Team Virginia gets to keep the stick until next year (VSGA photo)
LAUREL FORK — The streak is over. But Ye Old Feudin’ Stick remains in Virginia’s hands.
The 35th Virginia-West Virginia Matches ended in a 14-14 deadlock, ending Virginia’s eight-year win streak in the annual competition between top players from the Virginia State Golf Association and the West Virginia Golf Association. But because Virginia won last year’s matches, the VSGA squad retains the Feudin’ Stick.
Virginia now owns a 29-4-2 edge in the all-time series, but the 2018 edition of the matches at Olde Mill were anything but one sided. West Virginia led 7½-6½ after Saturday’s four-ball and foursome matches, but Virginia reversed that score during Sunday singles to earn the draw.
Steve Serrao (Willow Oaks CC) clinched the tying point for the home team with a two-putt par on No. 18 to secure a hard-fought 2-up win over Brian Anania. Serrao grinded out pars on the final three holes to nab the crucial point. West Virginia won the final two singles matches to even the final score, the first tie in the matches since 2007.
“We wanted to win, obviously,” Serrao said. “But those guys are good. And the conditions were awful.”
Saturday’s idyllic springtime conditions gave way to howling wind and biting cold on a sunny Sunday morning, with most players wearing several layers to combat the chill. On a course filled with elevation changes, the wind caused all sorts of issues for players, dragging many out of their comfort zones.
“It was very uncomfortable, and it made me hit several shots that I almost never hit,” Serrao said. “I ended up with a couple of shanks. You’re over the ball, the wind is in your face. You try to hit it low and do all of this crazy stuff, and you’re not putting your normal swing on it. After a couple of those, I thought, I’m just going to put my normal swing on it and not do anything funny. Just let the wind take the ball.”
John Rosenstock (Virginia Beach National GC) won his singles match against West Virginia’s Philip Reale 6 and 5, and he took a simplistic view to battling the conditions.
“You have to stay really calm and just focus on your swing,” he said. “You can’t control when the wind is going to pick up. But if you try to make as many good swings as possible and understand that you’re going to catch some bad breaks. The ball isn’t going to go exactly where you want it sometimes. You just try to stay calm and swing easy.”
The over-50 set played a huge role in securing the point for Virginia. The VSGA squad claimed 4½ out of the possible six points in the senior and super senior matches, with Rich Buckner (Robert Trent Jones GC), Phil Mahone (Farmington CC), Leon Roday (Kinloch GC) and Bill Nunnenkamp (Blue Hills GC) claiming wins. In addition, Dave Pulk (Two Rivers CC) halved with Steve Fox.
Virginia needed every bit of that strong play from its seniors, because West Virginia’s regulars won five out of a possible eight points on Sunday.
Josh Arbaugh and Ben Palmer continued their strong play for the WVGA squad, both winning their singles matches to finish the weekend 3-0. Nunnenkamp was the lone VSGA player to finish 3-0. Adam Houck (The Federal Club) joined Rosenstock and Serrao as singles winners for the VSGA on Sunday.
View results for Virginia-West Virginia Team Matches
ABOUT THE Virginia-West Virginia Team Matches
Team matches between amateur teams representing
the Virginia State Golf Association (VSGA) and the
Virginia Golf Association (WVGA). Ryder Cup style
format with Foursomes, Four-Balls and Singles
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