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  • Congratulations to 2014 M.C. Mini Masters Putterz Division Champion Alex Mason!
  • Congratulations to 2014 M.C. Mini Masters Junior Division Champion Tommy Schweiss!
  • Congratulations to 2014 M.C. Mini Masters Puttz Division Champion Mick Cullen!
  • Congratulations to Nate Blazier on his first holes-in-one title!
  • And to Becca Klunder on her Most Sixes award!
Countdown to the 2015 M.C. Mini Masters
303 Days

2014 M.C. Mini Masters Final Standings

......................AF.LH.CR.CF.PB.PR..Tot
.................Par..42-50-41-40-41-41--255
Mick Cullen...........47-39-39-38-38-38--239 (-16)
Matthew Cullen........46-39-37-41-42-38--243 (-12)
R.J. Dusak............42-44-41-46-39-35--247 (- 8)
Tom Schweiss..........47-40-42-44-42-38--253 (- 2)
Alex Mason............42-41-42-47-41-46--259 (+ 4)
Dianne Cullen.........48-46-42-47-40-39--262 (+ 7)
Brady Neal............47-47-46-44-39-44--267 (+12)
Jason Gola............50-45-47-41-44-41--268 (+13)
Julie Schweiss........46-46-48-46-38-45--269 (+14)
Josh Altergott........49-45-45-47-44-42--272 (+17)
Zach Reichert.........47-52-42-46-41-44--272 (+17)
Stephanie Altergott...51-50-44-41-50-40--276 (+21)
Jake Heynis...........51-45-53-48-38-44--279 (+24)
Mark Mason............51-48-45-48-41-46--279 (+24)
Randy Voogd...........54-48-46-48-43-41--280 (+25)
Tommy Schweiss........52-52-43-47-44-43--281 (+26)
Karen Kemnitz.........49-48-42-49-43-51--282 (+27)
Taylor Schweiss.......53-53-44-47-42-44--283 (+28)
Frank Ettinger........50-43-52-49-44-46--284 (+29)
Xavier Cullen.........48-55-44-47-48-44--286 (+31)
Greg Powroznik........50-56-43-47-47-45--288 (+33)
Nate Blazier..........59-55-46-48-43-39--290 (+35)
James Morren..........52-49-51-51-43-45--291 (+36)
Andrew Miller.........48-53-50-50-48-44--293 (+38)
Renee Lee.............54-49-51-51-45-46--296 (+41)
Lacy Lindstrom........49-56-51-47-45-50--298 (+43)
Mark Garfin...........53-58-47-50-44-48--300 (+45)
Abigail Lauer.........51-55-46-48-47-53--300 (+45)
Janet Mason...........52-49-48-55-50-48--302 (+47)
Kevin Klunder.........56-53-50-48-51-45--303 (+48)
Grant Seekins.........59-51-52-50-50-48--310 (+55)
Ed Kemnitz............64-49-52-50-46-50--311 (+56)
Sara Cahill...........55-59-49-56-45-48--312 (+57)
Anita Kemnitz.........71-54-49-47-51-46--318 (+63)
Erica Mason...........64-61-49-50-47-49--320 (+65)
Chris Carmody.........63-58-57-58-50-42--328 (+73)
Eli Cullen............62-58-57-56-53-49--335 (+80)
Carolyn Howard........77-63-49-62-55-52--358(+103)
Becca Klunder.........78-72-62-61-66-54--393(+138)

Puttz Division Champion: Mick Cullen (-16)
Putterz Division Champion: Alex Mason (+4)
Junior Division Champion: Tommy Schweiss (+27)
Most holes-in-one: Nate Blazier and Matthew Cullen (9)
Most sixes: Becca Klunder (19)
Most improved: Erica Mason (22 strokes)
Rookie of the Year: Randy Voogd (+25)
Most improved course trophies: AF--Sara Cahill; LH--Alex Mason; CR--Carolyn Howard; CF--Grant Seekins; PKB--James Morren; PKR--Taylor Schweiss

2013 M.C. Mini Masters Final Standings

2013 MC Mini Masters
Final Standings
......................AF.LH.CR.CF.PB.PR..Tot
.................Par..42-50-41-40-41-41--255

Tom Schweiss..........43-40-40-40-44-40--247 (- 8)

Mick Cullen...........49-42-42-43-43-37--256 (+ 1)

Brady Neal............47-42-45-39-42-44--259 (+ 4)

Dianne Cullen.........47-46-40-39-44-44--260 (+ 5)

Jason Gola............46-41-45-45-44-41--262 (+ 7)

Karen Kemnitz.........45-45-44-41-44-44--263 (+ 8)

Jake Heynis...........41-46-44-43-50-41--265 (+10)

Andrew Miller.........49-47-46-50-40-43--275 (+20)

Carrie Donahue........50-46-46-49-43-43--277 (+22)

Alex Mason............49-48-46-46-44-44--277 (+22)

Xavy Cullen...........44-58-43-41-49-45--280 (+25)

Frank Ettinger........55-48-47-44-44-44--282 (+27)

Tommy Schweiss........53-43-53-42-48-43--282 (+27)

Josh Altergott........54-47-48-44-43-47--283 (+28)

Nate Blazier..........54-49-49-47-44-40--283 (+28)

Stephanie Altergott...55-54-45-44-46-40--284 (+29)

Mark Mason............55-51-44-47-42-45--284 (+29)

Greg Powroznik........58-46-44-45-51-47--291 (+36)

Ken Huebert...........56-45-48-45-49-49--292 (+37)

Zach Reichert.........50-56-47-47-49-44--293 (+38)

Julie Schweiss........53-56-43-49-46-46--293 (+38)

Mark Garfin...........56-50-50-54-48-40--298 (+43)

Todd Bodek............60-60-42-46-47-45--300 (+45)

Renee Lee.............52-55-51-45-52-46--301 (+46)

Jeff Schmidt..........57-47-51-58-43-46--302 (+47)

Chris Carmody.........55-61-47-51-46-46--306 (+51)

Grant Seekins.........59-47-51-57-50-45--309 (+54)

Taylor Schweiss.......62-51-44-51-51-52--311 (+56)

Janet Mason...........59-55-49-55-47-48--313 (+58)

Erica Mason...........72-60-60-58-52-40--342 (+87)

Emily Donahue.........73-54-64-57-57-46--351 (+96)

Carolyn Howard........70-68-61-61-53-48--361(+106)

 

Puttz Division Champion: Tom Schweiss (-8)

Putterz Division Champion: Brady Neal (+4)

Junior Division Champion: Xavy Cullen (+25)

Most holes-in-one: Karen Kemnitz (11)

Most sixes: Carolyn Howard and Emily Donahue (10)

Most improved: Xavy Cullen (-32 strokes)

Rookie of the year: Alex Mason (+22)

Most improved course trophies: Chris Carmody--AF, Grant Seekins--LH, Emily Donahue--PKB, Todd Bodek--PKR

Mick Cullen award winners: Zach Reichert, Andrew Miller, Grant Seekins, Ken Huebert, Mark Garfin, & Brady Neal

