(3/25/12) … The 2012 Golfest Cup exceeded all expectations with a stellar outing at the picturesque and very challenging Oak Quarry Golf Club in Riverside, CA on March 24-25th. TEAM CALIFORNIA racked up most of its damage on TEAM USA during Saturday’s fourball and foursome matches, and then matched blows in singles competition to score a 15-9 victory. In the process, Team California retained the coveted sterling silver cup in the Ryder Cup formatted event for another year.
With the expansion to the maximum 12-player per team limit, the Black (CA) and Red (USA) shirts of both teams dominated the Oak Quarry Golf Course. While both contingents seemed to be jovial and good-spirited on the driving range, there was more in the air than the low lying fog. It’s was something called pressure, an phenomenon that can do horrific things to a golf swing if not handled correctly. However, the team Captains – Jeffrey Adkins CA & Kasey Scheidenlein USA – seemed to have everything under control with an assortment of different strategies.
Team California answered the call in the morning fourball matches, posting an impressive 4-2-0 mark against the visiting travelers representing the USA team. After a quick lunch, a low-key pat on the back, and a swing-lubricant cocktail, the Golden Staters backed up their morning performance in a big way during the Alternate Shot Foursome competition. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately (depending on your perspective), nobody knew to what extent until the matches were completed. Because our team Captains are also playing Captains, and none of the matches ended early, neither team really discovered what happened until the final scores were posted on the official scoreboard in the clubhouse.
While only one of the six Saturday morning matches went the 18-hole distance, five of the six alternate shot matches weren’t decided until the 18th hole. Every match was pretty intense with the biggest CA winning margin being 2&1. Three other matches finished 1UP and the two others ended in ties. Both teams were stunned, one in a good way, the other not so much, when Team California racked up an over-the-top and very, very surprising 4-0-2 record in the Foursome Alternate Shot Matches.
The Alternate shot format was new to the Golfest Cup competition in 2012 when the teams fully adopted the complete Ryder Cup format. By comparison, the teams played a two-man best-ball scramble last year. And it turned out to be a pressure packed dogfight that both teams raved about as a great physical and mentally challenging experience. Until one actually plays an alternate shot event, you really have no idea what to expect. There is not only pressure on every hole, but on every single shot. You quickly learn to play off both your teammmates strengths and weaknesses; in addition to your opponents. To almost everybodies surprise, Team California sauntered to the parking lot after the first day with a comfortable 9-3 point lead. Barring a total collape in Sunday’s 12 singles matches, retaining the Cup would only require three more points. Who would have predicted that? NO ONE!
The final chapter of the 2012 Golfest Cup competition showcased both teams at their best. They battled head-to-head and split the 12 singles matches, giving Team California the 2012 victory shortly before mother nature rolled in and doused the area with rain.
After losing the inaugural 2011 event (10.5-5.5) in Arizona to the traveling California team, TEAM USA went to work to even the score. 2012 Captain Kasey Schiedenlein recruited some new single-digit handicappers for his team. Common sense said that would be a good move. The advantage was expected to show big time during the alternate shot event. However, for whatever reason, the overall strategy didn’t pay off. Opinions differ as to the exact reason. They range from some golfers tend to play a different game under pressure and Oak Quarry provided a true “home-course” advantage to the California team, to lady luck and match play ultimately come down to playing as close to your handicap as humanly possible. One unnamed person suggested it may have been alcohol poisoning that caused some Team USA members to fade down the stretch? Then again, it might have just been something as simple as “golf experience.” Here is some possible proof from the first day: Of the 12-matches on Saturday, the teams with the higher average age of the teammates posted a 8-4 record. Maybe … just maybe … that old saying that age and experience wins over youth and exuberance still carries some weight. Hmmmm?
