The 2020 West Team (Brayden Conover)
The third and final day of the East West Cup simply could not have been scripted any better.
The East held a 16-11 lead heading into Sunday’s 18 singles matches. The five point lead would not hold for long.
Getting out to a hot start, Nick Geyer jumped early to grab the first point of the day, beating Brett Boner 8&7 to cut the West’s deficit to just four.
Wins from Brad Nurski, Taylor Wood, and Walter Todd, a 2 up victory by Doug Hanzel, and two blowout wins from Bob Royak (6&4) and Jeff Knox (5&4).
As the day went on, the East took command of the leaderboard more and more.
The two young guns Pierceson Coody (Texas) and Mac Meissner (SMU) took care of their collegiate counterparts Tyler Strafaci (Georgia Tech) and John Pak (FSU), respectively.
With what felt like a possible blowout heading into Sunday, the dam finally burst for the West as they won 11 of the 18 matches to complete the comeback over the East.
As the pressure built, the anchors rose to the occasion.
Ben Warnquist beat a charging Rob Couture 2 up, allowing the stage to be cleared for Patrick Christovich and Nathan Smith.
A four-time U.S. Mid-Am champion, Smith was a given to be the anchor for the East. The same could not be said for his opponent Christovich.
Unhappy with his play during the four ball and alternate shot rounds Friday and Saturday (he had lost all three matches), West captain Jim Holtgrieve put Christovich at the end of the lineup, rolling the dice that his hotter players could erase the deficit. It happened just that way, leaving Christovich to find his game and close things out. Boy did he deliver.
All square on the 18th tee, Christovich could not afford to lose the last as it would result in a tie for the inaugural playing. The duo striped their tee shots over the water on the closing hole with Christovich a tad right of the fairway, leaving an interesting second shot.
Playing a low burner, Christovich left himself a 20-25 yard uphill pitch into the grain to the tight front right pin location. Smith countered with a hybrid that came up just short of the green but well in line of the pin.
After deliberating with his caddie, Christovich played what Holtgrieve called the best shot he’s ever seen. Electing to go upstairs, Christovich stuck his pitch to two feet as his teammates erupted in celebration.
However, the show was not yet over. Smith gave his 30-foot uphill right to left bender a solid run but left it short on the low side. Both players conceded the par putts for the halved match and a West comeback victory.
“I just hit a good shot,” Christovich told AmateurGolf.com following the match. “I hit the best shot of my life.”
The win left a veteran Holtgrieve emotional.
“There’s two people upstairs giving a hug to each other,” Holtgrieve said as he pointed to the heavens. “That’s George Herbert Walker who started the Walker Cup, and Bill Harvey. They’re giving a big hug because of what they’ve done and what we’ve done in trying to promote the game. This ranks so high for me. I can’t believe what I’ve witnessed over the past three days.”
The West will look to defend their title in 2022 as Maridoe is set to host the Cup once again. A date has yet to be announced for the event.
View results for East West Cup
ABOUT THE East West Cup
Started in 2020, the East West Matches feature
Cup-style team matches for American mid-amateurs
and seniors. The Mississippi River is the dividing line
between East and West teams, each of which is
comprised of 18 players: 6 seniors, at least 10 mid-
amateurs, and up to 2 amateurs
who haven't yet
reached the age of 25.
A points system will be utilized to select 50% of each
team, with the other 50% chosen by the tournament
committee. Teams will be selected at the conclusion
of the US Mid and US Senior Amateur
The schedule of play is 18 holes of four-ball on
Friday, 36 holes of foursomes on Saturday, and 18
holes of singles on Sunday.
View Complete Tournament Information