Sunday, January 29, 2012

Locals Shine in Super Senior & Tom McKinley

We had a few of our guys playing in the West Coast Super Senior Grand Prix at Sterling Oaks in Naples this past week, and a couple playing in the Tom McKinley Memorial at Cambier Park, also in Naples.

Oliver Stenger
Starting with the McKinley Memorial, Oliver Stenger, owner and head pro at Park Meadow Tennis Center, and Paul Cole, who plays out of Shadow Wood, played in the Men’s 50s at Cambier Park. Paul won his first two matches easily (6-2, 6-0), including an upset of the No.1 Seed. He then faced Oliver.

Oliver Stenger
Oliver was returning to competition after a significant layoff, and overcame deficits of 1-4, and 2-5 to win 6-4, 7-5 in his first match, and appeared to have found his groove, winning 6-4, 6-0 in his second match. However, Paul’s serve must have been working well, and he must have had his forehand working, because he took Oliver down in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3.
Eric Ernstrom

In another surprise performance, Paul took Eric Ernstrom the distance, losing 4-6, 6-0, 10-8 in the super-tiebreak. Eric is also recently back to competition after injuries, but just a couple of years ago he was the top-ranked player in USTA Florida’s Men’s 45 Rankings. Nice work from Paul and a relatively successful return to competition for Oliver.

John Jerome
John Jerome and Johann Saurbier, both of Naples, played in the Men’s 45 Division.  After winning a tough three-setter in his first match (6-4, 5-7, 10-8), John lost in straights to the No.2 Seed, Andrew Connett of Eustis, FL.

In an incredible display of stamina and perseverance, Johann won all of his matches in super-tiebreaks. He dropped the first set of his first match, took the second 7-6, then edged his opponent 11-9 in the breaker. 

Johann played again the same day against the No.1 Seed, and won the first set in another tiebreak, lost the second 2-6, then won the super-tiebreak 10-8. Johann came back the next morning and went to the third set super-tiebreak yet again, winning the match 6-3, 4-6, 11-9. Wow! I’m impressed!

A number of other locals played the event as well, including Orlando Ferrer of Naples, who administers Land Sharks Tennis online. You can check out the players and their results by clicking this link.

Armor Persons
In the Super Senior event, Armor Persons of Fort Myers, and Willy Hoffman and Andrew Bloom of Bonita Springs, and Warren Eber of Naples played singles in the Men’s 55s. 

Willy Hoffmann
Eber was seeded No.1 and upheld his seeding, losing no more than four games in any of his matches en route to winning the event. Willy lost his first match to the No.4 Seed in straight sets.

Bloom was unseeded, but he eliminated the No.2 Seed in his first match, and dispatched Armor in his second in straight sets. He eventually lost in the Final to Eber. Armor might not have had a full tank after his comeback victory over the three-seed the previous day. After winning the first set 6-4, Armor lost the second by the same score, and was down 0-4 in the third, before coming back to win 7-5.

Men’s 60s
Steve Shortridge
Steve Shortridge of Colonial, seeded third, made short work of his first two opponents,  beating Bob Oelschlager of Alexandria, VA 6-2, 6-0, and treated Pat Bologna of Niskayuna, NY like lunch meat (couldn’t resist), delivering another second-set bagel, 6-3, 6-0. Steve couldn’t get past nemesis Jared Florian, the second seed, in the semis, losing 6-2, 6-3.

Larry Turville
No.1 Seed Larry Turville of Naples, who, as recently as November of 2010, was ranked No.1 in the International Tennis Federation’s Men’s 60 Rankings, served up a double bagel to his first round opponent, gave up two games in the second round, and provided more room service in his third with another twin bagel sans cream cheese.

Jared Florian
But things got a bit dicey in the Final against Jared. Florian took the first set 7-5, and I’m sure there was a buzz around the courts. But Larry showed why he has managed to rise to the top of the international rankings, closing out the second and third sets, 6-2, 6-3.

Tom Avery and Walt Lewis of Naples both won first round singles matches as well in the Men’s 60s, but got no further.

Men’s 65s
In 65 Singles, Mike Harmon and Tom McCune, both of Naples, won first round matches before falling in their second. No other locals played this division.

