Recently we interviewed some of the Shootout greats to collect their favorite moments from the past 23 years. Although their experiences vary, they all share a passion and love for the most respected two-person golf scramble in the Midwest.
Joe Hill – Although winning the Shootout in 2004 with Walter Lis was amazing, I think my favorite Shootout moment was the previous year when John Eterno and I faced Ray Shinkle and Brian Donley in a playoff. Although we lost, John and I had a great time playing in front of the huge crowd that watched us compete on the 18th hole at Maple Meadows. Obviously our downfall was when we both lost our tee balls in the woods to the right. However, we still were able to chase a shot onto the green, forcing Ray to hit a clutch putt for the victory.
Shane Hennessy-York – People always ask me what it was like to win the 2015 Invitational Shootout. I tell them it was obviously a dream come true and something that I will always be grateful for. However, I think my favorite moment was actually competing for the first time in 2014 with my partner that year, Joe Schley. I had heard so much discussion around the office in the months leading up to the Invitational Shootout that I really didn’t know what to expect. We played well that year, but I’m sure the pressure of the moment certainly kept us from achieving our full potential that year.
Tom Jemilo – My favorite Shootout moment was receiving the invite to actually play in the event for the first time in 2015. Matt Grant and I played against Greg DiBona and Tom Lang in a Shootout qualifier that year. We took a quick lead, but eventually the experience of the DiBona and Lang was just too much for Matt and I. As we sat dejectedly the parking lot after the round pondering our future, I questioned whether we would every get the opportunity to play in the most respected two-person scramble in the Midwest. When I heard the news that we received an exemption and would be allowed to compete in the 2015 Invitational Shootout after all, I was filled with joy. That was one of the best moments of my life.
Mick McDonnell – My favorite Shootout moment was definitely winning the first McMouw Cup in 2011. When Ron and I beat Larry and Ryan back then, there basically were no rules. The competition was in its infancy, which meant we could do just about anything to try and throw off the competition. Over the years we used all sorts of noise makers and projectiles, including fireworks to gain an advantage. Ryan and Larry also turned the tables on us plenty of times, so I have no regrets whatsoever.
George Les – After winning in 2007 and 2011 with Dominic Dallio, I was incredibly proud to win in 2014 with Paul Manolitsis. I became the first three-time Invitational Shootout champion and I proved I could do with different partners. Although Dom and Paul are both great players, they’re also very different. Sometimes it’s difficult to find the right balance with a partner, so I’m usually pretty patient at the outset. When Paul and I started to “click” in 2014, it felt very similar to what I’ve felt previously. I almost knew we were going to win once the connection started to work.
Hammer Hyland – Although Dave and I have only played in one event so far, the 2009 Invitational Shootout at Water’s Edge was a blast. Dave and I could both hit the ball a country mile at that point in our careers, so we decided to play super aggressive and challenge every green and every pin possible. We reached all the Par 5’s in two that day and basically overpowered the golf course. We had so much fun testing ourselves in such a highly respected event.
Tom Senne – Certainly playing with my dad has been great and winning the Legends Division multiple times is something I’m really proud of. But I think my favorite memory was competing in the first Invitational Shootout back in 1994. I don’t think anyone had an idea of how big this event would eventually become when we all met at The Links at Carillon before the start of the first Shootout. Competing as a two-person team was a hit right away, and I loved the feeling of fighting for the first title as we reached the 18th hole. Although Mike Howley and I came up a bit short, it was definitely an amazing experience.