Can You Beat Biggy?

Big Rematch, Birthday Cake a Fine Way to Conclude Summer Series

By DAVID BIGGY | Sep 04, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy Dean Collier putts for a hole-in-one on the 11th hole of the ‘Victorian Gardens’ course at Mr. Tee’s in Beach Haven, as friend Eric Lukenda looks on, Aug. 30.

Beach Haven — Back on July 31, after defeating Eric Lukenda and Dean Collier on the “Pirates Bay” course at Mr. Tee’s in Beach Haven, I opted to give the 13-year-old friends a rematch on the course they play for the weekly tournaments at Karen Rosania’s downtown venue. As I drove down Long Beach Boulevard that day, I could almost hear the voice of Violet Gray from the animated version of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” – you know ... after Charlie brought to the play a scrawny tree with barely any needles on it. “Boy, are you stupid,” Violet chided.

Well, fast forward to Aug. 30, the date I selected for the “Can You Beat Biggy?” finale, to play Eric and Dean on the “Victorian Gardens” course. Obviously I didn’t think this was so stupid heading into the match. I had been playing well, hadn’t lost since July 10 and even took a couple of opportunities afforded me by “Mrs. Tee” to practice on the course I hadn’t played since two summers ago.

“We’ve practiced a lot for the past month, a couple of times a week in addition to the tournaments on Thursday,” Dean revealed after the match, for which he brought his own putter. “The hot topic was beating Biggy. When we played, the questions were ‘Is this score good enough?” and ‘Can this putt beat Biggy?’ That, basically, was the discussion since the last time.”

Not surprisingly, Eric was calm and collected going into the match, despite falling short against me a month earlier.

“I didn’t really think about it, because it was on the other course,” he said. “We don’t play that course, so I just forgot about it, really. I was just focused on playing this course, and 36 was the goal. I figured that might be good enough to win.”

Now, surprisingly, Eric got off to a rough start, shooting a 4 and 3 on the first two holes. However, I did the same thing in reverse, so we were both locked at 7 going to the third. I slipped behind Eric by a stroke after three-putting No. 3. Meanwhile, Dean had the hot hand early, sandwiching a 3 around a pair of deuces, and took the early lead with a 7 through the first three holes. We all two-putted the fourth.

Then the fifth hole happened, and I’m just going to write it now and get it over with. I was done right here. After Eric hit a perfect shot for a hole-in-one, Dean dropped another 2 to keep his lead – slight as it was – on Eric. But me? My tee-off shot landed on the wrong side of the ridge in the fairway, then I totally botched my third and fourth putts, ending up with a 5. Fork, meet Biggy. Down six strokes at that point was a tough hill to climb.

By the time we hit the midway point, I was fortunate enough to drop back-to-back holes-in-one on Nos. 7 and 8, trimming Dean’s lead to four, while Eric was behind his buddy by a pair. After Dean and Eric both delivered aces on the 11th, I again was down by six.

But regardless of what I did on the back nine this time around, Dean – with his dad, Doug, and mom, Karen, cheering him on as they walked the course behind us – simply threw down the hammer, and I mean legitimately.

He dropped a hole-in-one on the 13th and later on the 18th, but the kid was just lights out, scoring a 3 only once – way back at the second hole – and firing a 15 for the back nine. Eric wasn’t much worse, registering a 17 on the back. My 20 on the final nine was all in vain.

Dean finished with a 4-under 34, while Eric carded an even-par 38. I ended with a 5-over 43, to which Dean dramatically added, “Oh! Oh! Oh, my gosh!” when I announced my score.

“I definitely can’t complain about a 34,” Dean said with a laugh. “I’m shocked, but it feels good. This is like a national holiday.”

So, mark the calendar ... Aug. 30 is now known as Dean’s Day – doom day for me, of course. For Eric, whose dad, Kevin, also attended the match, his victory over me was in honor of his mother, Kim, who, sadly, passed away 13 weeks ago to the day.

“It was all right getting a 38,” he said. “I’m good with that. I was so focused on beating you that Dean slipped by me. But it was a lot of fun, again.”

So, what was better than beating Biggy? Well, the last time, I vowed to beat the boys on their favorite course to celebrate my 47th birthday, arriving the next day. Kindly, Mrs. Tee remembered that declaration and arranged for a cake, which was hand-crafted by Eric’s extremely talented sister, Noelle – check out her website, The cake was a wonderful surprise, and we all took pleasure in devouring pieces of it.

As for “Can You Beat Biggy?” the answer was a resounding “yes” and “yes” for Dean and Eric, and I finished the series 19-6. Thanks to all who took the challenge. See you next summer!

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