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EAST WEST MATCHES: East jumps out to early lead at Maridoe
Photo courtesy of Back of the Range
Photo courtesy of Back of the Range

The East capitalized on winning the close matches to earn a 6-3 lead after the first day of the 2022 East West Matches at Maridoe Golf Club.

“We won a lot of close matches,” said East captain Nathaniel Crosby, who piloted the USA to consecutive Walker Cup victories in 2019 and 2021. “There were a couple of lopsided matches on both sides, but we won a lot of the close ones. The scoreboard was swinging back and forth all day and we were behind most of the time. Then it swung in our favor at the very end. It was a good start to a great contest.”

Of the nine fourball matches, the East won five, four of which went at least 17 holes, and tied two.

“With three holes to go it could have gone either way,” said West captain Kevin Marsh, who won the 2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur. “We could have been two or three up, but they ended up three up. We are used to this with the West. We dig ourselves a little hole and we have to start coming back.”

On a mostly rainy day, Evan Beck and Matt Sughrue of the East earned the first point of the Matches as they posted a 5-and 4 win over John Hunter and Robbie Funk. The Virginia duo, Beck from Virginia Beach and Sughrue from Arlington, won four of five holes in the middle stretch of the match to take a 4-up through 11 holes and built their lead to 5-up through 15.

“Evan and I teamed well together, and we both played solidly,” said Sughrue, the runner-up at the 2016 U.S. Senior Amateur. “I made a few putts and so did Evan and we just didn’t make mistakes. It was a really good effort.”

The West’s Skip Berkmeyer and Colby Harwell earned their team’s first point with a 2-and-1 victory over Joe Deraney and Chad Wilfong by birdieing five of their first eight holes. Harwell made three birdies and Berkmeyer posted two in that stretch.

“Skip and I started out making a lot of putts and if we got it on the green it was going in,” said Harwell of San Antonio, a two-time Texas State Player of the Year. “We hit it close to start. We hit it close all day or at least until the rain started.”

The West won the match of collegiate players with Derek Hitchner and Luke Potter defeating Nick Dunlap and Caleb Surrat, 5 and 4. The left-handed Potter of Arizona State and Encinitas, Calif., who won the 2020 Maridoe Amateur at age 16, and Hitchner of Pepperdine and Minneapolis, Minn., broke open the match on the fourth hole and won six of their next nine holes.

“I definitely made some putts,” said Hitchner, who was a semifinalist at the 2022 U.S. Amateur. “I tried to get as many birdie looks as possible. I tried to maximize my chances and luckily I got a few putts to go in.”

The field teed off in three waves off the first, 10th and 13th holes earlier than originally scheduled to attempt to finish before severe weather arrived as light rain hampered parts the rounds.

The three-day event continues with nine 18-hole foursomes matches in the morning and nine 18-hole foursomes matches in the afternoon on November 5 and concludes with 18 18-hole singles matches on November 6, The members of the winning team each receive a silver commemorative belt buckles.

View results for East West Cup
ABOUT THE East West Cup

Started in 2020, the East West Matches feature Ryder 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 Championships.

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

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