Can You Beat Biggy?

Stafford School District Representatives Seek Revenge at Settler’s Mill

By David Biggy | Aug 28, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy Barbara D’Apuzzo tees off on the fifth hole of the Settler’s Mill Adventure Golf ‘Falls Course’ as Susan D’Alessandro looks on during ‘Can You Beat Biggy?’ on Aug. 21.

Beach Haven — Way back in mid-June, for the second week of the “Can You Beat Biggy?” challenge, Stafford Township School District administrators Dave Ytreboe and Sean Reilly waited for me to crack on the back nine at Island Golf in Surf City, and were sorely disappointed when I scored the victory over them.

The next week, after the story broke and was posted all over Facebook, I received an email from Ocean Acres Elementary School Principal Susan D’Alessandro.

“Mrs. D’Apuzzo and I would like to beat Biggy,” read D’Alessandro’s simple message. “Let me know what dates are free.”

I nearly passed out from laughter – not because I thought D’Alessandro and her challenge partner, another district administrator, Barbara D’Apuzzo, were going to be pushovers. This wasn’t about playing miniature golf for show. This was about revenge for the district.

“I absolutely was thinking revenge,” D’Alessandro said following our match on the Settler’s Mill Adventure Golf “Falls Course” at Thundering Surf in Beach Haven on Aug. 21. “I figured if the guys couldn’t get it done, it was up to the women to do it. For sure, this was about revenge, PR for our district and having fun.”

Well, revenge was going to be hard to come by. When I played Ytreboe and Reilly, I was at the beginning of what could have been a decent losing streak after falling against pro mini-golfers Aaron Kaminski and Rudy Reel in the first match of this series on the other end of the Island at Jen’s Links.

Going into my match with D’Apuzzo and D’Alessandro, I hadn’t lost since July 10 – exactly six weeks to the day. To say my confidence was high would be understating the obvious based on the fact I was riding a serious winning streak. Still, I couldn’t rest on my laurels when competing against these two serious golfing ladies, since both frequently play regulation golf.

“I play all the time,” D’Alessandro said. “And Barbara’s a ringer. She doesn’t give herself enough credit. She is a very good putter.”

The mostly long, winding holes at Settler’s Mill offered a challenge to all our putting skills, of course. But D’Alessandro was right. D’Apuzzo was solid, and after a bunch of deuces – five during the first seven holes – she was leading me by a pair of strokes, while D’Alessandro struggled with a trio of 4s surrounded by a bunch of 3s.

I wasn’t going to count out D’Alessandro for a second, but heading to the eighth tee-off spot D’Apuzzo appeared to be the more serious threat to my winning streak. On No. 8, D’Apuzzo scored her only 6 of the match, but my two-putt stuck me in the lead, which dropped to a single stroke on the next hole when I shot a 3 and D’Apuzzo scored 2.

On the multi-tiered 10th, D’Apuzzo managed to chart another 2 and I ended up with a 3, tying the contest at 26 strokes each. The 12th turned out to be a bear for both D’Apuzzo and me – she scored 5 and I recorded a 4 – while D’Alessandro dropped the first hole-in-one of the match, a beauty of a 30-foot ace.

Nonetheless, I was in the lead midway through the back nine, and that’s never a good thing for my opponents. Holes-in-one on Nos. 14 and 16 staked me to a six-stroke lead. No revenge this time around. I finished with a 47, while D’Apuzzo notched a 52, and D’Alessandro carded a 57.

“When Susan told me about doing this, I was up for it,” D’Apuzzo said. “When you and I talked at the school board meeting last week, I could tell you take this seriously. I enjoy being outside and having fun, and this was all about fun.”

Despite another loss for the Stafford district representatives, the principal enjoyed the competition and learned something.

“I learned you’re very analytical,” she said. “Before you do something, you really think about the process, and I never knew that about you. But I’d totally do this again. I want a rematch.”

— David Biggy

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