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BURCHFIELD AND GRIMSLEY ROLL TO TOP OF PLAYOFF LADDER, WHILE CHAMPS OSBORN, MABEE, AND RODONI SETTLE FOR LOWER RUNGS
by Nate Weimerskirch


While all the former singles champions struggled to maintain position in the 1996 U.S. Croquet Association National Championships, an old lion from Kentucky has roared unscathed through the field. Farmer Archie Burchfield, twice doubles champion in the eighties, won every game in his block. The only other player going undefeated into the singles playoffs Friday is Doug Grimsley of Virginia.

The second and final day of singles block play Wednesday saw a number of highly ranked players fighting to survive. In Block 1, former national champion Carl Mabee had to knock off defending champ Wayne Rodoni, then survive 24-23 over Phil Fusz, giving him a third-place finish in the block.

Phil Fusz then barely qualified for the playoffs in fourth position by winning his final match with 4 wickets in his last turn to defeat previously unbeaten Richard Powell.

Jackie Jones - the only woman playing in Championship singles - downed Rick Sheely 18-11 and had a shot at qualifying, but her final 2-ball break against Tom Hughes went awry when her rush to #6 ended too close to the hoop. After a delicate stop shot, her attempt to clear #6 with control and hold a rush ended up 1/8" short, Hughes winning 20-16. Sheely advanced to the playoffs with a marginal 2-4 record as a result.

BURCHFIELD TWENTY-SIXES EVERYONE BUT OSBORN
John Phaneuf needed a 22-14 win over Greg Shaffer to advance on points; he did it. Bill Martin had a shot in Block 6, but fell 16-13 to Neil Houghton. Houghton's victory gave every player in the Championship Flight at least one win. Byron Thomas snuck out with a 24-21 win over Bill Mead. Brian Cumming played a crafty game to knock out John Oehrle 24-22 in Block 5.

In winning Block 2, Archie Burchfield impressed by 26ing everybody except two-time champion Johnny Osborn, whom he beat 19-9. Bill Berne won Block 4 with a 17-14 win over Jim Hughes.

Gar Beckstead and Harold Brown drew byes in the first round of the playoffs by being the top two 2nd place finishers in their blocks. They are joined by the six block winners in the top tier of the playoffs: Powell, Burchfield, Mehas, Berne, Grimsley, and Shaffer.

The lower 16 qualifiers - four second places and six third and fourth places - must play in seeded positions Friday morning, with the surviving eight going on to face the top eight. From sixteen players, the elimination playoff ladder proceeds to eight, then four, then two. The last surviving two play for the 1996 singles championship at 4:00 PM on Saturday.

FINAL BLOCK STANDINGS, CHAMPIONSHIP SINGLES
BLOCK ONEBLOCK TWO
Powell
Rodoni
Mabee
P. Fusz
B. Cherry
B. Grimsley
Brackett
5-1
4-2
4-2
3-3
2-4
2-4
1-5

+63
+19



Burchfield
Beckstead
Osborn
Degnan
Houser
F. Jones
Dill
6-0
5-1
4-2
2-4
2-4
1-5
1-5



-22
-40

BLOCK THREEBLOCK FOUR
Mehas
Brown
Curtis
Sheely
J. Jones
T. Hughes
Robinson
5-1
5-1
4-2
2-4
2-4
2-4
1-5
+65
+60

-22
-39
-40
Berne
Ruby
Najarian
J. Hughes
Mayer
Larkin
J. Young
5-1
4-2
4-2
3-3
3-3
1-5
1-5

+49
+2
+13
-3

BLOCK FIVEBLOCK SIX
Grimsley
Cumming
Hall
Roach
Barr
Oehrle
Curington
6-0
4-2
4-2
2-4
2-4
2-4
1-5

0
-4
+10
-5
-43
Shaffer
Fournier
J. Phaneuf
Thomas
Martin
Mead
Houghton
5-1
4-2
4-2
3-3
2-4
2-4
1-5

+64
+8



CHAMPIONSHIP SINGLES PLAYOFF LINEUP SET FOR FRIDAY PLAY
The playoffs in Championship Flight singles begin Friday morning with the 16 lower seeds playing down to eight to meet the top eight, as follows:
Hall
Fournier
Curtis
Cumming
J. Phaneuf
Rodoni
Osborn
Ruby
vs.
vs.
vs.
vs.
vs.
vs.
vs.
vs.
Mabee
Degnan
Thomas
Hughes
Najarian
Sheely
Fusz
Roach
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Winner
Winner
Winner
Winner
Winner
Winner
Winner
Winner
vs.
vs.
vs.
vs.
vs.
vs.
vs.
vs.
Berne
Brown
Burchfield
Powell
Grimsley
Beckstead
Mehas
Shaffer

