A few photos from our stay in Reno-Tahoe:
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
A few photos from our stay in Bandon (more here):
There are certain numbers that are synonymous with unbreakable records in sports.
56 — Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak in 1941.
100 — Wilt Chamberlain’s points in a single 1962 NBA game.
11 — Byron Nelson’s consecutive tournament wins in 1945.
Add 24 to that list. That’s the number of points the Seattle Team scored in defeating the World Team at Greenspan Cup XVIII in Bandon, Oregon.
Team 206’s 24-12 win was 1 1/2 points better that its 22 1/2 — 13 1/2 win in Greenspan Cup IV, a competition record which stood for fourteen years. It was also 8 1/2 points more than it scored just a year earlier at Greenspan Cup XVII. Mike Waldner led the Seattleites with a 4-1 record, while Max Anderson, Vince Deandre, Peter Fessler, Captain John Harrison, Nick Jenkins, Pat Scoccolo and Tony Secretario all went 3-1-1 for the winners.
Leo Madden went 3-1-1 and newcomer Blake Mori went 3-2 for the World Team, which lost for only the second time in eight Greenspans.
“Everything that could have gone right for us did,” opined Harrison, who improved his record to 1-2 as Seattle’s captain. “The golf gods seemed to make up for more or less eight years of bad luck in one Greenspan.”
Despite the final tally the outcome was hardly a fait accompli. Seattle jumped to a 4-2 lead after Friday morning fourball, winning four matches and tying two more. But the World Team hung tough in the afternoon Stableford at Pacific Dunes. With Seattle up 7-3 and threatening to pull away, the teams of Cheuk/Mori and Nelson/Madden each won their closing matches handily to make the score 7-5 heading into Saturday.
Captain Paul Sharkey’s World squad narrowed the gap on Saturday morning. The Worlds took 3 1/2 points in the morning fourball medal at Bandon Dunes to cut the lead to one. But it was all downhill from there. With their injured colleague Joel Aro watching on course, the Seattle boys took four of six points in the afternoon fourball tiebreaker at Old MacDonald to extend their lead to three going into Sunday singles.
Oh, the singles.
A three-point lead is usually not insurmountable going into singles. But this time it was. Team 206 won the first nine matches at Bandon Crossings — certainly a record if there was such a stat — and the outcome of the competition was decided when Deandre beat John Sheehan 1 up in the fifth match of the day. Only Sharkey, who defeated Simon Spratley, and Joe Stansell, who halved Harrison, put anything on the board for the World Team.
“Never seen anything like it,” lamented Sharkey, who lost for only the second time as captain. “Pretty sure I won’t see it again.”
Greenspan Cup XIX is tentatively scheduled for the last weekend in July 2016. Captains Harrison and Sharkey are expected to return.
Friday Morning Fourball (Bandon Trails)
Ahern/Spratley d. O’Brien/Nelson 4&2
Gran/Mori d. Jenkins/Birnbach 2 up
Waalkes Cheever h. Anderson/Secretario
Harrison/White d. Stansell/Sheehan 3&1
Fessler/Waldner d. Sharkey/Gaston 6&4
Scoccolo/Deandre h. Cheuk/Madden
Seattle leads 4-2
Friday Afternoon Stableford (Pacific Dunes)
Jenkins/Birnbach d Gaston/Sheehan 46-42
Waalkes/O’Brien d. Harrison/White 59-58
Deandre/Scoccolo d. Stansell/Cheever 62-51
Secretario/Anderson d. Gran/Sharkey 68-49
Cheuk/Mori d. Waldner/Fessler 55-47
Nelson/Madden d. Spratley/Ahern 57-37
Seattle leads 7-5
Saturday Morning Fourball Medal (Bandon Dunes)
Cheever/Madden d. Scoccolo/Deandre 67-69
Harrison/Waldner d. Stansell/Sharkey 65-71
Waalkes/Mori d. Anderson/Secretario 60-64
Sheehan/Nelson d. Spratley Birnbach 70-79
Jenkins/Fessler h. Cheuk/Gaston 65-65
Ahern/White d. Gran/O’Brien 62-64
Seattle leads 9 1/2 – 8 1/2
Saturday Afternoon Fourball Tiebreaker (Old MacDonald)
Secretario/Scoccolo d. O’Brien/Waalkes 3&2
Anderson/Deandre d. Mori/Gran 3&1
Harrison/Waldner d. Stansell/Sharkey 5&4
Jenkins/Fessler d Nelson/Sheehan 3&2
Cheever/Gaston d. Birnbach/Spratley 2&1
Madden/Cheuk d. Ahern/White 6&5
Seattle leads 13 1/2 – 10 1/2
Singles (Bandon Crossings)
Anderson d Cheever 2 up
Birnbach d Waalkes 1 up
Waldner d Mori 3&2
Scoccolo d Madden 3&2
Deandre d Sheehan 1 up
Secretario d Nelson 5&4
Ahern d O’Brien 6&4
Jenkins d Gran 2&1
Fessler d Gaston 6&5
Harrison h. Stansell
Sharkey d Spratley 2&1
White d Cheuk 3&2
Seattle wins 24-12
University Place, WA — A decade ago, Adam Waalkes was the opponent every Seattle Team member wanted to face. Today, no 206er wants any part of him.
