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Bob McIntire tries to make a long putt as his team watches during the 24th annual Leland "Butch" Simas/Felix Fly M.D. Memorial Tournament at the Santa Maria Country Club on Monday. McIntire’s foursome included Jeff York, Case Ketting and Chuck Scheithauer.

Doc Harrison got his wish.

After losing last year’s Simas/Fly Memorial Golf Tournament in a card-off, Dr. Alex Harrison said he’d rather lose in a playoff than win a card off.

“Bogus” was his carefully chosen word for the card-off.

“We ought to do a playoff. It would be great just for the drama of it,” was what Doc Harrison said at the time.

Then Marian Medical Center President Chuck Cova named the young cardiologist to the tournament committee where he quickly rose to become its chairman.

And they immediately got rid of the card-off.

It was replaced this year with a playoff.

As luck would have it, the first time out, the 24th annual Leland “Butch” Simas/Felix Fly, M.D. Memorial Golf Tournament — which was played Monday at the Santa Maria Country Club as a fundraiser for the Marian Medical Center Foundation — ended in a tie in the low gross (no handicap) division.

The championship was settled with the tournament’s first-ever playoff.

“I’m so happy my new playoff rule is coming into effect,” said Doc Harrison. “We’re having a playoff.”

The Ed Murray Team and the Joe D. Team tied at 13-under par 59 after the 18-hole, best ball event.

So those foursomes headed right back out to the middle of the 18th fairway, 100 yards from the hole, to settle the score.

It was no longer a best ball format where each player takes a shot, then they all shoot from where the best ball landed. This time every shot would count.

It took three playoff holes before a championship team was crowned but the third time was the charm for the Joe D. Team — Joe Diefenderfer, Steve Harding, Bill Racine and Matt Richardson.

“The playoff was a lot of fun,” said Joe D. “It was a lot more fun for us but either way it’s a great day and we get to help raise money for the Marian Foundation.”

They took the title away from the defending low gross champion Murray Team — Ed Murray, sons Eddie and Cavan Murray and Brian Simas.

“It was great to play with the kids — I’m the old man here. Last year we won in a card-off. This year we lost in a playoff. That playoff was a lot of pressure,” said Ed Murray. “It was great to have a playoff. We did well. I don’t feel like we lost.”

Third place gross, with a final score of 60, went to Rob Buchanan, Gene Berban, Tim Walsh and Kim Kirchhof.

The low net championship (with handicaps figured in) went to the Smiley Wilkins Memorial Team — captain Howard “Happy” Harrison (no relation to Doc Harrison), Thomas Williams, Kerry Brooks and Smiley Wilkins’ son Marcus Wilkins — with a handicap adjusted 46.8.

“I’m the captain so they carried me,” said Happy Harrison. “I’ve played in every one of these. We had fun and we really played well. I told my team that if they didn’t play well, then I was going to fire them and get me another team.”

After winning the low net title, Harrison said he’d keep this group together — at least through the 19th annual Smiley Wilkins Memorial NAACP Scholarship Golf Tournament on Saturday, April 20 at Marshallia Ranch.

The foursome of Greg France, Jack Gresser, Josh Wong and Mel Fernandez was second net with a score of 52.

The Chuck Cova quartet — Cova, Robert Moss, Jeff Forester and John Will — placed third net with at score of 53.

“It was great to be out here again,” said Cova. “I actually contributed a couple shots this year. My teammates still carried me but I actually contributed.”

Diefenderfer was the men’s longest drive champion. Mary Kober was the women’s longest drive champion.

“The golf committee did an outstanding job,” said Diefenderfer.

“Joe D. won the tournament. He also unseated me as the defending long drive champion,” said Doc Harrison.

“It was my only good drive of the day,” said Joe D.

Mark Whitten (hole No. 3), Doug Nock (hole No. 7) and Robert Dichmann (hole No. 16) were the closest-to-the-pin winners.

“We all had a good time. It was a gorgeous day, great weather, good people. We had a full field,” said Doc Harrison. “It’s for a great cause. We’ll raise more than $40,000 for the Marian Foundation.”

“We are all out here for a common mission,” said Cova. “We’re here for healing — To improve the health of the people of our community. It was another great day.”


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