Virginia tops Carolinas at Captain's Putter Matches
LINVILLE, N.C. –– Two evenly-matched teams produced a close final result as the 24-golfer Virginias team notched a three-point victory (25½-22½) at the 68th Captain’s Putter Matches, which concluded today at Grandfather Golf and Country Club.

Virginias owned of a five-point advantage following first day four-ball and foursome matches, but Carolinas answered to claim singles’ encounters, 13-11. On Saturday’s deciding day, Virginias’ regulars won singles by one point (8½-7½), while Carolinas claimed senior singles’ matches by three points (5½-2½).

Over the two days of matches, Virginias’ regulars outscored their opponents by six points (19-13), while Carolinas’ seniors held a three-point advantage (9½-6½). All told, the three-point margin separating the teams signaled the closest margin of victory for either squad since the event went to a one-point per match format in 2002.

Virginias retained the Captain’s Putter Trophy awarded to the champions and notched its third straight victory in the matches. Virginias three-match victory run marks the second time in the all-time history of the event that Virginias has won three consecutive years, having also accomplished the feat from 2002-04.

Of the 24 matches on the final day, nine were decided by a 1-up margin and two others were halved. With the matches tied in the closing moments, team-match veteran and seven-time VSGA golfer of the year Keith Decker (Martinsville, Va.) and 26-year-old Richmond-area golfer Ben Beach (Glen Allen, Va.) notched 1-up victories as did former Virginia Tech standout Mikey Moyers, 22, of Stanardsville, Va. (Charlottesville area) to help carry Virginias to the title. Northern Virginian Scott Shingler (Haymarket, Va.) also posted a victory in the late-going.

Carolinas closed the margin thanks, in part, to late wins on the regular side by Pat Thompson (Asheville, N.C.) and Brian Westveer (Charlotte, N.C.), while fellow Charlotte resident Jim Grainger registered a win on the seniors’ side. Westveer and Grainger were each 1-up victors.

With wins on the regular side on the final day, Beach, Shingler, Matt Chandler (Hardy, Va.) and Vincent Nadeau (Gordonsville, Va.) paced Virginias over the two days of play, collecting all of the possible three points available. Also scoring victories for Virginias’ regulars on the final day were Jimmy Delp (Arlington, Va.) and Sam O’Dell (Hurricane, W.Va.)

For Carolinas, Chris Mitchell (Prosperity, S.C.) was a part of recording a team-leading two and a half points for the regulars. Carolinas’ regulars also received wins from Scott Harvey (Greensboro, N.C.), Daniel Claytor (Rocky Mount, N.C.), Steven Brame (Henderson, N.C.) and Sherrill Britt (West End, N.C.).

Virginias went undefeated in Friday’s opening day afternoon four-ball matches, capturing the matches, 7-1 (six wins and two halved encounters). That result would ultimately prove instrumental in the outcome of the event as Virginias built a cushion heading to singles.

On the seniors side, John Long (Centreville, Va.) and Pat Tallent (Vienna, Va.) came away with final-day victories and led the way in the age category for Virginias, returning two points each. For Carolinas’ seniors Grainger and Rick Cloninger (Fort Mill, S.C.) each logged three points. In senior singles’ matches, Andy Congdon (Murrells Inlet, S.C.), James Pearson (Charlotte, N.C.) and Paul Simson (Raleigh, N.C.), a two-time USGA Senior Amateur champion, also produced wins.

Carolinas leads the all-time series 47-20-1, but Virginias owns a 7-5-0 lead dating back to 2002.

ABOUT THE Captain’s Putter Matches

The Captain’s Putter is an annual set of matches pitting top golfers from North Carolina and South Carolina (Carolinas Golf Association) against top players from Virginia and West Virginia (Virginia State Golf Association and West Virginia State Golf Association). Rosters contain 14 regular, 8 senior (age 55+) and 2 super senior (65+) players. The matches consist of two days of competition, with opening round four-ball and foursome matches, followed by final day singles matches. A victory in each match scores one point in the Ryder Cup-style format, and if a match goes 18 holes without a decision, one- half point is awarded to each side.

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