2012 M.C. Mini Masters Final Standings

......................AT.SW.LH.AF.PB.PR..Tot
.................Par..46-46-50-42-41-41--266
Mick Cullen...........46-36-40-46-39-38--245 (-21)
Michael Cullen........42-38-42-45-38-43--248 (-18)
Tom Schweiss..........44-36-41-44-41-46--252 (-14)
Dianne Cullen.........48-45-39-47-40-45--264 ( -2)
Matthew Cullen........45-41-41-51-40-47--265 ( -1)
Jason Gola............49-41-43-43-44-45--265 ( -1)
R.J. Dusak............54-45-44-44-40-41--268 ( +2)
Zach Reichert.........45-42-41-52-41-52--273 ( +7)
Andrew Miller.........55-52-39-50-37-42--275 ( +9)
Jake Heynis...........55-43-46-48-40-48--280 (+14)
Mark Mason............49-43-41-57-46-45--281 (+15)
Carrie Donahue........53-40-46-55-46-42--282 (+16)
Brady Neal............50-46-48-60-40-41--285 (+19)
Wil Zambole...........58-40-55-47-42-46--288 (+22)
Lisa Curran...........53-45-47-57-43-46--291 (+25)
Julie Schweiss........57-43-47-60-44-41--292 (+26)
Ursula Cullen.........50-43-55-53-44-48--293 (+27)
Karen Kemnitz.........59-47-46-51-47-48--298 (+32)
Tommy Schweiss........50-43-58-54-51-47--303 (+37)
Lee Donahue...........58-39-53-57-55-44--306 (+40)
Ginny Landt...........61-48-51-55-48-46--309 (+43)
Skip Landt............53-49-50-64-49-45--310 (+44)
Matt Landt............60-50-49-61-47-47--314 (+48)
Taylor Schweiss.......57-49-48-57-53-50--314 (+48)
Lacy Lindstrom........60-48-58-49-49-52--316 (+50)
Sara Cahill...........55-50-52-69-50-41--317 (+51)
Sharlene Hahl Lee.....51-49-49-68-49-52--318 (+52)
James Morren..........54-49-48-66-52-53--322 (+56)
Xavy Cullen...........62-48-51-55-52-55--323 (+57)
Janet Mason...........56-55-50-67-48-47--323 (+57)
Ed Kemnitz............63-56-52-58-46-49--324 (+58)
Todd Bodek............63-52-51-62-47-54--329 (+63)
Jeff Schmidt..........63-61-56-56-46-51--333 (+67)
Grant Seekins.........60-56-63-63-49-42--333 (+67)
Chris Carmody.........62-58-55-70-52-39--337 (+71)
Anita Kemnitz.........68-49-57-62-55-52--343 (+77)
Carolyn Howard........76-54-61-60-56-50--357 (+91)
Harold Davidson.......70-57-64-81-53-49--374(+108)
Carl Cutler...........59-43-60-57-WD (+35)
Fran Landt............70-56-58-63-WD (+63)

Puttz Division Champion: Mick Cullen (-21)
Putterz Division Champion: Dianne Cullen (-2)
Junior Division Champion: Tommy Schweiss (+37)
Most holes-in-one: Mark Mason and Mick Cullen (12)
Most sixes: Jeff Schmidt (14)
Most improved: James Morren (-21 strokes)
Rookie of the year: Mark Mason (+15)
Most improved course trophies: Tommy Schweiss-AT, Anita Kemnitz-SW, Chris Carmody-LH, Ginny Landt-AF and PKR, Carolyn Howard-PKB
Mick Cullen Award winner: Lacy Lindstrom

The 16th Annual M.C. Mini Masters is upon us!

Are you ready, folks?! This year's tournament features a record-tying 40 competitors, including 8 rookies, 4 people over the age of 60, and 3 people under the age of 12. All five former champions are in the field for the first time since 2007, and there will be six different courses again for the first time since 2009, thanks to the inclusion of Aloha Falls (formerly Libertyville Park District). The par is the lowest in MCMM history (266), so last year's impressive under-par totals will be hard to match. It's going to be a warm, potentially rainy day, so get ready for anything! See you on the 1st tee!

2011 M.C. Mini Masters Final Standings

......................AT.SW.SW.LH.PB.PR..Tot
.................Par..46-46-46-50-41-41--270
Mick Cullen...........41-39-37-42-41-36--236 (-34)
Matthew Cullen........46-36-38-39-44-44--247 (-23)
Tom Schweiss..........51-38-36-47-40-35--247 (-23)
Michael Cullen........56-41-37-36-36-42--248 (-22)
Jason Gola............52-39-38-39-44-38--250 (-20)
Dan Lee...............47-42-38-40-41-43--251 (-19)
Stephanie Altergott...50-42-42-43-39-42--258 (-12)
Dianne Cullen.........56-43-39-42-40-43--263 ( -7)
Zach Reichert.........54-44-41-48-42-40--269 ( -1)
Josh Altergott........47-40-43-52-46-45--273 ( +3)
Andrew Miller.........48-43-49-44-48-48--280 (+10)
Ursula Cullen.........56-44-44-49-41-46--280 (+10)
Karen Kemnitz.........59-43-43-54-45-37--281 (+11)
Julie Schweiss........60-45-43-44-46-47--285 (+15)
Jake Heynis...........52-41-43-58-49-45--288 (+18)
Carrie McGowan........63-40-48-47-48-43--289 (+19)
Lisa Curran...........59-45-50-46-45-45--290 (+20)
Lee Donahue...........59-50-39-58-44-44--294 (+24)
Wil Zambole...........65-47-47-49-50-38--296 (+26)
Sara Cahill...........61-52-44-50-46-44--297 (+27)
James Hamilton........51-55-54-46-45-48--299 (+29)
Carl Cutler...........58-52-45-53-46-49--303 (+33)
Ken Huebert...........59-55-49-52-51-48--314 (+44)
Ginny Landt...........60-60-48-53-48-55--324 (+54)
Tommy Schweiss........61-59-57-46-51-53--327 (+57)
Taylor Schweiss.......62-61-54-53-49-53--332 (+62)
Oreana Nieves.........67-51-56-60-47-51--332 (+62)
Xavy Cullen...........60-56-59-58-55-45--333 (+63)
James Morren..........78-51-60-52-62-44--347 (+77)
Emily Donahue.........76-61-54-65-66-65--377(+107)

Puttz Division Champion: Mick Cullen (-34)
Putterz Division Champion: Jason Gola (-20)
Junior Division Champion: Tommy Schweiss (+57)
Most holes-in-one: Mick Cullen (12)
Most holes-in-one trophy winner: Dan Lee (10)
Most sixes: Emily Donahue (15)
Most improved: Ginny Landt (-50 strokes)
Rookie of the year: Lee Donahue (+24)
Most improved course trophies: AT--Jake Heynis, SW--Jake Heynis, LH--Andrew Miller, PKB--Carl Cutler, PKR--Xavy Cullen

15th ANNUAL M.C. MINI MASTERS!

June 11, 2011
Rosemont, IL-

Newly appointed co-director Matthew Cullen announced yesterday that there will be a new format for the 2011 M.C. Mini Masters tournament. The tournament will include two divisions, the aptly named Puttz Division for all past tournament champs and the Putterz Division for the rest of the MCMM field. Cullen stated the divisional breakdown would allow a greater chance for the general public to win the tournament.

"The top four minigolfers over the past four or five years has remained pretty consistent. With only five different overall winners in course history, we thought it would be a great way to distribute more prizes in the tournament's big anniversary year. Of course if you are really serious and want to join the Puttz Division, it is open for anyone. It is required, however, for all past tournament winners. My father and I have been talking about all the awesome changes we would make to the tournament, but this really seems to be the one we stuck with. It has been in the works for a year and I recently decided to go ahead with the plan without even running it by my father first. As an adult, I don't have to ask his permission for everything. But it probably would have been nice to get his agreement in the matter."

Cullen is referring of course to his father Michael who has been co-organizing the tournament this year as founder Mick Cullen stepped down from the role after last year's tournament. Cullen was unavailable for comment about why he chose to have brother and father Cullen co-direct the tourney this year. However, it is believed to have something to do with tacos.

