Up to The Challenge!
Alexandria's Terry Martell was part of the group that helped put together the format of the Challenge at Geneva golf tournament that has been in place for four years now.
On Saturday, he was a part of the group that won it. Martell, a member at the Geneva Golf Club, joined forces with his brother-in-law, Joe Geris, to win a final shootout against 12 other two-person teams in the annual member-guest tournament at Geneva.
"It's kind of fun," Martell said of the win. "To be in this position is pretty nice."
Martell laughed when asked if their golf games were going well enough to where they expected to be in the running entering the day.
"No, it was terrible," he said. "We got in absolutely by a fluke and everything worked out. Joe carried us for quite a few holes and it was just a nice opportunity for us. It ended well."
Geris, who is originally from Alexandria but lives in Prior Lake now, said in a tournament like this both partners need to come up big throughout the day.
"Don't let Terry kid you because he bailed us out of hot water numerous times also," Geris said. "It just worked out that way. We were on the brink of being eliminated numerous times and somehow we staved off elimination and got to the end against two really good golfers."
It came down to Geris and Martell facing off against Alexandria's Nick Brundell, a current St. John's University golfer in Collegeville, and Brian Robley. Robley was last year's club champion at Geneva before moving out of the area this year and coming back as Brundell's guest in the tournament.
The Challenge at Geneva started with 66 teams of two being put into flights of six based on their handicap. From there, the teams played everyone in their flight one time in nine-hole matches. Points are accumulated — one point for a win and a half point for a tie on each hole — with each flight's winning group and two wild card teams ending up in Saturday's shootout where the teammates go alternate shot.
"This is our fourth year doing it and we could potentially add another flight, but we don't know if we even want to because it slows down play," Geneva head golf professional Grant Hanson said. "There's 100 people watching [at the start of the shootout], 13 balls being played, so it's chaotic, but it's fun. A lot of nerves at play."
Four teams are knocked out after the first hole before two teams drop from the field on each of the next four. That left just the two teams standing where Geris and Martell fought off any nerves for the win.
"It really was a true ham and egg because when one guy maybe hit a bad shot, the other guy came through quite well," Martell said of their day. "It was just a nice combination and that's what it takes to win this tournament."
Geris added that is also takes a little luck. They got into the shootout by winning their flight by just half a point.
"It takes some luck too because you have to hope for other teams to have their struggles," Geris said. "Everything was very close."
The two get on the course together only about two or three times a year, but they made it count on Saturday. Their reward was a commemorative Geneva golf bag, along with money at the pro shop and a general cash prize.
"Nothing that I can retire on," Geris joked.
The club avoided any of the rain that hit the area on Saturday afternoon. That, along with a full field of participants made for a fun tournament for those in attendance.
"It went great," Hanson said. "It's nice to see a lot of familiar faces. A lot of the members make it a tradition to bring their same guest back, whether it be a brother-in-law, a college friend or whoever. It's fun to see those faces every year."