(May 21, 2017 – Vernon Hills, IL) The Golden Tee 2017 World Championship is in the history books, resulting in high stakes drama, incredible competition, and a brand new Golden Tee champion.
The high-profile event took place May 19-21 at Hi Scores Bar Arcade in Las Vegas, where 64 of the world’s best Golden Tee players battled in spectacular competitive head to head play. The Contenders qualified for the live event through online play from January to March. When the 3-day event ended, Mark Stenmark of Houston TX was the last man standing, winning $10,000 and his likeness in the game in 2018. In total, over $75,000 was awarded in cash prizes.
After a full day of qualifying rounds on Saturday to seed the brackets, double-elimination match play began Sunday at noon. Many upsets happened early in the day as Evan Gossett, the top qualifier, dropped his first match of the event to Minnesotan Luke Nelson. Back-to-back Golden Tee World Champion Andy Haas fell in extra holes to seasoned tournament player Chris Thorbrogger. And last year’s World Championship runner-up, Paul Luna, also fell to Minnesota’s Tony Johnson.
Stenmark kicked off his match play strong by edging Florida’s Sean Gervais -30 to -29. Next Stenmark took down Canadian Enzo Polidori, followed by Scott Kocol with -28s. He then dropped another -30 against Arizona pro Lance Harris to move into the king-of-the-hill match.
Stenmark then handed Joe Massara, a Daily Contest wizard and one of the game’s greatest up-and-coming talents, his first loss. But Massara battled back to once again face Stenmark in a rematch for the final round and $10,000 on the line. To come away victorious, however, Massara would have to beat Stenmark twice.
Massara brought himself one step closer with a -26 to -24 win in game one on Ruby Rock, setting up a winner-take-all moment for the two finalists. The last round took place on Juniper Falls, with Stenmark’s strong -29 besting Massara’s -27.
“It’s the pinnacle of my Golden Tee career,” Stenmark said afterward. “I honestly thought last year would have been my best chance. Now to have my face in the game, it’s just unbelievable. This field was as strong as ever.”
Over 6 hours of exciting game action and commentary was streamed live on YouTube during the event. In addition, many mainstream media outlets covered the story, including USA Today’s popular “For the Win” and NBC’s Golf Channel sports sites.