(4/26/15 – Litchfield Park, AZ) … A heavily favored Team USA was looking forward to duplicating their 2013 Golfest Cup winning efforts at the Wigwam Resort in Arizona on April 25-26th. However, a streaky Team California answered the call in Singles competition on Sunday to pull off a surprising 11-9 upset at the 2015 Golfest Cup Invitational. In fact, both teams ran steaming hot and icy cold in Arizona, before Team California claimed the Cup by going 5-3-2 in the Singles Matches.
In Saturday morning’s Fourball contest on the Heritage Course, California may have surprised even themselves by dominating and winning four of five matches to lead by an impressive 4-1 margin. The final three of those competitive matches were settled on the challenging par-5 18th finishing hole. But that run of good California fortune quickly ended in the Foursome-Alternate Shot matches.
The Foursome matches teed off in beautiful 80 degree weather, but threatening weather and gray skies rolled in and gusty winds in the 30 mph range became the norm an hour later. Both teams struggled in the conditions that had golfers pulling out drivers to attack the long par-3’s. Team USA won the first two matches convincingly (3 & 1 and 4 & 2) on the Patriot Course, and the next two by identical 1UP scores. The Team of Captain Mark Pickering and Todd Baltzley squeaked out a 1UP win in the final match to finally get California back on the board. The score after the first day had both teams all square at five apiece.
California got red hot again in calmer and warmer weather on Sunday morning, clinching the first four Singles events on the Gold course. Adam Nystuen beat Spanky Hayes by a score of 2UP in the first contest and Tom Gudvangen, David Stanley, and Jim Allen each racked up 4 & 2 victories in the next three. Team California now held a commanding 9-5 lead and needed only one more point to retain the Cup (tie). USA’s Vander Brown won the next match 6 & 4 over Pickering, but his USA teammates could only manage halves in the next two matches to make the score 10-7. John Lundgren officially sealed a California victory with his 3 & 2 win over Clyde Hayes. The rest is pretty much history as Team California claimed their second consecutive Cup victory by an 11-9 score, and the right to get their names engraved on the coveted Trophy.
The 2015 Golfest Cup Invitational was another closely contested battle, no matter which flag your team was waving. Of the 20-matches played, half went the distance and were decided on the 18th hole. As expected, it turned out to be a game of inches and the Cup could have easily went to Team USA with a break or two.
GOLFEST CUP NOTES: The hottest golfer of the weekend was Team USA’s Vander Brown III. He was the only golfer to go 3-0-0, something made possible by the eight birdies he carded in 54-holes. His putter was on fire. … Team CA featured two new golfers on their team. They were David Stanley of North Highlands, and Adam Nystuen of Oroville and each went 2-1-0, which proved to be the margin of victory. … Bill Stewart of Arizona was also playing in his first Golfest Cup. He went an impressive 2-1-0. … The Wigwam Resort hooked us up. In addition to three great golf courses, their catering staff had us all set with specific areas for our group to enjoy meals and cocktails. Our opening night introduction dinner set the standard for events in the future. And, we never had to go searching for a set of our golf clubs. They were always on the carts, ready to go. Our compliments to the Wigwam on a job very well done. We’ll be back! … Special thanks to our Arizona hosts Jim Dee, Clyde Hayes and Spanky Hayes for opening up their homes to traveling California golfers. We greatly appreciate it and will return the favor next year. … Many strange things happened at this event. Holes were pushed with eight’s and nine’s, and one hole was actually won with a 10. Ouch! Never quit playing. … Two California golfers celebrated birthdays on the trip. Team CA Captain Mark Pickering got recognized at a loud and rambunctious event at Grazie’s Italian Restaurant in Verrado. David Stanley was a little more low profile and celebrated on the course on Sunday with a 4 & 2 victory. … Kentucky’s Ike Sherlock did not win his Singles match against Tom Gudvangen, but he went down in style. The shot of the weekend was his 150-yard approach shot on the 13th hole of the Gold Course, which he rolled into the cup for an eagle. … And finally, thank you to April Cordero, our awesome photographer who captured the spirit of the event with some great shots. … The 2016 Golfest Cup Invitational will be played in California next April or May.
