2014 - 2015  Events

December 12-14
Atlanta Grand Masters at the Midtown Athletic Club

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2005 Atlanta Grand Masters

December 2005

Under the nurturing of Sporting Club at Windy Hill pro Tom Rumpler, the Merrill Lynch Grand Masters entered its 19th year with 130 entrants turning up in Atlanta December 9-11. Like other perennial tournament favorites, the Grand Masters begins with competition and camaraderie, before proceeding to hoary rivalries, young challengers, and the year’s ironmen grinding away in two draws throughout the weekend.

“Because of the depth here, you can play any division you want and bite off as much as you can chew,” explained Dayton’s Mark Brady. An athlete with an appetite for as much exercise as he can get, the 45 year-old Brady returned to Atlanta in his annual stalking of Diniar Alikhan. Playing down to the 30+ division, as did several other top players, Btook Atlanta local Sandy Draper in straightgames and outran tender-hipped squash mRichard Millman, all while playing a paralldraw in the 45s. His weekend capped oa five-game marathon loss in the 30+ sAtlanta pro Andre Maur, who went on to win the division in straight games over ironman Adam Walker.

Walker had played brilliantly through his two draws’ 4 matches on Saturday, only to run empty in his 3rd match in 4 hours on Sunday. After a 3-game win over lefty Chris Tham, and an excruciating 5-game finals loss to Floridian Jose Luis Gonzalez in the 5.5s, where travelers outnumbered locals, Walker posed no threat to Maur.

Another ironman was Adrian Cronje, who played 9 matches in 42 hours in the 4.0s and 40B draw’s. Cronje’s legs, if not his spirit, finally gave out against Charleston’s Mike Twiner in the 4.0s.

Like Brady, a number of travelers block off the second weekend after Thanksgiving for the annual stalking of a particular nemesis. For some travelers, the moment of familiarity strikes late in the draw. Massachusetts player Wayne Hodges and Washington’s Andy Strasfogel played their way through a thicket of locals in an attempt to meet longtime rival and current 2-time National 65s champion Michael Gough. Hodges won the opportunity but failed to unseat Gough, who played down in the 60s and 55s, losing only one match, to 1st seed and eventual champion Murray Gilman in the 55s semis.

For many, the Atlanta Grand Masters is one of the very last good reasons to look forward to that next round-numbered birthday. Gilman, who turned 55 this year three months ahead of Atlanta pro and rival Alladin Mitha, enjoyed his five-year hiatus from that rivalry and took a four game finals match against returning New Yorker Jeffrey Blomstedt. In the 70s, perennial competitors Syd Ball and Brian Dyson matched shots that date back decades.

In the category of on-going rivalries, Cincinnati’s Rob Goering defeated Atlanta’s David Bridges in 5 games for the 3rd consecutive year in the 40B’s finals. John Mahorner came up with his first tournament win over friend, sponsor & 1st seed Keith Clemens in the 40’s semifinals, only to fall short in the finals to professional Edgar Navas.

Arguably the most heroic match award goes to Pat Millman. A five-game winner over local Karen Levine in the semifinals, she met a former top Canadian junior and national team member, Catherine Van Wanderham, in the finals. Giving away many years, and eternally coming from behind, Pat battled back in game after game, overcame a handful of match balls, and finally won the Women’s title.


Age Groups:
30+ Adam Walker def. Sujit Sharma; 6,5, ret.(inj)
40+ Diniar Alikham def. Mark Brady; (4),6,(7),0,2
45+ Dave Perry def. Patrick Rini; 6,3,2
50+ Tom Rumpler def. Michael Kilgallon; 4,2, 10-9
55+ Bob Elliott def. Ken Cooke; 6,5,2
60+ Wayne Hodges def. Stephen Steinberg; 10-9,7,(7),6
65+ Michael Gough def. Warren Young and Ed Burlingame in a round robin
30B Hugh Hailey def. Paul Havey, 5,3,(6),3
40B Ron Johnston def. Robert Goering, 10-8,3,2
50B Harry Miley def. Sparky Lersch; 1,7,(7),(6),1

Skill Levels:
3.0 Kelly Garges def. Leslie Blythe; 2,1,0
3.5 Chandra Shekhar def. John Mulleady; 6,5,(6),3
4.0 Sawyer Duncan def. Bill Basnett; (4),2,(0),3,7
4.5 Justin Mather def. William Cloherty; 0, 10-9, (5), 3
5.0 Sanjay Sidhwani def. John Mahorner; 7,5,5
5.5 Chris Tham def. Adam Walker; 7,2,2

Women’s: Karen Levine 4-0; Keenan Fernandez 3-1; Donna Sharpe 2-2;
Leslie Blythe 1-3; Kedira Ismail 0-4