The divisional announcement came amid speculation that past winners have been involved in a putter tampering scheme. Recent allegations have come out that the Cullen men, as well as Tom Schweiss, have employeed various methods to increase putter performance, including corking putters, the use of bat tar past a certain point on the shaft of the putter, and rockets. While the rules clearly do not address any of these aforementioned tactics, the rumors have had quite an impact on the miniature golf community and the MCMM champions themselves. When asked about the allegations and how he was dealing with the it all, three-time champion Schweiss stated, "....What? I'm fine. What are you talking about? Can I go back to my yacht now?" Clearly distraught, we can only guess as to what kind of impact this has on his young family.

This same scandal may have been what drove one-time champion and perennial contender RJ Dusak not only from the tournament but from the face of the earth, never to be heard from again. When asked to comment, Cullen stated, "Who RJ? That's not true. I see him once a week for hockey, we're on the same team." Cullen is obviously delusional.

2010 M.C. Mini Masters Final Standings

......................AT.SW.SW.LH.PB.PR..Tot
.................Par..46-46-46-50-41-41--270
Matthew Cullen........44-43-42-40-40-34--243 (-27)
Tom Schweiss..........46-40-37-40-43-41--247 (-23)
Michael Cullen........46-43-39-39-40-41--248 (-22)
Mick Cullen...........47-42-37-45-43-35--249 (-21)
Dianne Cullen.........49-42-39-42-42-43--257 (-13)
Dan Lee...............47-44-41-49-40-42--263 ( -7)
Jason Gola............50-44-45-46-42-39--266 ( -4)
Ursula Cullen.........49-44-42-44-45-43--267 ( -3)
Julie Schweiss........52-48-41-48-43-45--277 ( +7)
Lisa Curran...........57-44-44-46-45-46--282 (+12)
Zach Reichert.........60-45-45-43-45-50--288 (+18)
Brandon Gray..........55-46-47-52-44-48--292 (+22)
Andrew Miller.........52-48-54-56-45-40--295 (+25)
Karen Kemnitz.........64-49-43-50-43-47--296 (+26)
Jake Heynis...........55-48-46-58-51-43--301 (+31)
Sharlene Lee..........62-48-50-54-44-43--301 (+31)
Naomi Sharani.........58-46-46-52-54-48--304 (+34)
Stephanie Santos Gray.58-49-55-52-50-51--315 (+45)
Ken Huebert...........62-56-51-63-47-39--318 (+48)
John Arend............68-43-47-62-52-49--321 (+51)
Carl Cutler...........61-54-49-60-55-45--324 (+54)
Amy DeGraw............67-57-54-54-53-48--333 (+63)
Julie Heslop..........55-59-49-65-52-53--333 (+63)
Xavy Cullen...........62-53-63-61-51-56--346 (+76)
Laura Ballinger.......67-59-49-68-52-55--350 (+80)
Liza Hetz.............64-60-52-64-61-54--355 (+85)
Chris Carmody.........66-57-61-66-60-49--359 (+89)
Carolyn Howard........68-58-62-66-69-54--377 (+107)
Ben Lee...............77-72-74-58-55-58--394 (+124)

Most holes-in-one: Ursula Cullen (10)
Most sixes: Ben Lee (17)
Most improved: Zach Reichert (-30 strokes)
Rookie of the year: Brandon Gray (+22)


2009 M.C. Mini Masters Final Standings

......................AT.SW.LH.RF.PB.PR..Tot
.................Par..46-46-50-44-41-41--268
Tom Schweiss..........45-40-39-39-35-42--240 (-28)
Mick Cullen...........49-41-43-41-42-40--256 (-12)
Michael Cullen........44-44-46-39-41-45--259 ( -9)
Matthew Cullen........55-49-43-43-40-34--264 ( -4)
Ed Montano............53-44-47-37-39-44--264 ( -4)
Dan Lee...............50-42-42-45-43-45--267 ( -1)
Jason Gola............48-46-45-44-46-40--269 ( +1)
Dianne Cullen.........53-39-43-47-49-40--271 ( +3)
Carrie McGowan........53-40-47-46-45-46--277 ( +9)
Stephanie Altergott...41-54-47-46-43-46--277 ( +9)
Ursula Cullen.........51-44-52-45-40-47--279 (+11)
Lisa Curran...........56-44-47-44-50-43--284 (+16)
Scott Mikrut..........51-44-46-49-50-47--287 (+19)
Julie Schweiss........59-43-50-50-49-37--288 (+20)
Karen Kemnitz.........50-46-48-48-54-43--289 (+21)
Heather Mikrut........45-47-52-49-47-54--294 (+26)
Josh Altergott........50-50-48-49-57-42--296 (+28)
Ed Kemnitz............60-46-50-46-55-46--303 (+35)
Andrew Miller.........58-51-55-47-49-43--303 (+35)
Kate Bieda............61-52-50-47-49-53--312 (+44)
Amy DeGraw............58-48-60-54-52-40--312 (+44)
Zach Reichert.........66-43-53-52-51-51--316 (+48)
John Arend............61-50-51-49-63-45--319 (+51)
Mary Kemnitz..........60-50-61-49-62-47--329 (+61)
Sharlene Lee..........62-59-50-50-56-55--332 (+64)
Anita Kemnitz.........62-64-59-56-61-46--348 (+80)
Chris Carmody.........65-71-64-53-56-49--358 (+90)
Ben Lee...............77-70-57-62-64-54--384 (+116)
Carolyn Howard........75-78-67-56-66-53--395 (+127)


Most holes-in-one: Ed Montano (7)
Most sixes: Carolyn Howard (16)
Most improved: Ed Kemnitz (-25 strokes)
Rookie of the year: Ed Montano (-4)

MCMM course lineup announced

June 1, 2009
After playing the newly-reopened Sisolak's West course in Beach Park this weekend, tourney director Mick Cullen has announced that the course lineup for the 13th annual M.C. Mini Masters is finalized. Though the course is still being rehabilitated, it is already in good shape and is expected to be fully ready by tournament day June 27.
"It brought back a ton of memories to be playing the old west course at Sisolak's," Cullen said. "We are thrilled to welcome it back into the Mini Masters fold." Sisolak's West will replace the now-closed Congo River, and the relocated Rocky's Fun House in Waukegan will replace the one that was closed down in Gurnee. Sisolak's West's reentry means the Mini Masters still has three of its original six courses in the lineup.
For the first time in history, the tourney will open at Action Territory. The starting time is still 9am, as the staff at Action Territory have been kind enough to agree to an extra-early opening to accommodate the Mini Masters' need to get an early start. Action Territory is now the only course that has been in the MCMM all thirteen years.
After Action Territory, the merry parade will progress to Sisolak's for 18 holes. The west course returns to the Mini Masters for the first time since 2003. Lighthouse, in its 12th MCMM appearance, will host the third round. The new Rocky's Fun House makes its initial foray into the lineup for round number four, and the final two rounds will be played at Par-King in Lincolnshire again this year.
Thirty-two players have signed up for the MCMM already, making it the largest field since 2005's record of 37. Entries are now capped at 36.

