Split of 2-Ball Matches Is Enough For 1 Point Win
By: Datzit Indaruf, Flem Cup Correspondent
MYRTLE BEACH, Nov 5, 2001 – A series of clutch back-9 performances carried Team England to a split of today’s 2 ball matches, earning them the 2 points needed to claim the first Flem Cup by a single point over Team U.S., 12-1/2 to 11-1/2.
For the Yanks, who needed to earn 4-1/2 points to send the Cup to a sudden death chip-off on Heritage Club’s legendary putting green, the day went off well enough as Jack Sr. and grandson Matt cruised to a pair of easy victories over Ray and Swampy, respectively. Jack’s victory was particularly one-sided, ending on 11th hole at 8&7. Although Matt’s was much closer, he led throughout, meeting every challenge Swampy threw at him in the 3&2 win.
In the second group out, the Yanks had chosen Lou to take on Phil and Chris to face the hot Milo. Milo and Lou would both take an early 3 up lead but while Milo’s lead would hold through the turn, Phil would storm back to make the turn all square against Lou. The back 9 would prove no better for the over-matched Chris as Milo’s relentlessly solid play would carry him to as much as a 5 up lead before coasting home with an easy 3&2 win. After Lou got back to 1 up on 10, Phil went on a tear, winning 3 straight holes to claim a 2 up lead with 5 left, a lead he would not relinquish as he coasted home to a 2&1 win, claiming the point that put the Brits over the top.
The third group out included two players would were just itching for some revenge after American Co-Captain Scott Dow’s drink-buying shenanigans of the other night. Super Dave Richmond and Stud-Muffin Matthews didn’t much care who their opponents were – any Yank would do – and the ones who were chosen were Pat (against Dave) and Jack Jr.
After 6 holes, Super Dave, who was 1 under gross at that point, stood 5 up while Greg, who was even par gross, was 4 up. Although Pat and Jack would make a run to get back to 3 down by the turn, there would be no further progress made, Dave winning 4 straight to close out Pat, 7&5, and Greg finishing off Jack one hole later, 5&4.
The final group out featured two marquee matches: the Captain’s match between Dow and Jennings, and the low handicapper match between Smokin’ Joe and Terry. For Dow, the day started dreadfully and he could easily have been 5 down after 6 but with the help of some luck and good recovery shots, he held the damage to 2 down before making the turn only 1 down, driving Captain Jennings perilously close to stark-raving mad in the process. Meanwhile, Terry and Joe engaged in a very tight match with Terry holding a slight edge, making the turn 2 up over Joe.
The back 9 saw Americans Dow and Neal continue to press play a bit and by 16, Terry was closing out Joe, 3&2. The Captains match was turning out to be the best of the day as both players converted clutch shots at various times but it would be on 17 that Dow’s final dagger would finish off Jennings. Standing 70 yards out, Dow’s pitching wedge almost slam-dunked before finishing 2 feet away for a 1 up lead he would hold through the finish, making the final Cup margin 12-1/2 to 11-1/2.
Dow so flummoxed Jennings today with his remarkable luck and recovery shots (often indistinguishable from one another) that the England Captain nicknamed him “Houdowni” after his dramatic loss, telling close friends that he “wanted a piece of Dow”. For his part, Dow said
“I feel that based on my 2 matches with Ian, I deserve his share of the money and I intend to take what is mine.”
Witnesses say that the shot that nearly put Jennings over the edge (and started the verbal foreplay in the hot tub and led to tomorrow’s grudge matches) was a tricky little bump and run up a hill next to 16 green. Hitting his trademark 8-iron about 6 feet in the air, the ball landed a foot or so short, bouncing twice in the rough before reaching the fringe with barely enough speed to clear the top of the hill and trickle down the far side, stopping only 4 feet below the hole. 1 up at the time, Dow would miss the putt, allowing Jennings to win the hole and level the match, but later, in a spirited hot tub debate, Jennings would claim the shot was pure luck while Dow angrily insisted the shot was exactly how he had planned it.
The verbal back and forth continued until Dow demanded Jennings’ Cup winnings ($60) in the form of a 4 ball match wager tomorrow, getaway day. With Jack Jr. as Dow’s partner and Stud-Muffin as Ian’s, the match should provide plenty of drama.
After hearing the news, another match was similarly formed with Chris and Terry challenging Swampy and Smokin’ Joe to their shares of the winning team’s shares. In other matches tomorrow, the individual prizes leaders, pitting the Stableford and Skins leaders on the last day, will feature Milo and Phil against Lou and Jack Sr. Those players, of course, will be mainly focused on trying to secure their own prize caches ($200 Stableford, $100 Skins) but will also be playing a team related match. The final match, which is sure to be as hard fought as the others, has Americans young Matt (the most valuable American Flem Cupper with 3.5 points) and Pat against Ray and ‘Super’ Dave ‘.
At the awards ceremony tonight, Team England broke out a Cross of St George flag in celebration after Captain Dow handed over the newly unveiled Cup trophy, an antique green-ish glass spittoon on a fine, wooden stand. A plaque is planned for the face of the stand with the winner’s and score of each year’s Cup engraved on it.