If asked to name the most epic collapses in recent golf history, you might think of the 2006 U.S. Open, when Phil Mickelson drove the 17th tee shot into a trash can and then double-bogeyed the 18th to lose the tourney by a stroke.

Or the 2012 British Open, when the smooth-swinging Adam Scott blew a four-stroke lead over the final four holes to lose by one. You may even mention the 2011 Masters, when Rory McIlroy entered Sunday’s back 9 with a four-stroke lead only to finish, several double and triple bogeys later, in 15th place.

None of those collapses are as bitter as what happened on Saturday, July 19, when The Strategists (Tony and Matt) squared off against The Developers (Steven and Chris) in what we're audaciously calling the first ever VisionPoint Invitational Championship at Lochmere Golf Club in Cary, N.C.

 

 

 

 

Powered by Tony’s smooth swing and Matt’s masterful sand play, the Strategists built a nine-stroke lead that, heading into the turn, looked insurmountable. That’s when either overconfidence, under-competence, or some questionable chicken salad sandwiches changed the game.

After Tony and Matt wasted their back-nine mulligans on the 10th and 11th respectively, Steven and Chris decided this golf stuff wasn’t so hard after all, surging ahead with par after handicapped par. Steven consistently found fairways from the tee, and Chris improved his game with a flourish that would make a pool-hall hustler proud.

Meanwhile, despite Tony’s heroic chip-in for a true birdie on the 14th, Matt tallied no less than seven water hazards in a three-hole span, two of which made Tony laugh so hard he missed par puts.

By the 18th and final hole, The Developers had erased The Strategists’ lead, and the two teams strode to the tee box for a one-hole playoff to decide the champion. A collective (and humiliating) 26 strokes later, the match was over--with the score still tied.

“I don’t think Rory McIlroy would be the man who could hold off the field for the 2014 Open Championship without also having experienced the 2011 Masters,” said Matt afterward.

“Collapses like these build character,” Tony added, citing at least a dozen moments in New England Patriots history where disappointments ultimately led (however indirectly) to victory down the road. “We’ll see them again.”

Meanwhile, the Developers, basking in what surely felt like a victory, were already back behind their computer screens and unavailable for comment.

 

Match Superlatives

Longest Drive: Steven - 270 yards
Longest Sunk Put/Approach Shot: Tony’s chip-in for birdie on the 14th from 30 feet out
Closest to the pin: Ha!
Best dressed: Chris. Purple takes it every time.