13th annual MCMM course lineup not yet finalized

May 26, 2009
With less than five weeks to go before the thirteenth installment of the M.C. Mini Masters, tourney director Mick Cullen has yet to announce the day's official schedule of courses. "A number of factors have complicated the process this year," said Cullen, "but the most significant is the closing of the annual opening course, Congo River."
Congo River announced this winter that it had sold out to Honda, who will demolish the course in favor of an auto dealership. This leaves neighboring Action Territory in Kenosha as the only course which will have been included in the Mini Masters every year it's been contested. Lighthouse was banished from the lineup for one year, 2005, due to poor maintenance and upkeep, but returned the next year when ownership changed hands and the course was vastly refurbished.
This means that Action Territory will open the 2009 Mini Masters-- a tough test with which to start the day, to be sure. From there, things get tricky. Rocky's Fun House's Gurnee location has been shut down, though they have opened another black-light indoor miniature golf course at their Waukegan location. It is officially a different course, as most of the holes do not mimic holes from the old Gurnee course. In all likelihood, the second course of the day will be Lighthouse, with the third round taking place at the new Waukegan Rocky's location.
Kristof's in Round Lake Beach and Lambs Farm in Libertyville were both considered as potential sites for the MCMM this year, but each has been officially eliminated from contention. Cullen cited poor upkeep and occasionally hazardous playing conditions for the continued exclusion of Kristof's from the lineup in 2009. Lambs Farm's candidacy reportedly struggled due to poor conditions (including some cups filled with dirty water) and their unusually early closing hour of 5:00pm.
There exists a good chance the tournament will return to Ballybunion (pictured above left) in Long Grove for the first time since their two-year stint in 2004-05. Despite their high price and ownership that, in the past, has been unresponsive to group rate requests, they are conveniently located just minutes from Par-King and have a number of challenging holes that test even seasoned MCMM veterans. Insiders say Cullen has already made one stop there this spring and plans another to see if the course is being kept up.
It is also relatively certain the tournament will end with two rounds at Par-King in Lincolnshire for the second straight year. The locale proved to be a popular and enjoyable place to end the tournament last year, and their staff certainly made the competitors feel welcome.
If the likely schedule is Action Territory, Lighthouse, Rocky's Fun House, Ballybunion, and two rounds at Par-King, what could potentially change that? There are two factors that may come into play.
First of all, Cullen is reportedly still considering one oddball plan that could see the first two rounds played at Action Territory and Lighthouse, the middle two at Par-King, and the final two at Novelty Golf in Lincolnwood. He is traveling to Novelty Golf next weekend to evaluate the viability of their courses for the tournament. Since this would entail more driving distance than any previous MCMM, Cullen has said he would need to feel a very compelling case could be made for Novelty Golf.
The second possibility is one that would excite many Mini Masters veterans. Sisolak's Golf-a-rama in Beach Park has been purchased and is currently being rehabilitated. The property has an "Opening Soon" sign up, plenty of fresh paint has been applied, and new greens have been laid on all 18 holes of the west course. "It looks like they could have the west course playable by tournament day," Cullen said, noting that the east course was still in complete disarray and he didn't see its completion by the end of June as a possibility. "Still, even just the glimmer of hope that Sisolak's could reenter the tournament in 2010 is a reason for all MCMM players to be excited."
Cullen said he plans to make a final determination on the course lineup by June 6. Keep checking the official M.C. Mini Masters website for details.

Rocky's Fun House closes

July 10, 2008
Rocky's Fun House, the third course of the Mini Masters for each of the last four years, has closed its doors permanently. This makes it the fourth MCMM course to shut down during the tournament's history and the second to both open and close since the Mini Masters started in 1997.
Potential 2009 replacements for Rocky's include two former MCMM courses, Kristof's in Round Lake Beach and Ballybunion in Long Grove, as well as Lambs Farm in Mundelein. The price of the tournament may be lowered to $45 and the group will likely seek lunch at an eatery near Lighthouse Miniature Golf in Waukegan.

Schweiss takes second MCMM title

Tom Schweiss (elegantly pictured at right) won his second M.C. Mini Masters title Saturday. I knew you guys would want a story here, but I'm too tired to write one right now. I'll write one later. Yay Tom!
Here are the final standings.

2008 MC Mini Masters
Final Standings
......................CR.AT.RF.LH.PB.PR..Tot
.................Par..45-46-46-50-41-41--269
Tom Schweiss..........40-45-40-42-41-38--246 (-23)
Matthew Cullen........40-51-40-40-40-39--250 (-19)
Michael Cullen........40-50-40-41-40-42--253 (-16)
Mick Cullen...........42-41-49-40-42-40--254 (-15)
Jason Gola............36-47-43-44-43-41--254 (-15)
Dianne Cullen.........45-46-42-45-44-45--267 (-2)
Carrie McGowan........45-49-41-47-43-43--268 (-1)
Ursula Nieves.........39-57-44-50-41-42--273 (+4)
Stephanie Altergott...46-49-45-46-42-46--274 (+5)
Josh Altergott........47-54-49-47-41-42--280 (+11)
Diego Gallego.........46-51-50-51-42-43--283 (+14)
Julie Schweiss........42-51-51-50-48-45--287 (+18)
Scott Mikrut..........50-52-49-47-45-45--288 (+19)
Lisa Curran...........48-51-49-50-49-48--291 (+22)
Nathaniel Marx........42-53-51-44-53-49--292 (+23)
Gretchen Kellough.....50-56-56-49-48-45--304 (+35)
Heather Mikrut........45-58-53-48-52-49--305 (+36)
Michael Arf...........51-58-53-49-49-46--306 (+37)
Sharlene Lee..........48-61-50-52-50-46--307 (+38)
Sharon Bull...........54-60-53-62-45-43--317 (+48)
Jake Heynis...........55-61-47-50-51-54--318 (+49)
Katie Wood............55-62-56-50-54-50--327 (+58)
Dan Morris............54-63-51-65-49-53--335 (+66)
Jeff Bull.............58-60-53-61-60-53--345 (+76)

Bob returns to interview tourney director Mick Cullen

Bob interviews Mick Cullen, MC Minimasters tournament director and 2002 Champion.



Bob: Umm....What am I interviewing you for?

Mick: I think it would be about the 12th annual MC Mini Masters tournament we are playing in a couple of weeks.

Bob: Who’s Emcee Minimasters, and what kind of tournament is it?

Mick: MC as in the initials of my name, not an M.C. that spins records, and the tournament is for miniature golf.

Bob: Oh, so you’re the DJ. Is it like a miniature golf dance-off?

Mick: I’m not a DJ and it’s a six-course miniature golf tournament played in one day.

Bob: Wait...I don’t think any clubs will allow you to play miniature golf while people are dancing.

Mick: The clubs we will be using are putters. You’re sidetracked and not paying attention.

Bob: You’re just talking crazy. You can’t bring putters into clubs, you’ll put somebody’s eye out!

Mick: I’m gonna put your eye out, moron.

Bob: Okay, psycho. So tell me why this is the 12 annual tournament dancing golf thing.

Mick: Umm....cause this is the 12th time we’ve done it....and it has nothing to do with dancing. It’s just miniature golf. Played at six different courses. One day. There will be 24 people participating. We have awards for best overall score, most holes-in-one, most sixes, rookie of the year, most improved, best score for each course, and most improved for each course.

Bob: Are the awards like cash money?

Mick: No, each award will get a trophy of some kind. Of course the overall tournament winner will also get the Ugly Jacket. It’s our version of the Masters' Green Jacket.

Bob: You mean the Green Jacket isn’t ugly?

Mick: Well....that's a good point, actually...it is ugly, but it’s not the same ugly jacket we use.

Bob: Okay....I missed something in there....oh well....So what day is this “dance the ugly jacket off a golf course” taking place?

Mick: For those of you who are paying attention, the tournament will start in Kenosha at Congo River at 9 AM, and will finish in Lincolnshire at Par-King around 10:00 PM. We will have a pizza lunch at the third location, the cost of which is paid by part of your entrance fee.

Bob: OH! So it’s like a golfing pizza disco dance party! How much is the cover charge?

Mick: You’re an idiot...the fee is $50. There are some spots still available if people are still interested, but they should reserve their spots quick. You can’t come.