GOLFEST CUP NOTES: Special thanks to Rich Earlywine and the staff at Oak Quarry. Not only was the Golfest Cup proudly displayed in the center of their pro shop for a month, but they were very accommodating to all of our needs. Among them was moving the tee boxes back and toughening up the course for us on Sunday (not that we needed to be challenged any more!) The food was pretty good also! … After their Friday practice rounds, both teams gathered at the Allen Family Compound for a Golfest Cup “Foodfest” later that evening. All team members were well fed and officially introduced and presented with their shirts for the weekend. … Five Team USA golfers participated in their first Golfest Cup event. They include Chuck DeFrancisco (AZ), Matt Rohr (AZ), Ike Sherlock (KY), John Lyman (AZ/CA), and Vander Brown III (AZ). Speaking of VB3, he become the first African-American golfer to participate in a Golfest event. Vander entered the event as the events lowest handicapper (7.1). VB3 played with Spanky Hayes on their high school golf team. He’ll be back at the 2013 Golfest Cup event. … Team California featured four Golfest Cup “newbees” including Ed Lande, Pat Calahan, Lou Novak, and Todd Baltzley. … Yes, that was John Lyman on the 18th tee box, down on one-knee “Teebow-ing” before a VB3’s tee shot. Not sure what it accomplished, as much as it made for a funny video. … Thanks to our event photographers Laura Allen and Shelby Stassel. They snapped more than 500 photos. … Benihana’s was the destination on Saturday night to unwind with a lot of food and drink. The group was starved and very rambuncious. Excuse me sir, is that a piece of lobster stuck to the ceiling? …
BY THE NUMBERS … Pat Calahan and Todd Baltzley were the only two golfers to post a perfect 3-0-0 record. Honorable mention goes to Mike Rittner and Mark Suzda who both went 2-0-1. … Greg Haeussler of Las Vegas and Arizonian Matt Rohr had the best record for TEAM USA, going 2-0-1. … Only five of the 24 matches could be regarded as “blow outs,” won by five or more! Team USA won three of those five! … The four “non-Arizona” players (Dee, Sherlock, Haeussler, and Potts) on Team USA posted a combined individual record of 6-5-1. The rest of the team? 4-17-3. … At the turn in Fourball competition, Team USA & Team CA both led three of the matches. … Team USA led three of the six Foursome matches, plus had one tied up after nine-holes. Walking off of the 16th green, they were only leading one and were tied in two others. They finished 0-4-2 in Foursomes. … If Team USA would have split the alternate shot matches 3-3, the 2012 Cup would have come down to the final two singles matches on the course on Sunday morning. The final score would have been 13-11. … The 2013 Golfest Cup will be held on a Team USA designated course – more than likely in Arizona. See ya! …
Team California: Jeffrey Adkins (Captain), Jim Allen, Todd Baltzley, Mike Barbone, Pat Calahan, Kirk Dragmire, Ed Lande, Lou Novak, Mark Pickering, Mike Rittner, Mark Suzda & Art Taylor.
Team USA: Kasey Scheidenlein (Captain), Vander Brown III, Jim Dee, Chuck DeFrancisco, Greg Haeussler, Clyde Hayes, Spanky Hayes, John Lyman, Bob Potts, Matt Rohr, Ike Sherlock & Danny Young.
CA Jeffrey Adkins & Art Taylor defeat USA Kasey Scheidenlein & Chuck DeFrancisco – 4 & 3.