The seventeen-year Greenspan Cup veteran went 3-1-1 to help the World Team reclaim the Cup 20 1/2 — 15 1/2 at Chambers Bay. (Share site I Pics.) Long-feared Leo Madden went 4-1 for the winners, who won the annual competition for the sixth time in seven years. Michael Richardson and Jon Gaston also went 3-1-1 for the Worlds, while newcomer Eric Ward went 4-1 for the Emerald City boys.
“Adam’s the best 17 on the planet,” lamented Seattle’s Jeff Benezra, who came up on the short end of the Waalkes stick in Saturday morning best ball. “The USGA needs to re-rate (Waalkes’ home course) Plateau now, before Adam wrecks more havoc on a clearly superior Seattle team.”
Early on it appeared not even Sir Pop-a-Lot would be enough for the Worlds to reclaim the Cup, which has resided in Nick Jenkins’s family room for the last year. The teams of Max Anderson/Eric Ward and John Harrison/Chris White both won their matches on the 14th hole at Gold Mountain’s Olympic Course and the Seattle Team led by a point after the Friday morning bestball matches. But the lead was short lived as the World Team won four points in the afternoon Stableford at Gold Mountain’s Cascade Course. It could have been worse: World Team Captain Paul Sharkey and Tim O’Brien both missed two footers on the 18th hole to hand their match to Peter Fessler and Jenkins, 71-70.
“I have a Doug Sanders history with Jenkins on 18th holes,” lamented O’Brien who, in 2011, missed a one-foot putt on Bandon Dunes’ final hole that handed this year’s Seattle captain and Joel Aro a half point in a match they should have lost.
O’Brien bounced back the next morning, however, as the Worlds extended their lead to three heading back to Chambers Bay. Four World teams — John Sheehan/Joe Stansell, Jason Matzat/Waalkes, O’Brien/Richardson and Madden/Brad Nelson — shot 65’s or better to extend the World Team’s lead to three. Seattle bounced back in the Saturday afternoon fourball tiebreaker matches at Chambers Bay, however, to narrow the deficit to two heading into Sunday singles.
Because the World Team won the practice round tiebreaker, however, the Seattle Team needed to win 7 1/2 of twelve points in Sunday singles to retain the Cup.
It didn’t come close.
Only Baron Kofoed and Ward won their singles matches for the Seattle boys, and thanks to 2 1/2 points from a record five halved matches, the World Team cruised to a five-point victory.
“With Adam as tough as he is now and a few new faces on the roster, the World Team has no weak links this side of Gaston’s insides,” opined Jenkins, who slipped to .500 as a captain. “If we’re going to avoid another five-year losing streak we’re going to need everyone to step up their games — including me.”
Better play would help, but so would accurate handicaps. Captains Sharkey and Jenkins elected to go with the July 15 GHIN cycle instead of the updated July 30 one, mostly because the GHIN update wasn’t scheduled to happen until a few hours before the Friday morning round. That decision may have made a difference. Jenkins’s handicap, for example, went up .7 strokes, while Waalkes’ went down 1.2 strokes. Waalkes and O’Brien beat Jenkins and Tony Secretario 3&1 — six hours after GHIN posted its July 30 GHIN cycle.
Jenkins, however, doesn’t blame the handicaps for his team’s second-place finish. “Some guys went up, others went down — It probably would have all come out in the wash. Ultimately we just got outplayed.”
Team 206 won’t have to wait as long as the Worlds did for its chance to take back the Cup. Whereas there was a fourteen-month gap between Greenspan Cup XVI at Pinehurst and this year’s competition, Greenspan Cup XVIII is already booked for July 30-August 2 at Bandon Dunes, Oregon — less than a year away. Sharkey and Jenkins will likely return as captains.
Fourball Match (at the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain)
Seattle leads 3 1/2 — 2 1/2
Aggregate Stableford (at the Cascade Course at Gold Mountain)
World leads 6 1/2 — 5 1/2
Bestball Medal (at the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain)
World leads 10 1/2 — 7 1/2
Fourball Tiebreaker (at Chambers Bay)
World leads 13-11
Singles (at Chambers Bay)
World Wins 20 1/2 — 15 1/2
A few pics from our trip to Pinehurst (the rest):