RENO-TAHOE. Tony Secretario and Peter Fessler each went 5-0 and Max Anderson, Nick Jenkins and newcomer Frank Mccaslin all went 4-1 as the Seattle Team cruised to a four-point win in the nineteenth playing of the Greenspan Cup. Joe Stansill added 3 1/2 points for the World Team, which lost for the third time in four years after winning five in a row from 2008-12. With three points each, Blake Mori, Norman Cheuk and Adam Waalkes were the only other World Team players with winning records.
“Five straight losses is a far cry from where we are now — two wins by a total of sixteen points,” said Seattle Team Captain John Harrison. “I’m not sure what’s happened, but I don’t see the Cup leaving the 206 anytime soon.”
“I don’t know what to say other than we need to play better,” lamented World Team Captain Paul Sharkey. “(Jon) Gaston, (Greg) Cheever and I went a combined 4-10-1, and that ain’t gonna get it done.”
As with most Greenspans, the result of this outing was hardly a fait accompli. The World Team jumped out to a 4-2 lead in Friday morning’s fourball matches; three of its wins came before the sixteenth tee. Captain Sharkey’s squad held serve in the afternoon Aggregate Stableford matches, and but for Peter Fessler’s last hole birdie to beat Cheuk and Steve Cox by a 60-59 tally, the Seattle Team’s overnight deficit would have been worse than two.
But the undefeated Seattle Team veteran did make birdie, and that set the tone for a big Seattle Saturday. Team 206 won 4 ½ of the six points available in the morning Bestball Medal round at Coyote Moon (only Cheuk and Tim O’Brien won) and what was a two-point World Team lead was suddenly a one-point deficit – ironically, the same score as it was going into Saturday afternoon last year.
Saturday afternoon went no better for the Worlds. Seattle won the Bestball Tiebreaker stanza by a 4-2 count, its only losses coming by Jack Laidlaw, who played Stansell/Cheever on his own; and by Simon Spratley and Mike Waldner, who withdrew in their match against Brad Nelson and Steve Cox when Waldner was stung by a bevy of wasps and pulled his calf trying to get away.
“I didn’t know Waldner had those kind of moves,” quipped Nelson, who beat Spratley for the second time in two days.
The most memorable match of Saturday afternoon was Anderson/Jenkins v. Cheuk and newcomer Bob Thomas. The latter rallied from a four-hole deficit with four to play to take the match to the final hole and would have eaked out a halve had Thomas not left a twenty-foot putt an inch short on their final green.
“That halve would have been tough to live down,” quipped a relieved Jenkins. “But a win’s a win – even if we did it with two sixes on the last hole.”
The World Team entered Sunday with a three-point deficit – the same as 2015. The team played better than it did last year – 1 ½ total points is easy to beat – but a 6 1/2 – 5 1/2 World loss in singles still added up to a 20-16 Seattle win. The biggest surprises: the until-then 0-4 Spratley’s 6&4 win over Stefan Gran and the injured Waldner’s halve with Thomas.
Those weren’t the kind of surprises the World Team was looking for.
If XIX had a sub-theme, it was injuries. Seattle’s. Longtime 206 vet Chris White couldn’t make the trip due to a serious degenerative back condition. Fellow vet Joel Aro made it to the Biggest Little City in the World but could manage only four holes in the practice round before packing it in for the weekend. And Waldner withdrew on Saturday afternoon after his aforementioned losing battle with a wasp’s nest and played Sunday on one leg.
But the injuries made no difference. Despite effectively ceding two points to the Worlds – the aforementioned Spratley/Waldner WD and Aro’s DNP singles “loss” – and playing four other matches 2 v 1, Seattle still won by four.
“We’ll probably never threaten the twelve-point win we had in 2015,” opined Harrison. “But had we have been at full strength, we may have threatened the nine-point margin we had in 2003.”
When the discussion turns to how bad the losses are, it can only bad news for one team. And as of now, that team is the World.
“It’s been a rough couple of years,” lamented Sharkey, who himself seems to have modeled his swing after Charles Barkley’s. “But at least we didn’t have to wear traffic cone orange shirts.”
Next year’s Cup, the twentieth, is scheduled for July 2017. The likely site: Victoria, British Columbia. Jenkins will captain the Seattle squad, while Cheever will return as captain for the Worlds.
Friday Morning Fourball (Gray’s Crossing)
Anderson/Jenkins d. Cox/Stansell 5&4
Gran/Sharkey d. Mccaslin/(no partner) 5&3
Fessler/Secretario d. Cheever/Gaston 3&2
Cheuk/Nelson d. Ahern/Spratley 5&4
Mori/O’Brien d. Deandre/Laidlaw 5&3
Thomas/Waalkes d. Harrison/Waldner 1 up
World leads 4-2
Friday Afternoon Aggregate Stableford (Old Greenwood)
Anderson/Jenkins d. Cheever/O’Brien 69-51
Mori/Waalkes d. Deandre/Laidlaw 54-42
Mccaslin/Waldner d. Gran/Nelson 64-52
Gaston/Sharkey d. Harrison/(no partner) 35-33
Stansell/Thomas d. Ahern/Spratley 45-42
Fessler/Secretario d. Cheuk/Cox 60-59
World leads 7-5
Saturday Morning Fourball Medal (Coyote Moon)
Cheuk/O’Brien d. Jenkins/Spratley 64-69
Ahern/Secretario d. Nelson/Waalkes 66-69
Sharkey/Stansell h. Waldner/(no partner) 79-79
Harrison/Mccaslin d. Cox/Thomas 64-68
Anderson/Laidlaw d. Cheever/Gaston 65-79
Deandre/Fessler d. Gran/Mori 65-68
Seattle leads 9 1/2 – 8 1/2
Saturday Afternoon Fourball Tiebreaker (Coyote Moon)
Cox/Nelson d. Spratley/Waldner WD
Harrison/Mccaslin d. Gaston/Sharkey 3&2
Anderson/Jenkins d. Cheuk/Thomas 1 up
Ahern/Secretario d. Mori/Waalkes 4&2
Cheever/Stansell d. Laidlaw/(no partner) 4&3
Deandre/Fessler d. Gran/O’Brien 1 up
Seattle leads 13 1/2 – 10 1/2
Singles (Red Hawk [Lakes])
Mccaslin d. Nelson 5&3
Mori d. Anderson 2&1
Spratley d. Gran 6&4
Jenkins d. O’Brien 4&3
Cox d. Ahern 6&4
Stansell d. Laidlaw 1 up
Waalkes (no opponent)
Secretario d. Cheever 6&5
Harrison d, Gaston 4&2
Waldner h. Thomas
Fessler d. Sharkey 2&1
Cheuk d. Deandre 3&2
Seattle wins 20 — 16
- Ahern 2-3
- Aro DNP
- Anderson 4-1
- Deandre 2-3
- Fessler 5-0
- Harrison 3-2
- Jenkins 4-1
- Laidlaw 1-4
- Mccaslin 4-1
- Secretario 5-0
- Spratley 1-4
- Waldner 1-2-2
- Cheuk 3-2
- Cheever 1-4
- Cox 2-3
- Gaston 1-4
- Gran 2-3
- Mori 3-2
- Nelson 2-3
- O’Brien 2-3
- Sharkey 2-2-1
- Stansell 3-1-1
- Thomas 2-2-1
- Waalkes 3-2