Casey Jennings, Kerri Walsh to vie for the Top Guns in Huntington Beach
It was a little more than five years ago when it happened last: a married couple winning a major tournament on the same weekend.
It was late August of 2013, and Casey Jennings and Matt Fuerbringer, after a four-year hiatus as partners, reunited for the biggie, the granddaddy: The Manhattan Beach Open. You could be forgiven if you were surprised by what happened next: six straight wins, a Manhattan Beach Open title to their name. Fuerbringer hadn’t played in an event in nearly a year, and the duo’s final four wins in the tournament all came against teams seeded in the top four – Brad Keenan-John Mayer, Phil Dalhausser-Sean Rosenthal, Ryan Doherty-Todd Rogers, Dalhausser-Rosenthal again in the finals.
What happened on the women’s side did not reach quite the same level of surprise: Kerri Walsh Jennings and Whitney Pavlik won, beating Jen Fopma and Brooke Sweat in the finals. It marked the fourth such occasion in which Jennings and Walsh Jennings won on the same weekend, a feat that hasn’t been repeated for married couples since.
Perhaps the weekend of November 30-Dec. 2 could change that, when Jennings and Walsh Jennings will be competing in p1440s Top Guns.
In the only other event this season the two have played on the same weekend, in San Jose at the end of September, both nearly came home with a medal. Walsh Jennings and Sweden’s Anouk Verge-Depre claimed bronze while Jennings lost in an excellent quarterfinal match to fellow Americans Billy Kolinske and Miles Evans.
A win for both would set them apart from Mike and Patty Dodd, with whom they are tied at four victories for married couples, although they do have an edge on the Dodds. Jennings and Walsh Jennings are the only married couple to both medal at the same Grand Slam, a feat they accomplished at the Sao Paolo Grand Slam, where Jennings took silver with Phil Dalhausser and Walsh Jennings claimed gold with April Ross.
Walsh Jennings and Jennings join a field, per p1440’s signature, featuring a mixed bag of both domestic and international talent, in a round-robin style format where all four players in each pool will play with and against one another. Announced thus far in the field are Canada’s Sam Pedlow, Americans Evans and Kolinske, Brazil’s Pedro Salgado and Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs.
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