lying 3 and still 125 yards from the green and Dessart lying 2 with an eagle putt, Hemberger conceded the hole to Dessart making Dessart the youngest Crystal Cup men’s champion.
The Senior Men’s competition produced the most exciting finish of the day. By the 9th hole 10 of the 12 qualifying golfers had been eliminated from play. This brought finalists Joe Giammarino playing with a 16.1 handicap and Hamburg resident Anthony Ulacco playing with 9.0 handicap to the 9th tee.
Following excellent tees shots from both golfers, Giammarino found himself on the green in 3 facing a 45 foot putt and Ulacco on the green in 2 with his ball lying approximately 17 feet from the pin. Giammarino was able to put the pressure of the moment aside and sank his putt for par.
To win the hole and the Senior Men’s Championship Ulacco had to hole his birdie putt. To the excitement of the observers Ulacco sank his birdie putt to capture the crown as the Senior Men’s Crystal Cup Championship.