Men’s 70s
Fred Drilling
Winning must be getting to be “old hat” for Fred Drilling of Estero, because he keeps, uh, drilling people!  Seeded No.1 in the 70s, Fred didn’t lose a game in his first match, lost four in his second, one in his third and two in the Final. C’mon man! Can anybody give this guy a match? I don’t wanna play him. This was Fred’s third title in a row in the Division, and no other locals made it past the first round.

Men’s 75s
No. 1 Seed Gordon Hammes of Naples didn’t have quite as easy a time defending his seeding, but he got the job done. Gordon didn’t lose more than three games in a set until he reached the semis against Jerald Hayes of Westfield, IN. 

After a 6-0 first set, Gordon had to work for a 7-5 second. He had an old-fashioned tussle in the Final with Jim Curry of Waco, TX, winning 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Gordon took two out of the three 75 Singles events of the three played in the Fort Myers/Naples area, losing in the final of the third.

Men’s 80s
Neil McDonald
No.1 Seed Neil McDonald of Naples got back to his winning ways after losing in the Final last weekend in Cape Coral. Neil won his second singles title in three tries, downing George Boyce of Lincoln, RI 6-4, 6-0 in the championship match. En route to the title, Neil tasted sweet revenge, winning a three-setter (6-4, 4-6, 6-2) against David Rothgaber of Longboat Key, who had beaten him in the Final of the Cape Coral event.

Men’s 85s
Fintan Flanagan of Naples reached the Final but lost a tough one to Fred Sarkis of Bradenton who was seeded No.1. Fintan dropped the first set 2-6, before rallying to take the second 6-4. Sarkis pulled away in the super-tiebreak, winning 10-5.

60 Doubles
Steve Shreiner & Howard Ames
Steve Shreiner, based at the Landings in Fort Myers, teamed with Howard Ames of Danvers, MA to complete his trifecta. Steve won two of the three doubles events played over the past three weeks with Howard and one with terry See of Cypress Lake in Fort Myers.

Steve and Howie overcame the only test they faced in the tourney in the final. They lost their first and only set, 3-6, in the Final against second-seeded Michael and Charles Barnes of Westminster, MD and Dunkirk, MD respectively. They took the final two sets, 6-2, 6-3.

65 Doubles
Spike Gonzales & Joe McAleer
Spike Gonzales of Naples and Joe McAleer of Bonita Springs were seeded third and trying to capture their second event in the local series, having won at Colonial Country Club. They came close, taking out the No.2 Seeds in the semis 7-5; 2-6; 6-4, but came up short in the Final, losing 6-7, 4-6 to David Nash of Bloomington, MN and Armistead Neely of Atlanta, GA.

Fred Drilling & Clive Kileff
70 Doubles
Fred Drilling of Estero was up to his old tricks in the Doubles as well. Seeded No.2, Fred and partner Clive Kileff of Signal Mountain, TN didn’t drop a set on the way to claiming their second doubles title in the three-tourney swing. In the six events (three singles, three doubles) that he entered during the swing, Fred won all three singles, two doubles, and lost in the Final of the other doubles. Not a bad three weeks of work, eh?

75 Doubles

Unseeded Daniel Kennedy of Bonita Springs and Omer Menard of Westport MA beat the top seeds in the semis then defeated the, also unseeded, team of James Foran of Darien, IL and Louis Kittlaus of Chicago, IL in the Final, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.

80 Doubles
Neil McDonald &  Ken Sinclair
Neil McDonald of Naples had a three-week stint that was second only to Fred Drillings’. In the three singles and three doubles events that he played, Neil won two of the singles and two of the doubles events, and lost in the Finals of the other two. At Sterling Oaks Neil teamed with Doug Feaver to defeat Doyle Kennedy of New Smyrna Beach and Ben Moore of Frankfort, KY 6-0, 6-0 in the Final. 

The West Coast Super Senior Grand Prix continues next week at University Park Country Club in SarasotaGame, set, match…T A 


  1. TA. Thanks for a great post and recap of all of the tennis happenings in town. It is wonderful to see all of the potential this sport has to offer. Fun competition for a lifetime.

    Sandy Miller
    Fort Myers, FL

    1. Thanks San! It's my pleasure of course.