KOENIG ALONE UNBEATEN AFTER FIRST FLIGHT SINGLES BLOCK PLAY
Paula Phaneuf was the hot player in First Flight singles Wednesday, beating Leon Parker 18-17, Phil Parker 19-17, and Erland Nelson 13-7 to lead Block 4. Christina Pinkerton picked up her first win at the end of the day 25-14, to eliminate follow Beach Club member Digby Bridges. Gray Wyatt advanced as a result. Chalmers Yeilding won his two matches over Austin Connelly and Keith Jones to capture Block 2. June Currier beat Larry Stettner in the final match to keep Larry from winning Block 3, but then came up 4 points short of qualifying herself.

BLOCK ONE FIRST FLIGHT SINGLES FINAL
Koenig 6-0
Stephens 4-2
Summers 4-2
Wyatt 2-4 -12
P. Currier 2-4 -17
Bridges 2-4 -23
Pinkerton 1-5

BLOCK TWO FIRST FLIGHT SINGLES FINAL
Yeilding 5-1
H. Currier 4-2
Luke 4-2
N. Young 3-3 +14
K. Jones 3-3 +9
Connelly 2-4
Baker 0-6

BLOCK THREE FIRST FLIGHT SINGLES FINAL
J. Spoonhour 4-2
Stettner 4-2
G. Fusz 4-2
Zuro 3-3 +4
J. Currier 3-3 0
Mitchell 2-4
Billie Jean Berne 2-4

BLOCK FOUR FIRST FLIGHT SINGLES FINAL
P. Phaneuf 5-1
L. Parker 4-2
Morse 4-2
T. Spoonhour 3-3 +35
P. Parker 3-3 +29
Nelson 2-4
Kent 0-6

GOING INTO FIRST FLIGHT SINGLES PLAYOFFS:
Yeilding vs. T. Spoonhour
Stephens vs. G. Fusz
J. Spoonhour vs. Wyatt
L. Parker vs. Luke
Koenig vs. Young
Stettner vs. Morse
P. Phaneuf vs. J. Currier
H. Currier vs. Summers

FUNK AND MALOOF UNBEATEN LEADERS IN SECOND FLIGHT SINGLES
George Funk topped Lou Fusz 19-9 and Andy Kozusko 15-10 to win Block 1. David Maloof is also undefeated in Block 2.

SECOND FLIGHT SINGLES, BLOCK ONE FINAL
Funk 6-0
Eccles 4-2
Kozusko 4-2
L. Fusz 4-2
R. Stoy 2-4
Gladstein 1-5
Richardson 0-6

SECOND FLIGHT SINGLES, BLOCK TWO FINAL
Maloof 6-0
Parsells 4-2
Ramey 4-2
Birkhead 3-3
Stinson 2-4
C. Cherry 1-5
McGonagle 1-5

SECOND FLIGHT SINGLES PLAYOFF LINEUP
Funk vs. Birkhead
Kozusko vs. Parsells
Eccles vs. Ramey
L. Fusz vs. Maloof

THIRD FLIGHT SINGLES BLOCK RESULTS SIGNAL HORSE RACE FOR FINALS
Beginning the day, four players were tied at 2-2 in Block 1 of Third Flight singles. Carole Birkhead topped Richard Byatt 13-9, and Ray Cope beat Gene Pearson 15-13 to advance. Hedy Stoy beat Kenny Horne in Block 2, but finished third when Tad Cassidy beat Lisa Parsons 19-10.

THIRD FLIGHT SINGLES, BLOCK ONE FINAL
Cope 3-2
C. Birkhead 3-2
Pearson 2-3
Byatt 2-3
J. Connelly 0-4

THIRD FLIGHT SINGLES, BLOCK TWO FINAL
Horne 3-1
Cassidy 3-1
H. Stoy 2-2
Parsons 0-4

THIRD FLIGHT PLAYOFF LINEUP FOR FRIDAY FINALS
Cope vs. Cassidy, Birkhead vs. Horne

THIRD FLIGHT DOUBLES BLOCK FINAL
C. Birkhead / Cassidy 4-0
Cope / H. Stoy 3-1
Horne / Pearson 2-2
Byatt / Parsons 1-3
J. Connelly / Francis 0-4

Watch this space for results of the playoffs on Friday and the championship finals on Saturday.


 
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