Team USA – 10 PLAYERS: Chuck DeFrancisco (Captain – Arizona), Jim Dee (Captain Emeritus – Arizona), Bob Potts (Utah), Spanky Hayes (Arizona), Clyde Hayes (Arizona), Vander Brown III (Arizona), Matt Rohr (Arizona), Craig Decker (Nevada), Ike Sherlock (Kentucky), Bill Stewart (Arizona)
Team CALIFORNIA – 10 PLAYERS: Mark Pickering (Captain), Jim Allen (Captain Emeritus), Mark Suzda, Tom Gudvangen, John Lundgren, Art Taylor, Mike Rittner, Todd Baltzley, David Stanley, and Adam Nystuen
FOURBALL MATCHES – Heritage Course
TEAM CA Mark Suzda & Adam Nystuen defeated TEAM USA Bill Stewart & Bob Potts – 4 & 2
In a match featuring Golfest Cup newcomers on each team (Nystuen & Stewart), Team CA pulled off the first win of the 2015 event. The match was all-square after five, but California kept up the pressure to lead by two at the turn, an advantage that was never seriously threatened the rest of the way. CA 1-0 USA.
TEAM USA Spanky Hayes & Vander Brown III defeated TEAM CA Mike Rittner & Mark Pickering – 4 & 2
Team CA was 1UP after three holes on the Heritage Course, but lost three-holes in a row to go 2-down. Vander Brown’s putter was red hot, posting three-birdies, and USA put the match away on the 16th green. CA 1-1 USA.
TEAM CA David Stanley & Todd Baltzley defeated TEAM USA Jim Dee & Craig Decker – 1UP
Stanley & Baltzley won the first two-holes of the match and maintained that margin for 11-holes, but began losing steam down the stretch. Dee and Decker battled the contest back to all-square with only three-holes remaining – only to lose the the match on the last hole. CA 2-1 USA.
TEAM CA John Lundgren & Tom Gudvangen defeated TEAM USA Clyde Hayes & Ike Sherlock – 2UP
Team CA dominated the front nine and was leading by four after only eight holes had been played. Team USA’s Hayes and Sherlock scrambled and fought back to get into position to tie the match on the final hole – but fell short in that effort. CA 3-1 USA.
TEAM CA Jim Allen & Art Taylor defeated TEAM USA Matt Rohr & Chuck DeFrancisco – 1UP
Although Team USA never officially led, this was a back-and-forth battle that was still even through six-holes. Team CA took advantage of some breaks to go 3UP after 10. The breaks switched sides on the back nine and USA tied up the match on the 17th hole. Team USA had the advantage on the par-5 18th when both CA players stuck shots in the water. However, DeFrancisco miscued a couple of his own into the drink which opened the door for CA to win with an unpredictable double-bogey. CA 4-1 USA.
FOURSOME MATCHES – Patriot Course
TEAM USA Bill Stewart & Chuck DeFrancisco defeated TEAM CA Mark Suzda & Jim Allen – 3 & 1
This match was even after seven-holes until Team USA stepped up and delivered in windy-weather that featured 30 mph gusts. At that point, Team USA turned up the pressure and took control to score a convincing 3 & 1 victory and cut Team CA’s lead to two. CA 4-2 USA
TEAM USA Bob Potts & Matt Rohr defeated TEAM CA Mike Rittner & Art Taylor – 4 & 2
This was a rollercoaster of a contest with Team CA owning the front-side and TEAM USA dominating the back. California was 2UP after seven, before losing six out of the next seven holes. USA trails by only one. CA 4-3 USA.
TEAM USA Spanky Hayes & Ike Sherlock defeated TEAM CA Adam Nystuen & John Lundgren – 1IP
Team USA set the pace in a competitive battle that Team CA never led, but was all-square four times, including walking off the 17th green. Hayes and Sherlock tag-teamed for a bogey on the par-4 18th to win 1UP and tie the Golfest Cup score. CA 4-4 USA.
TEAM USA Vander Brown & Craig Decker defeated TEAM CA David Stanley & Tom Gudvangen – 1UP
This was an unusual match where almost every hole had a winner and loser. Only three-holes were pushed the entire distance. Team USA had two-birdies on the front nine and led by two at the turn. They maintained that lead the rest of the way to give Team USA their first scoreboard lead of the day. USA 5-4 CA.
TEAM CA Mark Pickering & Todd Baltzley defeated Jim Dee & Clyde Hayes – 1UP
Team CA finally got on the board with a victory in alternate shot competition. It was back and forth for the entire 18-hole distance with CA claiming the final hole and tying up the battle for the Golfest Cup. USA 5-5 CA.
