This weekend was the annual Ryder Cup tournament at North Hills Country Club. I somehow qualified for it, and was excited to partake in the action.
Day one was team play: Nine holes of partners best ball, followed by nine holes of alternating shot. I was fortunate to be paired up with Brian Seider, who is a nine handicap but quite capable of shooting in the 70’s. We played very well on the front nine, and Brian played incredibly on the back, consistently pulling both of us to ties and wins when I’d suddenly lost my swing.
Brian and I won all three points (front nine, back nine, and overall) on day one, and Team Europe (our team) had a commanding first day lead of 10-5.
Day two consisted of individual matches, with 30 points up for grabs. I had a tough draw against Don Barranco, who is a 14-handicap (versus my 15 for the blue tees at NHCC) and well known to be a fantastic short-game player.
The front nine was a dog fight, with me going up one, then bringing the match all square, then him up one, all square, me up one. I managed to salvage a bogey on nine after a wayward tee shot to tie the hole and give Team Europe another point with a one-point front nine margin.
My fellow Team Europe teammate in our foursome, Jay Cox, uncharacteristically struggled on the front nine, and dropped a point to Ben Pilgreen. As we made the turn, the American team had found their way back in to the overall standings at 13-10. Things would get interesting on the back nine!
I found my swing again on the practice range this morning, and was feeling good. I salvaged a lot of holes with long putts, and failed to miss a single putt outside of five feet all day. With Jay’s 35 on the back, and my 41, we were able to get five points back for the European squad on our way in.
We were the penultimate group of the day, with a 9:03 tee time, and the point totals were all square following our match. Everyone was watching as the final grouping got to the 18th green, and a clutch downhill putt by John Casper left a three-footer to clinch the tournament for the Americans.
As the numbers were tallied up, Team USA had pulled off a miraculous comeback with an 18-12 total on the day, and a slim overall tournament victory of 23-22.