After a first tee photo opportunity, this foursome teed off in an uncharacteristic low lying fog that covered the Oak Quarry course. The California boys jumped out in front first, going up by two on the par-3 fifth hole. The pressure elevated a few notches and the two teams battled all square for the next six holes. However, CA captured wins on the par-5 12th and closed it out with another on the 15th hole to win the match. CA 1 – 0 USA
USA Greg Haeussler & Matt Rohr defeat CA Ed Lande & Mike Barbone – 3 & 2. Despite a confidence building birdie on the first hole, Team CA found themselves trailing USA by one at the turn. Haeussler and Rohr partnered well together and “ham and egged” it the rest of the way and claim the victory on the par-5 16th. CA 1 – 1 USA
Team CA got off to a quick start and was up by two on the 3rd hole, and expanded that to 5UP at the turn. Young & Hayes won the 10th hole but both teams played even and USA ran out of holes, losing on a long Calahan putt on the signature 14th hole. CA 2 – 1 USA
This fourball match was a dogfight from the start. USA was 2UP on the fourth hole, only to see things all square on the sixth. USA was 1UP walking off the 16th green, but their efforts went south after that. Team USA only led two holes – the first and the all important last one. CA 3 – 2
The Arizona travelers got off to a slow start in this one and trailed by five walking up to the eighth tee box. Team USA finally got its Oak Quarry legs on and matched holes with Rittner and Suzda before running out of holes after matching pars on the 15th hole. CA 4 – 2 USA
Foursome Matches (Alternate Shot)
CA Mark Pickering & Mike Barbone defeat USA Spanky Hayes & Kasey Scheidenlein – 1UP
The USA team was on fire right out of the gate, vaulting to a stout 4UP lead by the fifth hole. However, the CA teammates finally got in the zone and knocked it down to even at the 10th hole. The two teams battled back and forth before CA took its first lead of the day on the 13th hole, a mark they barely clenched to for the remaining distance. CA 5 – 2 USA
CA Lou Novak & Jeffrey Adkins defeat USA Ike Sherlock & Danny Young – 1UP
This one was another classic seesaw battle with Team CA owning the front nine – making the turn 3UP – and Team USA owning most of the back nine. Sherlock and Young gradually got the contest even on the uphill 17th hole, only to suffer a heartbreaking loss on the final hole. CA 6 – 2 USA
CA Todd Baltzley & Jim Allen defeat USA Bob Potts & Chuck DeFrancisco – 2 & 1
This was another very evenly matched contest that was all-square eight different times. There were also six lead changes. The teams were still all-square heading into the long par-5 16th hole, but USA lost two holes in a row and the match was settled without having to play the 18th. CA 7 – 2 USA
CA Mike Rittner & Art Taylor tie USA John Lyman & Matt Rohr – Halved
Team USA probably should have won this match. They seemed to have a consistent edge throughout this contest and led by two holes with only two to go. However, Rittner & Taylor stepped up when they really needed to and won both to limp away with a very satisfying tie. CA 7.5 – 2.5 USA
CA Mark Suzda & Ed Lande tie USA Vander Brown III & Greg Haeussler – Halved
CA survived a disasterous start in this one, losing the first four holes. However, another “ham & egg” teamwork approach started to pay off and the two teams were tied walking off the 13th green. Team USA only trailed once in this match and went down by one when they lost the 17th hole. Brown & Haeussler fought back and captured the final hole to salvage a tie. CA 8 – 3 USA
CA Pat Calahan & Kirk Dragmire defeat USA Jim Dee & Clyde Hayes – 1UP
This was another very closely matched group that featured “E’s” on the scorecard eight times. The two teams swapped the lead six times. USA was 2UP on the eighth hole, but the lead swung back and forth on the back nine. Team USA was 1UP walking off of the 15th green, fell to even on 16, and went down on by one on 17 when a short putt would not fall. CA 9 – 3 USA
USA Bob Potts defeated CA Mark Pickering – 2 & 1
Although this match was even five times, including as late as the 14th hole, Utah’s lone representative in the contest never trailed. Potts then won two holes in a row and walked off the 17th green with a satisfying USA victory. CA 9 – 4 USA
CA Mark Suzda defeated USA Spanky Hayes 4 & 2
