The USCA Southeast Regional Championship made its now traditional triennial swing through South Carolina, as the Coastal Croquet Clubs alliance hosted the tournament on seven lawns at five venues in the Hilton Head area. Of note is the beautiful new two-lawn facility at Palmetto Bluff, also the site of a three-day Tournament Play School prior to the tournament.
Sixty-one players took part in singles and doubles in four flights. Trophy winners from North Carolina include Ralph Heinz, winner of Third Flight Singles; Russ Hanson, runner-up in Second Flight Singles; Bob & Judy Porter, runners-up in Second Flight Doubles; George Enochs, runner-up (with John Warlick) in First Flight Doubles and third place in First Flight Singles; Keith Nelon, runner-up (with Bill Escher) in Championship Doubles; Bill & Billie Jean Berne, winners in Championship Doubles; Bill Berne, runner-up in Championship Singles.
The Bernes have won Championship Doubles at this tournament four times now (previous wins in ’97, ’02, and ’05; Bill also has two earlier wins with different partners.) While still associated with the Bald Head Island club, the Bernes are now South Carolina residents, and as such they led a very successful trophy haul by the South Carolina contingent. Including the Bernes, South Carolina pairs won all four doubles flights, along with Championship and Second Flight Singles.
Jack Chase was the sole Virginia representative at the tournament, and did his part for his state by winning First Flight Singles. Chase won Second Flight singles last year, so his prospects look good for 2009.