E.A. Sports Today

Tight at the top

Silver Lakes’ big win tightens Cup standings as ACC, Cider Ridge battle to draw

Jeff Bain pulls his birdie putt out of the cup on No. 1 that earned his team a halve in their match and Cider Ridge a draw with Anniston CC in their EA Sports Today Cup match Wednesday.

Jeff Bain pulls his birdie putt out of the cup on No. 1 that earned his team a halve in their match and Cider Ridge a draw with Anniston CC in their EA Sports Today Cup match Wednesday.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — When does a tie feel like a win? When the first-place team plays its closest challenger on the challenger’s home course and comes away with anything other than a loss.

Anniston Country Club went into Wednesday’s second round of the EASportsToday Challenge Cup holding a slim lead over host Cider Ridge and looking for some way to offset the home-course advantage that helped it so much in the opening round.

ACC pro Jake Spott hit a sharp approach to set up a match-winning birdie on his last hole and John Carrozza made a clutch net birdie to force Cider Ridge’s Jeff Bain to make a natural on their final hole as the clubs battled to a 6-6 draw that kept the margin at the top.

But while the first-round winners were battling it out, Silver Lakes tightened the team race with a 9-3 win over Cane Creek.

So, now, after two matches, ACC leads the four-week interclub series with 19.5 points, followed by Cider Ridge (17.5), Silver Lakes (17) and Cane Creek (6). ACC and Silver Lakes go head-to-head in Round 3 at Cane Creek next month.

“There’s no doubt (it feels like a win), especially hearing what happened at the end of that one match and our match,” Spott said. “If one of those things don’t happen, it’s a whole different ball game. We might lose, what, five points, and fall way behind.

“To get through their place, to tie, would be fine; when you had the lead going in, I’d take a tie. I see Silver Lakes played pretty good and they’re sneaking up on us now. It’s nice to see three teams that still have a shot at being the 1-2 seed (for the final match). With one match to go we feel pretty good with a two-point lead, but we still have to play one more good round of golf.”

Spott and Evans came to 18 all square in their gross match with James Rainwater and Tim Steward. Spott had 101 yards to the pin with his partner out of the hole and stuck it to three feet to set up the winning birdie.

Meanwhile, Bain and his partner Don Maddox were locked in a tight battle with Carrozza and Bob Kennamer. Carrozza was getting a stroke on the final hole — and needed it. He left his approach from the rough short of the green and then pitched on short of the hole.

Bain hit his approach to two feet and appeared poised to steal a point. But Carrozza made his putt with a stroke forcing Bain to make his putt to halve.

Bain and Maddox were giving their opponents more than 20 handicap strokes, so they knew they had to be sharp. They had three eagles in the match — Maddox got 9 and 13, Bain got 15. A miscalculation of handicap strokes cost them a potential hole-winning net birdie on No. 3.

“We knew going in birdies were essential and we made as many as we could on the front,” Bain said. “Luckily (the final one) was two feet and not outside the hole. If it were three feet and outside, it might have been a different story.”

Bain and Maddox weren’t the only Cider Ridge team giving a lot of strokes to their opponents. Nate Pearce and Jason Johnson took a point from John Lindsey and Don Whitlow despite a spread of 21 strokes. Given that, Cider Ridge director of golf Doug Wert wasn’t disappointed with the draw, either.

“Based upon the handicap differences between our two handicap matches, getting the push was really good,” he said. “Both Pearce and Johnson and Bain and Maddox were giving up a lot of strokes. The fact we ended up still pushing, because of that I feel really good about what we did there.”

While the leading teams may have been happy about not losing ground on a really hot day, the big winner was Silver Lakes. The RTJ Trail team swept two matches and picked up 2.5 points in a third. Dustin Travis made a clutch birdie on 18 to square the back nine and win the scratch match.

“It was a huge day, 12 points is a huge day,” Silver Lakes captain Brennan Clay said. “I’m getting texts from all the guys who played; they’re pretty pumped. I didn’t even get out of the parking lot and had like two or three text me about how excited they are we’re back in it.”

The teams of Austin Minter-Ron Borchelt and Ted Klimasewski-Tim MacTaggart both swept their matches. Klimasewski and MacTaggart have swept both their matches in the competition.

“We’re going to stick them on a team for good,” Clay said. “They’re great guys and they can play some golf, too. It’s huge to have them.”

Round 2 Matches
At Cider Ridge GC, Oxford

Silver Lakes 9, Cane Creek 3
Brennan Clay-Dustin Travis (SL) def. Kenny Szuch-Jeremy McGatha, 2.5-0.5
Austin Minter-Ron Borchelt (SL) def. Matt Rogers-Grant Hockman, 3-0
Clay Calkins-Landon Straub (CC) def. Bobby Luttrell-Ken Green, 2.5-0.5
Ted Klimasewski-Tim MacTaggart (SL) def. Bill Curry-Dennis Moyer, 3-0

Anniston CC 6, Cider Ridge 6
Jake Spott-Lance Evans (ACC) def. James Rainwater-Tim Steward, 2.5-0.5
John Lindsey-Don Whitlow (ACC) def. Nate Pearce-Jason Johnson, 2-1
Bob Kennamer-John Carrozza (ACC) halve with Jeff Bain-Don Maddox, 1.5-1.5
Ted Martin-Ralph Carter (CR) def. Tom Roberts-Bob Orchid, 3-0

Points standings (including bonus points)
Anniston CC 19.5
Cider Ridge GC 17.5
Silver Lakes 17.0
Cane Creek 6.0

Individual point leaders
(Through 2 matches)
Tim MacTaggart, SL 6.0 (2-0)
Ted Klimasewski, SL 6.0 (2-0)
Jake Spott, ACC 5.5 (2-0)
Don Whitlow, ACC 4.5 (2-0)
Lance Evans, ACC 4.0 (1-0-1)
John Carrozza, ACC 3.5 (1-0-1)
Bob Kennamer, ACC 3.5 (1-0-1)
Nate Pearce, CR 3.0 (1-1)
Ted Martin, CR 3.0 (1-1)
Austin Minter, SL 3.0 (1-0)
Ron Borchelt, SL 3.0 (1-0)
Ralph Carter, CR 3.0 (1-0)

Next matches
at Cane Creek GC

Anniston CC vs. Silver Lakes
Cider Ridge GC vs. Cane Creek GC

Bob Kennamer (foreground) focuses on the result of partner John Carrozza's approach shot from the rough on the final hole of their match.

Bob Kennamer (foreground) focuses on the result of partner John Carrozza’s approach shot from the rough on the final hole of their match.

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