Bob: (to a radio tech) $50, this guy’s nuts, no one is going to pay that much money to dance on a golf course. I don’t want to go anyway, I can do that for free.

Radio Tech: (whispering) Bob, shut up and finish the interview before you make us all dumber.

Bob: That’s an attitude that’s uncalled for.....Anyway....So Mitch, I would like to thank you for coming in…

Mick: It’s Mick.

Bob: Sorry, you can join Nick on Saturday June 28th for...

Mick: No, MICK, with an M.

Bob: Nick isn’t spelled with an M.

Mick: No but my name isn’t Nick.

Bob: Sure it is.

Mick: Good-bye.

Bob: (walking away with voice getting quieter) Can’t believe this guy doesn’t even know his own name. I mean really......Hello? Why are the lights turned off and where is everybo.....

Most improved trophies to be awarded for individual MCMM courses

June 11, 2008
Tournament director Mick Cullen announced today that for the first time, the most improved golfer on each individual course will be honored with a trophy this year. The awards will be given out at the end of the day in the closing trophy ceremonies. How will they be doled out? Read on!
First of all, anyone who was won or tied for the low score on a course in a previous MCMM is forever barred from receiving a Most Improved trophy for that course. Secondly, the overall Most Improved golfer of the year cannot take away any individual most improved trophies. After those individuals have been eliminated from contention, the non-rookie player who shot a round the most strokes below his/her previous best score on that course will receive the Most Improved trophy for that round. Tiebreakers, if necessary, will be the same as those used to determine scratch winners of each course. Since there are two new courses in the Mini Masters this year, that means that four of these new trophies will be awarded in 2008.

Course lineup finalized

May 1, 2008
Happy May Day, everyone! The Mini Masters has finalized its course lineup for the 12th edition of the tournament, scheduled for Saturday, June 28, 2008. As always, the day will begin at 9:00am at Congo River in Kenosha, Wisconsin, followed by round two at Action Territory right next door. From there, we will travel for a fourth year to a course that is now operating under its third different name: Rocky's Fun House in Gurnee. The decorations have changed, but the holes haven't. Par has also been established there as 46, including the first ever par-one hole in Mini Masters history (the 18th), which now has different scoring than ever before.
After a pizza lunch at Rocky's, the merry parade moves on to Lighthouse in Waukegan, enjoying its 11th Mini Masters out of 12. That's where things get different. We will be playing our fifth and sixth rounds at Par-King in Lincolnshire. Round five will be on their Black Course, and the final round will use their Red Course. The 18th hole roulette wheels will not come into play, as the designated Wacky Hole on each course will be played once in Wacky Hole style and once in regular style. If you haven't played Par-King, you're in for a treat. Sign up for the Mini Masters before it's too late!

Par King joins the M.C. Mini Masters lineup

April 16, 2008
Tournament Director Mick Cullen announced today that the Red Course at Par King in Lincolnshire, Illinois has been named the final course of this year's M.C. Mini Masters. Par King replaces Libertyville Sports Complex, the final course in five of the last six installments of the tournament, which closed its doors permanently last August.
Additionally, Cullen noted that Kristof's in Round Lake Beach was in danger of once again losing its spot in the lineup due to poor course maintenance. An unnamed course is being considered for the fifth stop of the day. If that course does not work out and the maintenance problems at Kristof's are not resolved, it's possible the Black Course at Par-King could be employed instead. A final decision will likely be made in the next month.
The 12th Annual M.C. Mini Masters is scheduled for Saturday, June 28, 2008. Defending champion Matthew Cullen is set to defend his Ugly Jacket against a field of 30-36 putters.

Ugly Jacket is passed from father to son...for a second time

June 30, 2007
The 11th annual MC Mini Masters saw Matthew Cullen win the year after his father for the second time in seven tournaments. Michael Cullen, who won the tournament last year and five times before that, including the first four Mini Masters, is no longer the only person to have won the tournament more than once. Matthew just edged out RJ Dusak by one stroke to take the trophy with 25 strokes under par, one stroke more than his personal best in the tournament. His triumph this year comes after an article in Pioneer Press showcased the tournament and the Cullen family’s love for miniature golf earlier in the week. The last time the Mini Masters was featured in a newspaper, Matthew won his first tournament title, shooting 18 under par and beating his brother Mick Cullen by one stroke and Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn by two strokes.
The day started out with Dusak and Tom Schweiss both shooting 41 at Congo River, with Schweiss getting the trophy due to more holes-in-one. Matthew Cullen and Dan Lee were one stroke off that lead, while Stephanie Altergott and newcomer Ursula Nieves were only one stroke behind them. Schweiss continued to have the hot putter, carding a 40 at Action Territory, tying the record for that course and establishing his lead over the field. Matthew and Dusak shot a 43 and 44 respectively, putting them in a tie for second overall. The only other score of par or better at Action Territory was shot by Mick Cullen with a 46.
People’s Choice gave way to the first sub-40 rounds of this year’s tourney. Dusak took the course trophy with a 37, with Matthew and Elisa Cullen getting 38s, and Mick and Michael shooting 39. The breakdown of the leaderboard had Dusak in front, with a one-stroke lead over Schweiss and Matthew, Mick in fourth 6 strokes behind his brother and Tom, and Lee in 5th with Michael trailing him by one. Lighthouse also allowed sub-40 rounds, with Matthew winning the course title this year with a 37, and Michael and Lee each shooting a 39.
Kristof’s was host to the first time in tournament history in which the winner was determined by the second tiebreaker, most holes under par. It was also the first course to be won by a former Most Sixes winner, Lisa Curran, who put up an impressive 41. Michael also shot 41, with Mick shooting a 42 and Dusak shooting a 43. The final foursomes were thus determined and set the stage for an amazing final round. It was almost guaranteed there would be a repeat champion as all five of those who sat atop the leaderboard had won a previous tournament. In fact, the final foursome consisted entirely of former champions for the first time in an MCMM.
Libertyville has been the bane of many tournament-goers' existence (or at least a pain-in-the-neck on tournament day) since its inclusion in 2002. Dusak scored a four on the first hole at Libertyville to fall three back, but was able to rally to tie it back up following a two at the Wacky Hole, the 11th. Dusak looked like he'd fall out of that tie after his tee shot at 12 found the gap on the bridge, but he was able to score a 4 to Matthew Cullen's 5 as Matt ended up out of bounds after his second shot. Matthew tied it up on the 13th when an unlucky bounce off a rock on the 13th hole put Dusak in a precarious position, forcing him to take a three, while Matthew sunk a nice shot from the sand trap to give him a two for the tie. On the 13th, Cullen got it through the wrong log, but still bested Dusak, who was unable to shoot the ball down either log, unluckily ending up with the ball directly between the two logs. Matt sank a long putt for a two to Dusak's three and had the lead with four holes to go.
After missing a long putt for two that would have tied it up on 17, it came down to the 18th again for Dusak. Matthew went ahead of him and scored a quick two. Unlike the ace he needed to secure his championship over Schweiss in 2005, RJ needed a hole-in-one just to tie Cullen and force a playoff. The rock, however, was not in his favor this time and he had to settle for a two and second place in the tournament. Libertyville had a three-way tie for first, with Schweiss, Dusak, and Matthew all shooting 45. The title for the course had to go to the second tie-breaker for the second time in the tournament and the second time in Mini Masters history. With Schweiss and Dusak each getting one ace on the course, it was determined that Dusak had more holes under par, giving him his second course trophy of the day. Schweiss was third overall for the day with 19 under par and Mick finished with a 13-under score to take fourth.
Since Matthew won the tournament, he was excluded from the holes-in-one trophy race, which went to Schweiss with 6 aces. Most sixes went to Michael Arf, who took the birdhouse with only 10 sixes, the second-lowest winning total in MCMM history. Rookie of the year went to Ursula Nieves, whose highlight was an impressive 43 at the opening course of the tournament. The most improved trophy went to Dan Lee, as he shaved 31 strokes off his previous best tournament score.
The top ten included Michael Cullen in fifth place with 9 under, Lee in sixth with 6 under, Stephanie Altergott and Elisa Cullen tied in seventh with 5 over, Carrie McGowan in ninth with 7 over, and Karen Kemnitz rounding it off at tenth with a 14-over finish. Altergott was battling the sickness of her pregnancy throughout the day and was still able to post a score in the top ten, breaking the previous record for score and ranking by a pregnant player (held by Elisa Cullen).
The 2008 M.C. Mini Masters, with one course in the lineup yet to be determined, will take place on Saturday, June 28, 2008.

