It took 1,107 days for Rob Garcia and Billy Les to avenge their bitter defeat at the last Invitational Shootout in 2019, but it was well worth the wait. The 2013 champions won their second title on Friday with a one shot victory at the 2022 Invitational Shootout on a challenging George W. Dunne National Golf Course in Oak Forest.Garcia and Les defeated the team of George Les and Paul Manolitsis by one stroke with an 8-under 64. The victorious duo posted an eagle on the par five 14 hole and a birdie on the tough 326-yard par four 16th hole to cement the victory.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the way Rob and I competed today” said Billy Les. “We got off to a bit of a slow start and I started to wonder if the Golf Gods might not be on our side. Things started to turn around the 6th hole and we birdied four of our next five holes after that. We just had to be patient and wait for things to come together.”
Garcia and Les are no strangers to adversity. In addition to finishing second in 2019, they lost a crushing sudden death playoff at the 2017 Invitational Shootout at Waters Edge and also finished one stroke behind Mike Howley and Ray Shinkle in 2016.
“We lost two Shootout tournaments to the pandemic (2020 and 2021), so Billy and I were really motivated to get back on the course on prove ourselves this year” said Rob Garcia. “To win at a prolific place like George W. Dunne National Golf Course makes it even more special.”
“There is a certain reverence that golfers on the south side have for George W. Dunne National Golf Course” said Mick McDonnell. “This course challenges you in just about every way and over time, it reveals who the best teams are. The teams that finished at the top of the leaderboard in 2022 confirm that.”
“Listen, few teams have suffered as many setbacks in The Shootout as Garcia and Les” said 2004 Invitational Shootout Champion Joe Hill. “Their win today started 36 months ago when they determined that losing was no longer an option.”
Father/Son Win Legends DivisionWalter Lis Jr. and Walter Lis Sr. held off a strong group of competitors for a one stroke victory in the Invitational Shootout Legends Division. Rich Burke and Bob Faxel finished one stroke behind in second place.
Two Awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards
John Moirano and Phil Valela became only the 11th and 12th competitors to receive The Invitational Shootout Lifetime Achievement award as selected by the tournament competition committee. The Invitational Shootout Lifetime Achievement award honors individuals who make an extraordinary commitment to the event and the cause of the Invitational Shootout.
Previous winners of the Lifetime Achievement Award:
Mike Fahey – 2007
John Boyle – 2010
Tom Senne – 2011
John Groark – 2011
Ron Mouw – 2013
Mick McDonnell – 2013
Len Piersialla – 2014
Dan Ricci – 2014
Walter Lis Sr. – 2014
George Les – 2018