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2011 St. Louis Platform Tennis Invitational
FEBRUARY 9, 2011
ST. LOUIS, MO
Paddle players are nuts, but you already knew that. In a little bit of preaching to the choir, it has been a difficult winter. Yes, I know that the northeast has been absolutely pounded, but you should be prepared. St. Louis is not. We had enough of a storm on the Tuesday leading into the tournament to cause concern. An additional snow on the first morning of the tournament presented more problems. However, the tournament committee pulled out all stops to keep the courts clean and the tournament on time.
I concluded last year’s summary by saying that it “looks like St. Louis needs to bring some young tennis studs into the game.” I just didn’t have a feel for the source. Tom Linthicum moved to our fair city from the east coast and teamed with veteran Keith Brightfield. They battled the eighth seeded team of John Drew and Jim O’Dowd to a draw after two sets before succumbing in the third. Thus, they headed west and were able to reach the consolations finals after posting three wins. One of their victories was a three setter against newbie Ryan Burgdorfer and veteran Bill Buskirk from Springfield, IL. In the consolations final, Brightfield/Linthicum ran into the newly formed team of Tim Miller and Mark Saksa. Both Miller and Saksa are on the rise in the St. Louis paddle scene and they took the consolations with a 6-4, 6-3 victory.
Rob Golterman and J.R. played in their second consecutive SLI and captured the last chance division with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Hugh Davison and Peter Tasker. There is always one team which seems to have mastered the directional draw. This year’s honor goes to Scott Schmid and Chris Wright as they ran away with the consolations, quarters reprieve. It was the second straight year Schmid/Wright earned a title.
Other reprieve division champions were Steve Carr and Dave Castleman; Frank Childress and Chris Rhyne (one of those young tennis studs who moved to St. Louis from North Carolina) with a 6-2, 6-4 win over the Kansas City, KS - Jacksonville, IL team of Kevin Connor and Harmon Deal; and Mark Jeffrey and Earle Weaver with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Frank Sant and Cody Wilson.
The most important win may have gone to Rick Randall who took the Calcutta for the first time in at least seven years of bidding on teams. The auctioneer did have an awfully quick gavel, however. Note: Rick did not earn a single point for his Calcutta team.
As has been a recurring theme throughout this summary, the SLI saw a mixture of new and old blood. Travis Helgeson has only been playing paddle for a few months, but reached the semis as he paired with Chace Brundige. They met Graham Bundy and Bob Curtis, who have won a combined eight St. Louis titles. Brundige/Helgeson put up a worthy fight before yielding 6-2, 4-6, 7-5. The other semi saw the long-time duo of Bill Stude and Tom Fluri matched against Kevin Kowalik and Andy Metzler of Kansas City. Kowalik/Metzler had a surprisingly easy time as evidenced by a 6-0, 6-2 win. As was the case in the 2010 championship, Kowalik/Metzler lost the first set before storming back to take the second and third sets. The final score was 5-7, 6-2, 6-1. Kowalik/Metzler are now 10-0 in the St. Louis Invitational.
We look forward to Andy Metzler flying in from California next year. Hopefully, he will be joined by players from the greater Midwest as well as the east coast. See you then.
P.S. The Paddle Wife of the Year Award goes to Kerrie Stude for holding off labor until 24 hours after the tournament was completed.