Experience helps Old Guys retain Cup! Fourth straight year that 40-and-over squad drinks from coveted Ryder Cup at St. Marys G&CC.
By Pat Payton, Sports Editor for the Journal Argus
The experience factor!
It must be what gives the Old Guys the edge come Sunday.
For the fourth straight year, the 40-and-over Old Guys won the local Ryder Cup competition over the 39-and-under Young Guys this past weekend at St. Marys Golf and Country Club.
Sunday’s final tally read: Old Guys 18 and a half points to 13 and a half points for the Young Guys.
Each year, there are 32 points up for grabs.
Saturday opened with the Best Ball event and both teams earned four points.
The Modified Chapman format (for the second year in a row) was used Saturday afternoon for the second round of ball striking.
The Old Guys picked up four and a half points to the Young Guys’ three and a half points, and took an eight and a half to seven and a half points edge into Sunday’s singles matches.
And for the second consecutive year, Old Guys won the singles matches by a 10-6 margin.
What is giving the Old Guys the edge in Sunday’s singles matches, a couple of veteran golfers were asked.
“I think we have on the low end, the 5-handicaps and less, we might have two extra horses,” explained Jimmy Craigmile, this year’s Old Guys captain. “They might have five guys and we might have seven.
“At the upper end and middle (when it comes to handicaps), I think the two sides are pretty level. But on Sunday, I think it comes down to who makes the putts.
“It feels great to win it, especially against Sterky (Young Guys’ captain Darryl Sterkenburg),” he added with a laugh. “But the most important thing is the camaraderie this weekend and the team play.”
Consistency might tip the scales in his team’s favour, Old Guys’ Rick Fifield noted.
“I think the Old Guys are a little more consistent and are maybe a little better grinders,” Fifield said.
“But it’s so close; it’s just a couple of matches here and there, and a couple of shots here and there.”
Players who won their singles matches on Sunday were:
Old Guys -- Rick Fifield, Merlin Malinowski, Chris Knowles, Eric Henkemans, Jonathan Rittenhouse, Bob Hearn, Wayne Ross, Rich Parsons and Len Foran.
Young Guys – Paul Shackleton, Derek Fifield, Rob Brown, Jesse De Groote and Dave Shepley.
Two other matches finished all square, giving each side a point.
“At the end of the day, we had to beat their top dogs – Marty (Rutledge), Rich, Rick and Lennie, but we didn’t,” Sterkenberg said following Sunday’s singles match. “Mike (Johnson) lost and I lost.
“Their middle (handicappers) also played well . . . guys like Eric Henkemans and Bobby Hearn. They beat our better players.
“I think it’s a little more experience. (The Old Guys) keep it in play. They don’t hit it as far, but they hit it a lot straighter. And today was a tough day out there with the wind blowing,” he added.
The Chapman format, meanwhile, is the name of a two-person team competition named after Dick Chapman, a great amateur golfer who played in The Masters 19 times from the 1930s into the 1960s.
In the Chapman system, both players on a side tee off, then they switch balls. Player A plays Players B’s drive, and visa-versa. After each player hits his second shot, the team then selects the best of the second shots, and from that point until the ball is holed they play only one ball in an alternate-shot format.
--This was the 22nd year for the local Ryder Cup event, consisting of two 16-man squads. The Old Guys now lead 16-6.
--This year’s MVP was Old Guys’ Chris Knowles. He went a perfect 3-0 on the weekend.
--A couple of impressive individual performances on Saturday morning in the Best Ball event.
Old Guys’ Marty Rutledge fired a six-under 31 on the front nine to help he and partner Greg Bettger win their match.
Young Guys’ Darryl Sterkenburg collected five birdies to help he and partner Paul Shackleton win their match.
Sterkenburg is regarded as one of the best young players at St. Marys G&CC.
--Scorekeeper Sam Watt was thanked on Sunday.
--Next year’s Ryder Cup team captains are Bob Hearn (Old Guys) and Kellen Fifield (Young Guys).