Illinois-Wisconsin Cup: Badger State strikes back
08 May 2007
see also: Illinois-Wisconsin Cup Matches, Maple Bluff Country Club


LAKE GENEVA, Wisc. (May 6, 2007)-- After last year's inaugural 64-44 victory over Wisconsin, the Illinois team came into the 2007 IW Cup expecting to again dominate the Badgers and demonstrate their superiority over their Northern neighbors. With significant personnel changes, the Wisconsin team came intending to catch the Illinois team sleeping, led by Hall of Famers Bob Gregorski, John Pallin, and Gary Menzel. The event opened at the Players Course at Geneva National in Lake Geneva with sunny and windy skies and 55 degree temperatures. I

llinois team captain Larry Vaughan hit the first ball, and it wasn't long before the rout was on. The Wisconsin team, led by Hall of Famer John Pallin and Randy Warobick, won 6-0 against John and Scott Wright. Not to be outdone, Hall of Famers Bob Gregorski and Gary Menzel swept Vance Antoniou and former Wisconsin player Steve Sawtell.

In the showcase match of the day, Wisconsin Player of the Year Matt Behm and Eric Hjortness took on Illinois Player of the Year Todd Mitchell and Danny Brown. A 2-foot putt by Behm won the 9th hole to give the Wisconsin team the front nine, and the match came to the 18th in a dead heat.

Playing into a major headwind, Mitchell cleared the hazard by five yards, and Behm by one. Eric Hjortness laid up, and after hitting a 3-wood 20 yards in front of the green was able to wedge it to 2 feet. This gave Matt the green light to go for his 50 foot downhill putt, which he sank into the middle of the cup to win the match and a crucial 5 points. At the end of the first day, Wisconsin was ahead 26-10. The domination continued the second day, with Stu Grendahl leading the way for the Badgers with a 6-0 win over Jerry Maatman and the weekend leading 11 points. Other players to win 6 points included Illinois' Vance Antoniou and Bob Christensen, while Dave Foley, Tim O'Brien and Hall of Famer Pat Boyle captured 6 points in their matches.

The Badgers won the Sunday matches by a score of 39-33, and the event was won 65-43 by the Badgers. When asked what the story of the event was afterward, Illinois Cup Team Captain Larry Vaughan declared "The story was Wisconsin opening up a giant can of "Whoop Ass" and directing it to the Illinois team.", and a declaration that next year's event on Illinois' home turf would yield a "different result".

Wisconsin team captain Eric Hjortness said simply: "We had every major winner of last year's major events in attendance, and they played like the champions they are. It was a great victory for Wisconsin, and a great result for the event. We caught Illinois sleeping, and next year's event will bring out the very best players from both states - GAME ON!:"

--Courtesy Eric Hjortness

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