Carolinas team reclaims Captain's Putter in decisive victory
The winning Carolinas team (CGA/Facebook photo)
The winning Carolinas team (CGA/Facebook photo)

By Chris Lang

ZION CROSSROADS, Va. (Oct. 20, 2018) — Home-course advantage doesn’t seem to mean much anymore in the annual battle for the Captain’s Putter.

Holding a five-point lead after Friday’s four-ball and foursome matches, the Carolinas squad continued its strong play in Saturday’s singles matches to score a decisive 29-19 victory in the 73rd Captain’s Putter Matches, held at Spring Creek Golf Club.

The win was the third straight for the visiting team in the annual series featuring top players from the Virginia State Golf Association and West Virginia Golf Association competing against top players from the Carolinas Golf Association. The Carolinas won in 2016 at Kinloch Golf Club, with the Virginias returning the favor last year at Greenville Country Club in South Carolina.

“They enjoyed beating us at our place, so we wanted to pay them back,” said Carolinas senior Gary Robinson, who went 3-0 on the weekend, including a singles victory Saturday against the Virginias’ Steve Serrao. “I always enjoy playing in this team format. It’s like a Ryder Cup. It’s obviously not as important to most people. But it is to us, the guys that play. We enjoy it. We don’t get to play a lot of match play, so I enjoy it. It’s a lot of fun.”

The Carolinas seniors and super seniors played a huge role in the victory, which was the Carolinas’ largest in the series since a 31-17 win in 2009. The seniors accumulated 10½ out of a possible 16 points, a feat made even more impressive by the fact that the Virginias won three of the four points in Friday morning’s four-ball matches.

The Carolinas super seniors won 3½ out of a possible four points over the weekend, though the half point for the Virginias was an impressive one. Down five on the back nine, Bill Nunnenkamp stormed back to square his match with Dennis Helms and halve the match.

“Our seniors played really well,” Robinson said. “We won a lot of matches there.” The Virginias needed 14½ out of a possible 24 points in Saturday’s singles matches, but the hole from Friday’s afternoon foursomes was too deep to climb out. Still, there were some strong performances on the Virginias side.

Jeff Long and Michael Brennan each went 3-0 for the second straight year in these matches. Erik Dulik also escaped the weekend without a loss, going 2-0-1, the only blemish coming when he and Dustin Groves halved their afternoon foursome match Friday.

Dulik, who recently finished his college career at the University of Louisville, was playing in his first VSGA team event.

“It was a great experience,” Dulik said. “Everybody was really friendly, and this golf course is in great condition. It was a fun weekend overall.”

West Virginia’s Pat Carter won his singles match against Chris Cassetta on Saturday, leaving him 1-0-2 for the weekend after he and Sam O’Dell halved both of their matches on Friday. Virginias senior Buck Brittain also went unbeaten, going 2-0-1 over the weekend.

For the Carolinas, Tim Driver (2-0-1), Dennis Helms (2-0-1) and Russ Perry (3-0) joined Robinson as players who left Spring Creek without a loss.

View results for Captain's Putter Matches
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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