Three years ago, Brian Patten sported an under-the-speed-limit swing speed and was lucky to eke out a 1 up singles win over Mike Waldner, his only point of Greenspan Cup XI.
This year, he went 5-0 and was the star player on a World Team that has now won five Greenspan Cups in a row.
Patten’s teammate Chris Hansen also went 5-0 while newcomer Joe Stansell went 4-1 for the winning team. Tony Secretario and John Harrison went 4-1 for the Seattle Team, which hasn’t won since a year before Barack Obama was elected president.
“I thought this was our year,” lamented Harrison, who despite going 7-2-1 over the last two years will step down as Seattle captain with an 0-2 record. “Captain Sharkey seems to have our number.”
At 4-0, that he does.
The matches started off close on Friday morning. The World Team won the morning fourball match stanza 3 ½ – 2 1/2, with all six matches reaching at least the 16th hole. But the Seattle Team fought back to even the score at 6-6 after Stableford. Longtime Seattle captain Nick Jenkins and rookie Baron Kofoed rallied to beat Ben Smith and Norman Cheuk 56-54 with the sun setting, a win Jenkins later called his most satisfying of the decade.
But Saturday morning belonged to the World Team. Three of the Seattle Team’s six fourball medal teams could manage no better than bestball 76’s (ouch!): the World Team won all three of those matches on its way to a 4-2 stanza win. But the Seattleites fought back in afternoon fourball tiebreaker. After the Seattle team briefly fell behind 13-9, the teams of Secretario/Chris White and Harrison/Steve Whitaker rallied to win close matches at day’s end to make the score 13-11.
But Seattle could not close the gap in Sunday singles.
Stansell used an uber-long 4 iron tee ball to wallop Jeff Benezra 7&5, while Patten beat Paul Ahern 7&6 to cap his perfect Cup. Joel Aro got stuck in a greenside bunker on 18 to lose his match to Adam Waalkes 2 down to give the World Team a guaranteed 18 points. And when Hansen closed out Max Anderson 2&1, the Cup was the World’s.
“We lost 19 ½ — 16 ½ last year and 19-17 this year, so we’re getting closer,” quipped Jenkins. “At this rate we’ll win again – in four years.”
He was being facetious, of course. But for now the World’s dominance is clear. If the World Team wins next year it will tie the Seattle Team’s record of six Cups in a row, a record Jenkins, among others, once thought insurmountable.
Greenspan Cup XVI is scheduled for the summer of 2013. Sharkey will return as the World Team’s captain, while Benezra will captain the Seattle Team for the first time. Bandon Dunes is the likely destination.
- Ahern 1-3-1
- Anderson 3-2
- Aro 0-5
- Benezra 2-2-1
- Deandre 1-4
- Harrison 4-1
- Jenkins 2-3
- Kofoed 3-1-1
- Secretario 4-1
- Waldner 2-3
- Whitaker 1-4
- White 3-1-1
- Cheuk 3-2
- Cheever 1-4
- Gaston 1-3-1
- Hansen 5-0
- Nelson 1-3-1
- O’Brien 2-3
- Patten 5-0
- Sharkey 2-3
- Smith 2-2-1
- Stansell 4-1
- Stonesifer 2-3
- Waalkes 2-2-1
Friday Morning (Fourball Match)
- Cheuk/Patten d. Harrison/Jenkins 2 up
- Hansen/O’Brien d. Deandre/Whitaker 3&2
- Gaston/Smith h. Benezra/Kofoed
- Ahern/White d. Nelson/Stonesifer 2&1
- Anderson/Secretario d. Sharkey/Waalkes 2 up
- Cheever/Stansell d. Aro/Waldner 1 up
World leads 3 1/2 – 2 1/2
Friday Afternoon (Stableford)
- Anderson/Secretario d. Cheever/O’Brien 67-58
- Jenkins/Kofoed d. Cheuk/Smith 56-54
- Hansen/Stansell d. Aro/Waldner 66-62
- Nelson/Waalkes h. Ahern/White 65-65
- Patten/Sharkey d. Deandre/Whitaker 63-54
- Benezra/Harrison d. Gaston/Stonesifer 59-53
Saturday Morning (Fourball Medal)
- Nelson/Smith d. Deandre/Jenkins 73-77
- O’Brien/Waalkes d. Aro/Kofoed 67-68
- Anderson/Secretario d. Cheever/Stansell 66-73
- Patten/Stonesifer d. Ahern/White 66-76
- Harrison/Waldner d. Gaston/Sharkey 71-76
- Cheuk/Hansen d. Benezra/Whitaker 70-76
World leads 10-8
Saturday Afternoon (Fourball Tiebreaker)
- Benezra/Kofoed d. O’Brien/Waalkes 4&3
- Gaston/Hansen d. Ahern/Jenkins 3&2
- Smith/Stansell d. Anderson/Deandre 1 up
- Patten/Stonesifer d. Aro/Waldner 2 up
- Secretario/White d. Cheuk/Nelson 3&2
- Harrison/Whitaker d. Cheever/Sharkey 2 up
World leads 13-11
Sunday Afternoon (Singles)
- Kofoed d. Cheever 4&2
- Stansell d. Benezra 7&5
- Waldner d. Smith 3&1
- White d. Nelson 3&1
- Patten d. Ahern 7&6
- Deandre d. O’Brien 2&1
- Cheuk d. Secretario 1 up
- Sharkey d. Whitaker 3&2
- Waalkes d. Aro 2 up
- Jenkins d. Stonesifer 4&3
- Hansen d. Anderson 2&1
- Harrison d. Gaston 2 up
World wins 19-17