2007 MC Mini Masters
Final Standings
......................CR.AT.PC.LH.KR.LV..Tot
.................Par..45-46-43-50-44-47--275
Matt Cullen...........42-43-38-37-45-45--250 (-25)
R.J. Dusak............41-44-37-41-43-45--251 (-24)
Tom Schweiss..........41-40-42-41-47-45--256 (-19)
Mick Cullen...........44-46-39-42-42-49--262 (-13)
Michael Cullen........50-47-39-39-41-50--266 (-9)
Dan Lee...............42-50-43-39-46-49--269 (-6)
Stephanie Altergott...43-49-46-44-48-50--280 (+5)
Elisa Cullen..........47-48-38-54-45-48--280 (+5)
Carrie McGowan........49-54-45-41-47-46--282 (+7)
Karen Kemnitz.........44-48-45-50-54-48--289 (+14)
Lisa Curran...........48-61-48-42-41-54--294 (+19)
Jason Gola............51-56-42-47-48-50--294 (+19)
D.H. Gallego..........45-47-49-45-52-59--297 (+22)
Wil Zambole...........48-61-47-43-45-53--297 (+22)
Josh Altergott........49-51-49-46-51-52--298 (+23)
Dianne Cullen.........52-53-44-50-44-57--300 (+25)
Ursula Nieves.........43-58-47-51-54-56--309 (+34)
Julie Schweiss........55-53-48-47-57-51--311 (+36)
Maria Gola............52-62-51-50-46-57--318 (+43)
Kim Zambole...........52-56-45-56-50-62--321 (+46)
Ed Kemnitz............53-60-50-53-52-67--335 (+60)
Michael Arf...........50-61-51-63-52-59--336 (+61)
Mary Kemnitz..........49-69-55-49-58-56--336 (+61)
Anita Kemnitz.........55-56-52-56-56-62--337 (+62)
Jake Heynis...........56-62-47-47-64-62--338 (+63)

Most holes-in-one: Matt Cullen (7)
Most sixes: Michael Arf (10)
Most improved: Dan Lee (-31 strokes)
Rookie of the year: Ursula Nieves

11th annual MCMM to be Libertyville's swan song

May 25, 2007
The 11th annual M.C. Mini Masters, scheduled for June 30, 2007, will feature the same course lineup as the 2006 tourney, marking the first time the tourney has kept the same course lineup in back-to-back years since 2002-03. However, it also will be the end of Libertyville Sports Complex's involvement in the MCMM, as the complex's devilish miniature golf course will be closing in August, bought out by a commercial developer.
This will make Libertyville the third MCMM course to close its doors, and the first to both open and cease operations during the MCMM's run. Libertyville has come to rival Action Territory as the tournament's most punishing proving ground of putting prowess. It has also been host to many historical Mini Masters moments...
2002: In the first year of Libertyville's involvement in the MCMM, tourney founder Mick Cullen comes from behind in the last round to upend his brother, defending champion Matt Cullen, to win his only MCMM crown.
2003: Tom Schweiss takes his only MCMM title, but not before seeing a 7-shot lead with 12 holes to go melt away to nothing with three holes remaining, then besting hard-charging Dale Hanson by a stroke on the 16th and tying him on the 17th and 18th to take the championship by one.
2005: Karen Kemnitz records the Mini Masters' 1,000th hole-in-one on Libertyville's 2nd hole. To date, her ace remains the only one on that hole in MCMM history.
2005: R.J. Dusak records the most important, clutch hole-in-one in tournament history, acing Libertyville's 18th (pictured above left) to win the tournament by a single stroke over Schweiss.
2006: Michael Cullen breaks his own tournament record for low total score by posting a 43 at Libertyville for a total score of 243, 32 under par, as he wins his sixth Ugly Jacket.
Libertyville will thankfully still be open for play on June 30. It will serve as the tournament's closing course for a fifth and final time. Kristof's is the only other course to serve as an ending location for the tournament, doing so the other six years of the MCMM. Next year, the closing course is likely to be one that is brand new to the Mini Masters.
This year's field will include five M.C. Mini Masters champions and at least 24 other players. As of May 31, twenty-nine players have committed and several others are interested.
The other courses involved this year, as in 2006, are Congo River, Action Territory, People's Choice (formerly Monster Golf), Lighthouse, and Kristof's. Congo and Action will be celebrating their 11th year of inclusion in the MCMM, Lighthouse its 10th, Kristof's its 9th, and People's Choice its third.
The entry cost of the tournament this year is again $40. If you are interested in playing in the Mini Masters, contact Mick Cullen at mcminimasters@netzero.com.

