by Pat Payton, Sports Editor for the Journal Argus
It was not the runaway this year like it was in 2016.
It was much closer, but the Young Guys retained the Ryder Cup in their annual golf match-up with the Old Guys this past weekend at the St. Marys Golf and Country Club.
The annual two-day golf event pits two 16-player squads (the 39-and-under team and the 40-and-over team) against each other in a friendly golf competition.
Each year, there’s 32 points up for grabs. This year’s final tally read: Young Guys 18 1/2 points to the Old Guys 13 1/2 points. Last year, the Young Guys won by a record-breaking 12 points. This year, it was a five-point margin, but the Young Guys still won all three competitions. The Young Guys took Friday’s Best Ball event, five points to three (same score as last year).
On Saturday morning, in the Modified Chapman format, the Young Guys extended their lead to three points with a four and a half to three and a half points win.
Winning some key points late in the Best Ball and Modified Chapman golf formats were key for the Young Guys, team captain Kellen Fifield noted. It gave his team a little cushion going into the singles matches.
“In both the Best Ball and Chapman, we either squared some matches or won them on Hole # 17 or 18,” Fifield said.
“The last couple of matches were pretty key and we swung them. If we don’t win those, it was basically all tied up. We pulled out some big matches on No. 17 and 18.”
Going into Saturday afternoon’s head-to-head singles matches, the Young Guys held a nine and a half to six and a half points lead.
The Young Guys clinched it with a 9-7 victory in the singles.
“A few matches came down to the 18th hole, and it could have been a lot closer than it was,” Old Guys’ captain Marty Rutledge said.
“There were a couple of lopsided matches, but the rest of them were all pretty close. If a couple of those had gone our way, it would have went right down to the wire.”
Trailing by three going into the singles matches, Rutledge said he felt the Old Guys could still pull it out.
“I think we can do it,” he said as the teams headed out. “I like the board (the Saturday match-ups).
“(The pairings) are as close as we could have got them. But it boils down to you have to win your match.
“I hope our experience will make a difference. It might mean one hole, one stroke to our advantage.”
Young Guys who won their singles matches Saturday were: Paul Shackleton, Curtis Gricken, Pete Hughes, Ben Dale, Glenn Bertrand, Mitch Watt and Jon McPhail.
Old Guys who won their singles matches were: Wayne Ross, Andy Cunningham, Jonathan Rittenhouse, Eric Henkemans and Len Foran.
Ryder Cup notes:
--This year, the Ryder Cup was held on Friday and Saturday. For years, the St. Marys competition was held Saturday and Sunday.
--After a four-year Old Guys’ reign, the Young Guys have now hoisted the Cup two years in a row.
--Injuries. Long-time Ryder Cup stalwarts Rick Fifield and Greg Thompson were unable to play for the Old Guys this year due to injuries. An injury kept the Young Guys’ Mike Johnson out of the singles matches on Saturday. Johnson is the reigning Men’s Club Champion at St. Marys.
--Young Guys’ Brady St. Louis was named this year’s Ryder Cup MVP.
--No player achieved a perfect 3-0 record on the weekend. Brady St. Louis and Rich Parsons (Old Guys) came the closest, with 2.5 points each (that’s two wins and a tie).
--Ryder Cup captains for 2018 will be Jason Skipper (Young Guys) and Rich Parsons (Old Guys).
--For the record, the Old Guys lead the local Ryder Cup competition 16-8. Next year is the 25th Anniversary of the event.
Almost 120 golfers took Part last Wednesday at the Country Club and the annual Senior Men’s Golf Invitational tournament was decided in a playoff for the second year in a row.
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