The Suzda-Hayes battles at the Golfest Cup are always close and this one never saw more than a one hole lead by either golfer. The match was all square on the 12th hole, before the wheels fell off of the USA train when Suzda won four holes in a row. CA 10 – 4 USA
USA Danny Young defeats CA Jim Allen – 3 & 2
Danny Young played very consistent golf and never trailed in this one, carrying a 2-hole lead into the turn. The two golfers pretty much matched efforts on the back nine until Allen ran out of holes on the 16th hole. Team USA pulls within 5 points. CA 10 – 5 USA
CA Pat Calahan defeats USA Ike Sherlock – 3 & 2
Kentucky’s Sherlock went up by two early in this match before Calahan clawed back to square it up on the sixth hole. The two matched strokes until Calahan got hot and won three holes in a row on holes 14-16 to score the victory. Calahan finished the weekend with a perfect 3-0 record. CA 11 – 5 USA
USA Kasey Schiedenlein defeats CA Jeffrey Adkins – 7 & 6
The Captains battled head-to-head in singles competition for just a few holes. Adkins had his only lead of the day after the second hole before Schiedenlein turned up the heat and was 5UP as they walked up to the ninth tee box. It was over shortly thereafter when Scheidenlein captured the 12th hole for his first victory of the 2012 competition. CA 11 – 6 USA
CA Mike Barbone defeats USA Chuck DeFrancisco – 1UP
This one looked like a California slaughter early on with Barbone quickly establishing a three-hole lead on the sixth, a gap he safely maintained until the 14th hole. At that point, DeFrancisco dug deep and claimed three holes in a row to square up the match with only one hole to go. Barbone answered the call to pull out a one stroke victory on number 18. This victory assured Team CA of at least a tie in the 2012 event. CA 12 – 6 USA
USA Greg Haeussler defeats CA Ed Lande – 2UP
Lande started off smouldering hot, winning the first three holes. But Haeussler pulled out his A-Game to pull even with only six holes remaining. Haeussler managed to win four of the final holes outright to claim the match. The Las Vegas golfer finished the weekend with an impressive 2-0-1 record, tied for best on Team USA. CA 12 – 7 USA
USA Matt Rohr defeats CA Art Taylor – 5 & 4
Rohr was focused from the start and established a four-hole lead on the front nine. Taylor never really had a chance to catch him before he ran out of holes to play. Rohr posted a 2-0-1 record in the 2012 competition. The CA lead is cut to four. CA 12 – 8 USA
CA Kirk Dragmire defeats USA Clyde Hayes – 4 & 3
This duel provided the winning margin for TEAM CA. It was a close match – all square through five holes, before Hayes struggled and found himself three down at the turn. Dragmire kept up the pressure and closed out the match on the 15th hole with a par. CA 13- 8 USA
USA Jim Dee defeats CA Lou Novak – 3 & 2
This was a great give-and-take contest that was even through 13-holes. Novak enjoyed a stellar 3UP lead on the sixth hole, but Dee scrapped and fought his way back into contention. After getting the match all-square, Dee won three consecutive holes to claim top honors. CA 13 – 9 USA
CA Mike Rittner defeats USA Vander Brown III – 5 & 4
Brown never officially got untracked on this one, losing the first three holes before he slowed the carnage. Rittner went 5UP on the 12th hole and scored the win shortly thereafter to post a 2-0-1 record for the weekend. CA 14 – 9 USA
CA Todd Baltzley defeats USA John Lyman – 3 & 2
This match was extremely close with Baltzley only 1UP on the seventh hole. Baltzley, who finished the competition with a perfect 3-0-0 record, strung three consecutive wins together on holes 8-10 to take what would amount to be an unsurmountable lead. A par on the par-5 16th hole closed out the match for Baltzley.
FINAL SCORE: TEAM CALIFORNIA 15 – 9 TEAM USA.
GOLFEST CUP RECORDS & STATISTICS
2011: TEAM CALIFORNIA 10.5 – 5.5 TEAM USA
April 2-3 – The Raven Golf Club @ Verrado (Buckeye, AZ)
2012: TEAM CALIFORNIA 15 – 9 TEAM USA
March 24-25 – Oak Quarry Golf Club (Riverside, CA)
GOLFEST CUP – INDIVIDUAL RECORDS
TEAM CALIFORNIA – W-L-T
Todd Baltzley – 3-0-0
Pat Calahan – 3-0-0
Mike Rittner 2-0-1
Mark Suzda 2-0-1
Jeffrey Adkins – 2-1-0
Jim Allen – 2-1-0
Mike Barbone – 2-1-0
Kirk Dragmire – 2-1-0
Mark Pickering – 2-1-0
Art Taylor 1-1-1
Lou Novak – 1-2-0
Ed Lande – 0-2-1
TEAM USA – W-L-T
Greg Haeussler – 2-0-1
Matt Rohr – 2-0-1
Jim Dee – 2-1-0
Bob Potts – 1-2-0
Kasey Scheidenlein – 1-2-0
Ike Sherlock – 1-2-0
Danny Young – 1-2-0
Vander Brown III – 0-2-1
John Lyman – 0-2-1
Chuck DeFrancisco – 0-3-0
Clyde Hayes – 0-3-0
Spanky Hayes – 0-3-0