BANDON DUNES, OR — When the Seattle Team won its sixth straight Greenspan Cup in 2007, most players thought it was a streak that would never be broken.
Now they’re thinking again.
Thanks to a Sunday singles drubbing that saw the World Team capture nine of twelve possible points, the Paul Sharkey-led defending champs beat the once-powerful Seattle Team 19.5 — 16.5 for its fourth straight Greenspan win. Sharkey, Brad Nelson, Adam Waalkes and Brian Patten contributed 3 1/2 points each for the Worlds, which evened the matches at 7-7 overall. Newcomer Paul Ahern, Tony Secretario and Captain John Harrison had 3 1/2 points for Seattle.
“I thought we had ’em,” lamented Harrison, who lost in his inaugural run as captain. “It just goes to show that, no matter how big your lead is, you still have to show up for singles. We didn’t.”
The matches got off to a tight start as the teams split the Friday morning fourball matches. Secretario birdied 18 to give him and Ahern a 1-up victory over Sharkey and Stephan Gran, and the Seattle Team made it to the afternoon without a deficit for the first time in years. Team 206 then won the Friday afternoon aggregate stableford round in stiff winds at Bandon Trails and Pacific Dunes to take a one-point lead into Saturday.
That day proved even better. After the World Team evened the score in the early morning fourball medal round, the Seattle Team dominated the afternoon fourball tiebreaker, taking 4 1/2 of a possible six points and a three-up lead going into singles despite Waalkes’ third career hole in one (Hole 8 at Old MacDonald). The Seattle Team won both formats where both balls counted (aggregate stableford, fourball tiebreaker), and took its largest lead into singles since the fire-marred Kelowna matches of 2003. “On Saturday night I really liked our chances,” said former Seattle Captain Nick Jenkins, who had two ties on Saturday.
But it was not to be.
The World Team came roaring back in Sunday singles at Bandon Crossings, winning eight of twelve matches and nine of twelve points overall. Only Joel Aro and Secretario managed wins, over Tim O’Brien and Jon Gaston respectively. The rest was a collective blowout. The World Team closed out six of the remaining ten matches before the eighteenth hole, and the greatest comeback in Greenspan history was complete. No word on what Sharkey said to his boys, but O’Brien was heard to scream he was “sick of losing to Purdue” before losing to Aro.
Greenspan XIV will be remembered for Waalkes’ aforementioned ace, Patten’s caddie Lynn Carrothers (a serious looker, she) and Jack Laidlaw’s never-ending texting. But mostly it will be remembered for the wind — in particular, how brutal it was. Winds gusted up to 50 mph in the afternoons, with only Friday morning’s round at Bandon Trails being relatively wind-free. “The wind got the best of me,” said Jenkins, who, like other players, clubbed up as many as five clubs at times. “I haven’t flushed a 140-yard three-iron since the eighth grade, and by the end all that guessing made me a complete mess.” Added Jeff Benezra: “It’s hard to believe given their collective waist line, but the World Team may have been better conditioned than we were.”
Greenspan Cup XV is tentatively scheduled for July 2012. Suncadia, Idaho and Washington are currently being mentioned as possible vanues. Harrison and Sharkey will return as captains. The Seattle guys know that four isn’t six — but it’s getting awfully close.
Friday Morning (Fourball Match)
Anderson/Jenkins d. Smith/Stonesifer 2&1
Gaston/Waalkes d. Benezra/Harrison 2&1
Cheuk/Nelson d. Aro/Waldner 2&1
Ahern/Secretario d. Gran/Sharkey 1 up
Birrell/O’Brien d. Laidlaw/Whitaker 2&1
Deandre/Price d. Cheever/Patten 6&5
Friday afternoon (Aggregate Stableford)
Benezra/Jenkins d. Cheuk/Smith 49-42
Aro/Harrison d. Gaston/Stonesifer 41-39
Nelson/Waalkes d. Anderson/Waldner 51-46
Cheever/Sharkey d. Laidlaw/Secretario 52-46
Ahern/Whitaker d. Birrell/Gran 40-39
Deandre/Price h. O’Brien/Patten 39-39
Seattle leads 6.5 – 5.5
Saturday morning (Fourball Medal)
Harrison/Waldner d. Smith/Stonesifer 71-73
Birrell/O’Brien d. Benezra/Whitaker 67-77
Cheever/Gran h. Aro/Jenkins 71-71
Ahern/Laidlaw h. Gaston/Waalkes 68-68
Anderson/Secretario h. Cheuk/Nelson 71-71
Patten/Sharkey d. Deandre/Price 65-76
Saturday afternoon (Fourball Tiebreaker)
Benezra/Waldner d. Cheever/Smith 5&4
Harrison/Whitaker d. Birrell/Stonesifer 5&4
Aro/Jenkins h. Gran/O’Brien
Patten/Sharkey d. Laidlaw/Price 4&3
Ahern/Secretario d. Gaston/Waalkes 5&4
Anderson/Deandre d. Cheuk/Nelson 1 up
Seattle leads 13.5 — 10.5
Sunday morning (Singles, Bandon Crossings)
Cheever d. Waldner 6&5
Birrell d. Ahern 1 up
Smith d. Benezra 5&4
Gran d. Jenkins 2 up
Cheuk d. Deandre 1 up
Secretario d. Gaston 5&4
Aro d. O’Brien 2&1
Anderson h. Stonesifer
Nelson d. Whitaker 7&6
Patten d. Price 4&3
Waalkes d. Laidlaw 5&4
Harrison h. Sharkey
World wins 19 1/2 – 16 1/2