SINGLES MATCHES – Gold Course
TEAM CA Adam Nystuen defeated TEAM USA Spanky Hayes — 2UP
Nystuen and Hayes traded shots the entire way. They were all square at the turn and still deadlocked on the 13th tee box. Nystuen won 13, lost 14, won again on 15, and piled on for a 2UP victory on the final hole. Team CA takes the lead. CA 6-5 USA.
TEAM CA Tom Gudvangen defeated TEAM USA Ike Sherlock – 4 & 2
It was all square after five holes, before Gudvangen took total control of the match, winning four of the next six-holes to go 4UP. Even an impressive eagle by Sherlock on a 150-yard approach shot on the par-4 13th wasn’t enough to turn the tide. CA 7-5 USA.
TEAM CA David Stanley defeated TEAM USA Jim Dee – 4 & 2
Stanley, playing in his first Golfest Cup singles match on his birthday, celebrated his day in style, vaulting out to a convincing 5UP lead after only eight holes. Dee fought back to get it down to three, but ran out of holes down the stretch. CA 8-5 USA.
TEAM CA Jim Allen defeated TEAM USA Matt Rohr – 4 & 2
Allen led the entire distance and was up by three after seven-holes. Rohr scrapped back and cut it to one after 10-holes. The two-players had some ugly holes down the stretch, with Allen squeaking out some key pushes and wins. CA wins it’s fourth Singles match in a row. CA 9-5 USA.
TEAM USA Vander Brown defeated TEAM CA Mark Pickering – 6 & 4.
Brown continued his weekend dominance with three birdies in his take no prisoners victory over the Team CA Captain. He was up by five at the turn and played conservative golf the rest of the way to mathematically eliminate Pickering with four to play. Brown went 3-0, with eight birdies, at the 2015 Golfest Cup. CA 9-6 USA.
TEAM USA Chuck DeFrancisco halved the match with TEAM CA Art Taylor
This match should have belonged to the Team USA Captain, but it slipped away down the stretch. He lost two holes hitting the wrong ball, and then had a front row seat watching his 3UP lead disappear on the final three holes. Taylor hung tough to claim those holes and earn a tie. One hole in this match was won with a double-digit score. CA 9.5-6.5 USA.
TEAM USA Bob Potts halved the match with TEAM CA Mike Rittner
Potts shot a 42 on the front nine and chalked up a 2UP lead at the halfway point. Potts was 1UP after a birdie on 16, but Rittner racked up one of his own on 17 to tie it up. They matched strokes on the 18th to finish halved. CA earned it’s 10th point to retain the Cup. CA 10-7 USA.
TEAM CA John Lundgren defeated TEAM USA Clyde Hayes – 3 & 2
Lundgren won the first hole and never looked back. He was 3UP at the turn and traded holes the rest of the way to seal the match on number 16. His victory officially seals the 2015 Golfest Cup upset victory for Team CA. CA 11-7 USA.
TEAM USA Bill Stewart defeated TEAM CA Mark Suzda – 1UP
Stewart finished his first ever Golfest Cup Invitational event with an impressive 2-1-0 mark after a competitive battle with the 2014 Team CA Captain. Stewart never collapsed or withered under pressure, hitting an awesome and timely approach shot to within 10-feet on 18, to score the victory. CA 11-8 USA.
TEAM USA Craig Decker defeated TEAM CA Todd Baltzley – 4 & 3
Decker brought his A-Game for the final match on the Gold Course and Baltzley wasn’t able to answer the barrage. Decker led most of the way and put the match away on the back nine. FINAL SCORE: CA 11-9 USA.
Jim Allen – 2-1-0
Todd Baltzley – 2-1-0
Tom Gudvangen – 2-1-0
John Lundgren – 2-1-0
Adam Nystuen – 2-1-0
David Stanley – 2-1-0
Arthur Taylor – 1-1-1
Mark Pickering – 1-2-0
Mark Suzda – 1-2-0
Mike Rittner – 0-2-1
Vander Brown – 3-0-0
Bill Stewart – 2-1-0
Chuck DeFrancisco 1-1-1
Bob Potts – 1-1-1
Matt Rohr – 1-2-0
Ike Sherlock – 1-2-0
Jim Dee – 0-3-0
Clyde Hayes – 0-3-0