2010 US OPEN, December 7-11th
Mission Hills Country Club
Rancho Mirage, California

    This year the American Croquet Association hosts the 23rd US Open croquet tournament in Rancho Mirage, California's Mission Hills Country Club.

    Entered to win this year's event is Tony Le Moignan from the island of Jersey, Brian Cumming from Toronto, Canada, Ben Rothman from Rancho Mirage, Doug Grimsley from Virginia, Rich Lamm from Denver and numerous locals.

    Here is Tony , the "Lemon Onion", taking a shot with Black.

Charlie Smith of Napa Valley is one of the best supporters of the US Association croquet team, a past member of the Solomon Cup US team and a member of the selectors.  Charlie has a true love of the game and has been playing in the US Open for most of its 23 years at Mission Hills. 

Doug Grimsley played this summer in the prestigious MacRobertson Shield event in England.  The six member US team competed against three great teams representing Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand.  Four team members were playing in the US Open, Doug, Ben Rothman, Rich Lamm and Paul Bennett, one of the team's alternates.

    Local favorites: Jim Butts looks on with Bob Riddell and Bob Van Tassell during the ladder playoff.  Bob Van Tassell a new member of the Mission Hills Country Club stayed (mostly) throughout the summer in Palm Springs.  Bob ventured across the pond to play in this years British Open tournament along with Ben Rothman.

    Complete results of the US Open are posted by Leo Nikora, MHCC's newest resident.  Leo's website is spectacular, including history and game tactics.  Click HERE to see the results.
    The final standings are shown here.

    Few have come from the Repassage event to win the US Open. (I have to check with Stan Patmor and Rory Kelley to find out the statistics.)  Block play is done the first three days and the best 2 players advance to a best of three playoff while 8 players advance to the Repassage event.  The loser of the best of three drops down to meet the winner of the Repassage and the winner of that game advances to play in the Finals on Saturday against the winner of the best of three.

bennett wins the us
Photo by Arthur Bagby

    Paul calculated his odds of winning the event prior to starting play on Friday at 1%, less than the 6.25% when given equal odds against all of his opponents.  In other words, he was out-matched.  All he could think was that 80% of the folks would be unhappy by the end of the day -- only 20% would be surviving to play in the finals.  Paul tried and failed 5 sextuple peels which probably didn't increase his odds either!  On two attempts, he failed to get the leave correct.  On the other three, he only managed two or three peels.  The sextuple attempt against Rothman at the end of Friday was a definite crowd pleaser as 20 club members watched around court 2.  Definitely more practice is in order ... a great deal of fun to watch and play ... oh and by the way, those with helpful hints ... please pass them along to Paul!

Jerry Stark   The tournament was dedicated to the memory of Jerry Stark, a croquet player we miss very much.  Jerry was taken by an aggressive stomach cancer.  Jerry's last tournament was during last year's US Open.  He had been chosen to play in the MacRobertson Shield event.  Jerry spent the majority of his life enjoying and promoting the sport of croquet.  He worked at Meadowood Resort as a croquet professional.
    Jerry Stark, who died in May 2010 aged 55, started playing croquet in 1983 at the Arizona Croquet Club in Phoenix AZ.  He had been a member of all 6 MacRobertson Shield teams that Team USA has competed in.  He represented Team USA in the Solomon Trophy 9 times, the Carter Challenge 2 times and the WCF World Singles Championships 10 times and the Sonoma Cutrer World Singles Championships 7 times.
    He was the Director of Croquet at Meadowood Napa Valley for 20 years.  His favourite hobby outside of croquet was cookin’ real American Barbecue.  Married to Donna, with a son Zac and a daughter Jessie.  He will be sadly missed.

    Paul dedicates his victory to all the ones battling cancer including Nancy, Marty and Aviv. 

2010 Order of Finish
Open Flight
A Flight
B Flight
Open Plate
1. Paul Bennett
2. Brian Cuming
3. Ben Rothman
1. Steve Mossbrook
2. Conna Dixon
3. Bob Riddel
1. Toni Kemp
2. Karen Comeau
1. Leo Nikora

For more details regarding the US Open tournament,
Contact Stan Patmor, tournament manger, 602 955-1547
Ron Hendry, MHCC club president, 760
Rory Kelley, tournament director 480 990-1126
or Paul Bennett, web administrator, 602 956-8966
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