10th annual MCMM shows history does repeat

July 29, 2006
Apparently Michael Cullen is not content to have only half of all Mini Masters championships.
For the second time in three years, Michael (pictured at right) refused to let his career winning percentage fall to a mere .500, taking his sixth M.C. Mini Masters title in the tourney's ten years. To top it off, Michael broke his own career scoring record by posting a 32-under 243, 20 strokes better than last year's winning total and a full 15 strokes ahead of second place finisher Mick Cullen.
On the hottest day in tournament history, Michael never trailed, becoming the first wire-to-wire winner since he accomplished the feat in 2000. He tied the tourney record with a 38 at Congo River, one stroke ahead of Aaron Hanson, and he was just getting started. Matt Cullen broke the Action Territory record with a round of 40, climbing to second place, two strokes behind his father. Aaron Hanson sat four strokes back and Mick Cullen six behind at that point.
Tom Schweiss jumped into the fray by successfully defending his title at Monster Golf with a 40. The only other player under par on the course was rookie Mike Halls (42), with Michael and Mick Cullen and Schweiss's wife Julie shooting even-par 43s. Perennial contender Dale Hanson became a casualty of the heat after the indoor round at the Monster, withdrawing due to dehydration worries. The field was thereby trimmed to 26, its lowest since 1999.
Lighthouse was next, making a return to the tourney lineup after a one-year hiatus. What a return it was, as Lighthouse played host to some tournament history. First of all, Michael Cullen had a virtuoso putting performance, carding a 36-- the 2nd-lowest round in MCMM history and a new course record. However, he was overshadowed by Stephanie Altergott, who was playing the tournament of her life, making an historic circuit at the Waukegan course. Altergott became the first person in Mini Masters history to record five holes-in-one in a round as she shot a 37-- the first-ever sub-40 round by a female. Unbelievably, her record-breaking fifth ace came on the 10th hole, a hole no one in MCMM history had ever holed in one. Her other aces included a Wacky Ace at the 11th, back-to-back aces at #3 and #4, and almost as astounding as her ace of the 10th, a hole-in-one on the 13th. The 13th hole had not allowed an ace since 2003, and in fact, had surrendered only three aces in MCMM history-- one to Altergott herself in 1999. Altergott also pushed herself all the way up to second place entering the fifth round, just ahead of Mick Cullen and Tom Schweiss. Her five aces also gave her ten through four rounds, tied for the MCMM single-day record.
Also at Lighthouse, rookie Kim Zambole made MCMM history by acing the 16th hole to become the first-ever player to pull off an Ace on Demand. Zambole had drawn the 16th hole as one of her three potential prize holes at the day's inception.
Mick Cullen took home his first course title trophy in 3 years by tying the course record at Kristof's, posting a 38. Unfortunately, Michael's 40 meant Mick gained only 2 strokes and his father entered the final round with a 10-stroke lead on the field. With little drama other than whether he would break his own scoring record, Michael calmly shot a 43 to garner his third course title of the day and break both the record for most strokes under par (32) and best stroke total (243).
Mick Cullen finished in second at -17, Tom Schweiss in third a stroke behind him, Matt Cullen in fourth at -10 and Stephanie Altergott took fifth with a total of 8-under. Altergott became the highest female finisher since Dianne Cullen took 5th (also out of 26) in 1999. The only other players to finish under par were Aaron Hanson (-2, 6th place) and Jason Gola (-1, 7th). Carrie McGowan (+6, 8th), Dianne Cullen (+8, 9th) and Dan Lee (+16, 10th) rounded out the top ten. Lee and Altergott joined Michael Cullen with the distinction of posting their career-best scores, a claim also staked by Julie Schweiss, Mary Kemnitz, Michael Arf and Katie Wood.
Arf took home the Most Improved trophy by slicing 47 strokes off his previous score, beating out Mary Kemnitz (42). Mary, however, made an historic improvement of her own: she became the first Most Sixes winner to go sixless in her very next tournament appearance.
Stephanie Altergott took home the Most Holes-in-one title with the aforementioned record-tying ten, while Katie Wood won the Most Sixes birdhouse in a tiebreak over Kim Zambole. Wood's total of 8 sixes was the lowest birdhouse-winning total ever, edging out Kemnitz's nine in 2003.
A final note of interest: coming into this tournament, there had been 96 people who had successfully completed at least one M.C. Mini Masters. This year's four rookies made it an even one hundred. The lastrookie to complete his final round was Wil Zambole, who therefore holds the distinction of being the 100th player to finish an M.C. Mini Masters. He came in twelfth place at 18 over par.
Due to the extreme heat, Mick Cullen announced plans to move the Mini Masters to the end of June next year.

2006 MC Mini Masters
Final Standings
......................CR.AT.MG.LH.KR.LV..Tot
.................Par..45-46-43-50-44-47--275
Michael Cullen........38-43-43-36-40-43--243 (-32)
Mick Cullen...........41-46-43-42-38-48--258 (-17)
Tom Schweiss..........43-45-40-45-42-44--259 (-16)
Matt Cullen...........43-40-47-44-45-46--265 (-10)
Stephanie Altergott...42-46-45-37-41-56--267 (-8)
Aaron Hanson..........39-46-47-49-43-49--273 (-2)
Jason Gola............42-51-45-41-47-48--274 (-1)
Carrie McGowan........42-56-46-43-42-52--281 (+6)
Dianne Cullen.........43-50-45-50-46-49--283 (+8)
Dan Lee...............42-54-44-45-46-60--291 (+16)
Corey O’Brien.........47-49-44-52-45-55--292 (+17)
Wil Zambole...........43-56-48-52-42-52--293 (+18)
Josh Altergott........50-54-52-39-52-54--301 (+26)
Mike Halls............55-58-42-46-52-48--301 (+26)
Karen Kemnitz.........48-58-48-51-50-50--305 (+30)
D.H. Gallego..........49-56-47-57-45-54--308 (+33)
Julie Schweiss........47-64-43-43-51-60--308 (+33)
Elisa Cullen..........48-56-47-52-51-55--309 (+34)
Lisa Curran...........50-53-51-46-48-62--310 (+35)
Kevin Kloosterman.....51-60-53-53-43-55--315 (+40)
Mary Kemnitz..........50-62-47-54-48-58--319 (+44)
Maria Gola............50-58-45-56-48-63--320 (+45)
Pilar O’Brien.........50-59-52-54-48-60--323 (+48)
Michael Arf...........47-53-51-59-54-60--324 (+49)
Kim Zambole...........52-60-51-61-53-57--334 (+59)
Katie Wood............49-66-57-57-48-63--340 (+65)
DID NOT FINISH
Dale Hanson...........45-50-45-WD (+6)

Most holes-in-one: Stephanie Altergott (10)
Most sixes: Katie Wood/Kim Zambole (8)

Lighthouse returns to MCMM; Ballybunion out

July 5, 2006
Tournament director Mick Cullen announced today that the M.C. Mini Masters was making a lineup change with the tournament less than one month away. Ballybunion in Long Grove is out, and original MCMM course Lighthouse Miniature Golf, in Waukegan, IL, is making a return to the tournament agenda.
"This decision was more about eliminating Ballybunion than rewarding Lighthouse," said Cullen. "A number of factors led to this decision. However, I know that MCMM veterans are familiar with Lighthouse and will be comfortable with this decision.
Insiders say Ballybunion fell short in a few key areas. First of all, their revolving ownership has been a concern. Ballybunion is under new ownership for a second time since 2004, and the current owner/managers have been delinquent in returning phone calls made by tournament organizers. Additionally, the course's price is the highest of any of the layouts involved in the Mini Masters, a whopping $7.50 per round. Ballybunion has historically failed to give a good group rate to the Mini Masters, and this year, failed even to respond to phone calls.
Sources say Cullen prefers the layout and style of Ballybunion to that of Lighthouse, but the higher price (50% higher than Lighthouse's price of $5.00) necessitates a better group rate than the course has given in the past. Since Ballybunion is also the course furthest to the south, it is logistically the easiest course to eliminate as well.
"I do not rule out the Mini Masters returning to Ballybunion in the future," Cullen said. "Lighthouse poses some concerns as well." The Waukegan-based course was eliminated from the Mini Masters last year due to poor upkeep. There remain some heavily worn holes and similar concerns with Lighthouse, but for now, it is back in the Mini Masters.
The return of Lighthouse also means the return of its much-despised 5th hole, statistically the toughest par-3 hole in MCMM history. The aptly-nicknamed "Hill of Death" has caused far more 6s than any other Lighthouse hole.
Lighthouse makes it four original MCMM courses that are in this year's lineup. The only lacking courses are the East and West links at Sisolak's in Beach Park, which remains closed and up for lease. Those courses have been replaced by Libertyville Park District, the closing course for three of the last four years, and Monster Golf, the newest member of the club both in terms of course age and length of involvement with the tournament.

10th annual M.C. Mini Masters plans to feature same course lineup

With the tournament less than 50 days away, tournament director Mick Cullen announced today that the M.C. Mini Masters, entering its 10th year of existence, intends to have the same six-course lineup it featured last year, with Monster Golf remaining in the mix and Libertyville hosting the closing round.
As usual, the putters will open the day at Congo River and Action Territory in Kenosha, WI. They are the only two courses that have played host to every single Mini Masters. The newest MCMM course, Monster Golf in Gurnee, opens the Illinois leg of the day and provides lunch. Kristof's, Ballybunion and the aforementioned Libertyville comprise the second half of the day's festivities.
Cullen promised some new Wacky Holes will be on the agenda this year, along with some prizes that will go unannounced until tournament day. "It's the 10th Mini Masters, so we will be making it special," he said. "The most unique miniature golf event in the world will be even more so this year."
The 10th annual M.C. Mini Masters remains scheduled for Saturday, July 29, 2006. Veteran registration is underway. Notably missing will be defending champion R.J. Dusak, the first-ever champion not to defend his title.

