Manek Mathur & Chris Callis became the first partnership to win multiple titles this season by taking out Sleepy Hollow Country Club Open defending champions James Stout & Greg McArthur Sunday, November 24, in Briarcliff Manor, New York.
After a successful debut on the SDA Pro Tour as a Bronze event in 2018, the Sleepy Hollow Open elevated to a $25,000 SDA Silver draw this season, expanding the draw and attracting more top partnerships in what has been a competitive opening to the season.
Mathur & Callis returned to the tour for the first time since being forced to withdraw after the Westchester semifinals earlier this month due to a Mathur ankle injury. The top seeds re-emerged in strong form with decisive three-game quarterfinal and semifinal victories over David Letourneau & Kelly Shannon and Adam Bews & James Bamber, respectively.
Stout & McArthur entered the bottom half of the draw as the two seeds and progressed to the semis courtesy of a three-game win over Graham Bassett & Clinton Leeuw. After progressing through qualifying, current and former PSA professionals Ryan Cuskelly & Jaymie Haycocks celebrated their first quarterfinal appearance together in just their partnership’s second event. Veterans Bernardo Samper & Yvain Badan ended their surprise run in four games to reach the semis. Stout & McArthur then fought back from 1-0 down in the semis to reach their second Sleepy Hollow final 10-15, 15-8, 15-12, 15-7.
In the final, Mathur & Callis prevailed in three tight games, 15-12, 15-13, 15-11 to claim their first Sleepy Hollow title. The title marks their second of the season, following the season-opening Maryland Club Open in October.
“It was unfortunate in WCC, we were looking forward to playing in that final, but wasn’t meant to be,” Mathur said. “This sleepy final was exhausting! Even though it was just three games, the intensity and quality was extremely high and I think all four players were both mentally and physically exhausted post match. Playing James and Greg is always exciting as they’re so talented and creative with the ball that they keep you on your toes and force you to be extremely focused defensively and keep the ball away from their hot zones.”
The Sleepy Hollow result saw both Mathur & Callis returning to fitness after some setbacks.
“Both with Maryland and this Sleepy event, we went in with no expectations and just letting our bodies do their thing and we managed to find some good form this weekend right from the get go,” Mathur said. “I think both Chris and I had a ton of fun out there and were just happy to be playing feeling good and healthy. I think Chris is starting to feel a lot better too after his knee scope from earlier this year.”
Last year, McArthur–the Sleepy Hollow head professional–and Stout started their ascent as one of the tour’s top partnerships with the 2018 title.
“This was our first time playing at Sleepy Hollow and not only is it a stunning location but the membership is second to none,” Mathur said. “Big thanks to my pro-am partner Chris Adams and the rest of the membership for being so supportive, friendly and inviting to us and the entire tour. Another big shout out to our very own Greg McArthur–we all know it’s not easy to run an event–but the amount of detail that he put into it made it a very special weekend!”
Tour focus now shifts to the biennial $60,000 Briggs Cup, December 6-9, the tour’s top teams aim for one of the tour’s most iconic titles. This season has been characterized by parity with a different partnership winning each event up until Sleepy Hollow.
“The tour is in a great place,” Mathur said. “We had the biggest qualifying draw ever at NYAC and with multiple winning teams so far this season, I don’t think I’ve seen that since my start on the ISDA back in 2010. The same transfers over to a depth perspective where first round matches are extremely competitive and can go in either direction. This season has seen a great influx of former college and singles players.”