Dusak wins 9th Mini Masters in dramatic fashion

July 31, 2005
Seven-year veteran R.J. Dusak (Antioch, IL) won the ninth M.C. Mini Masters on Saturday with a flourish, acing the 108th hole to beat out 2003 champion Tom Schweiss (Ingleside, IL) by a single stroke. USPMGA Vice President Gary Shiff (Yonkers, NY) won the inaugural Pro Division of the tournament, which also came down to the final hole of the final round with one player needing an ace to win; however, runner-up Tom Dixon (Kansas City, MO) was victimized by an unlucky bounce that left him with no real shot at the two he needed to tie.
Dusak had held a seven-stroke lead over 2001 titleist Matt Cullen heading into the final round with five-time champ Michael Cullen in third and 2002 winner Mick Cullen tied with Schweiss in fourth, but struggled in the final round while Schweiss sizzled. Dusak had a respectable 25 on the front 9 at Libertyville, but a six on the 12th hole caused his lead to shrink. Dusak took eleven strokes on the next four holes before a bad tee shot at the 17th put him in a position that he was unable to escape with better than a four.
Though the Cullens were unable to make a serious push, Schweiss and Aaron Hanson both bested the previous tourney course record. Schweiss's 41 was enough to put him a stroke ahead of Hanson, who posted a 40 to beat his father Dale Hanson's previous record of 42. Dusak heard of Schweiss's score before the final hole, and asked Mick Cullen to confirm what he already knew--that he needed to get a two on the final hole just to force a playoff.
Matt and Mick Cullen then told Dusak to simply ace the hole so he wouldn't have to worry about a playoff. The 18th hole at Libertyville (seen at left) can only be aced by hitting the ball up onto a somewhat narrow S-shaped ramp and getting a friendly bounce off a border rock at the bottom of the ramp. With only a small portion of the gallery knowing the situation, the remainder of Dusak's foursome shushed the crowd. His tee shot ran perfectly up the ramp and down the slope, got that requisite friendly bounce and hit the cup dead center for a closing hole-in-one that brought down the house. The Cullens all high-fived Dusak, congratulating him on the most dramatic win in Mini Masters history, as he posted a total of seven under par.
Schweiss was unaware how close he was until after that ace, as was Aaron Hanson, who finished just two strokes back of the lead in 3rd place. Dale Hanson settled in at fourth, four back at -3, and took home the Most Holes-in-one trophy with seven aces. Michael and Matt Cullen tied for fifth at -1, Mick Cullen was in seventh at +1, Carrie McGowan was in eighth at +7 and Russ Dusak in ninth at +8. McGowan took home the Most Improved trophy and was the low-scoring female for the day. Matt Landt rounded out the top ten at +9, becoming the youngest player ever to finish in the top ten and also making history as the first former Most Sixes title holder to finish in the top ten. Jeff Bull took home the birdhouse for Most Sixes this year, finishing in 37th place overall.
As mentioned earlier, Gary Shiff won the Pro Division of the tournament, but like Dusak, had to weather a late falter in his play to do so. With the tournament seemingly locked up, Shiff missed a series of two-foot putts and ended up taking a seven on the final hole. Tom Dixon knew an ace like Dusak's would wrap up the first pro Mini Masters title for him, and like Dusak, he put a shot right up the center of the ramp. However, once at the top, the ball bounced up onto the bordering rocks, down below to the lower level, off the bordering rocks again, and eventually found its way onto the putting surface with a series of unbelievable caroms. This left Dixon with an impossibly long and treacherous attempt at a bank shot that fell well short of its goal. Wayne Keller (Madison, WI) finished in third among the pros.
Course champions included R.J. Dusak (Congo River), Matt Cullen (Action Territory), Schweiss (Monster Golf), rookie Pilar O'Brien (Kristof's), Jason Gola (Ballybunion) and Aaron Hanson (Libertyville). O'Brien became the first rookie to take a course title since Roger Johnson in 2003.
A final note of interest: Karen Kemnitz's ace on the 2nd hole at Libertyville was not only the first ever to be recorded at that hole, it was also the 1,000th in M.C. Mini Masters history. Kemnitz received a crystal golf ball on a marble base for the accomplishment.

2005 MC Mini Masters
Final Standings
AMATEUR DIVISION
......................CR.AT.MG.Kr.BB.LV..Tot
Name.............Par..45-46-43-44-45-47--270
R.J. Dusak............38-46-44-42-41-52--263 (-7)
Tom Schweiss..........45-50-39-44-45-41--264 (-6)
Aaron Hanson..........42-48-50-43-42-40--265 (-5)
Dale Hanson...........41-48-47-44-44-43--267 (-3)
Matt Cullen...........40-43-48-44-43-51--269 (-1)
Michael Cullen........42-43-45-43-49-47--269 (-1)
Mick Cullen...........45-51-41-43-43-48--271 (+1)
Carrie McGowan........40-52-43-48-47-47--277 (+7)
Russ Dusak............45-54-46-41-42-50--278 (+8)
Matt Landt............45-47-48-42-43-54--279 (+9)
Stephanie Altergott...47-53-46-46-48-43--283 (+13)
Jason Gola............46-50-50-45-40-53--284 (+14)
Diego Gallego.........41-47-46-47-49-55--285 (+15)
Doug Gekiere..........51-53-52-44-43-49--292 (+22)
Stephanie Gekiere.....47-52-49-49-44-51--292 (+22)
Dianne Cullen.........46-51-46-51-46-53--293 (+23)
Dan Lee...............41-57-47-48-49-53--295 (+25)
Elisa Cullen..........49-46-50-48-53-52--298 (+28)
Corey O’Brien.........45-60-52-41-47-58--303 (+33)
Karen Kemnitz.........55-59-48-46-48-49--305 (+35)
Maria Gola............47-63-51-49-48-49--307 (+37)
Pilar O’Brien.........53-55-50-40-54-55--307 (+37)
Dennis Gekiere........49-55-51-51-54-51--311 (+41)
Nathaniel Marx........52-60-51-55-42-51--311 (+41)
Dolores Gekiere.......53-54-48-47-50-63--315 (+45)
Lisa DeLaurentis......56-54-53-56-45-52--316 (+46)
Skip Landt............54-56-49-50-53-56--318 (+48)
Hector Gallego........50-67-55-47-45-56--320 (+50)
Josh Altergott........45-64-50-53-49-60--321 (+51)
Sharon Bull...........46-65-58-48-49-57--323 (+53)
Julie Schweiss........48-61-47-52-61-57--326 (+56)
Kristen Bree..........60-62-49-59-53-62--345 (+75)
Irma Gallego..........56-58-58-56-57-61--346 (+76)
Mike Houck............55-59-62-53-53-64--346 (+76)
Katie Wood............59-62-56-61-50-66--354 (+84)
Michael Arf...........58-61-51-63-66-67--366 (+96)
Jeff Bull.............63-77-55-60-59-65--379 (+109)

PRO DIVISION
Gary Shiff............36-46-43-42-51-47--265 (-5)
Tom Dixon.............45-48-45-37-40-53--266 (-4)
Wayne Keller..........45-46-50-49-53-58--301 (+31)
Little did Matt and Mick Cullen know back in the late 1980s that all their practice conquering Sisolak's Golf-a-rama would come in handy!
They both won MC Mini Masters titles (Matt 2001, 2007, and 2010; Mick 2002 and 2011). Matt was, unfortunately, eaten by the Sisolak's tiger last year.


M.C. Mini Masters

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