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Sunday, October 2, 2022
Sports: NOTL men edge women in Pro’s Cup competition
Harry Huizer hoists the Pro's Cup, while Martha Cruikshank and pro Keith Vant look on.
Harry Huizer hoists the Pro's Cup, while Martha Cruikshank and pro Keith Vant look on. Supplied

A ball wrapped in the roots of a tree, some wild shots by the men’s team and a hard-charging performance by the Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club’s women’s Solheim squad made for stiff competition in the annual Pro’s Cup tourney Friday.

Ultimately, the men’s Senior Ryder Cup team squeaked out a narrow victory, 23-19, their second in a row.

The 10th annual match pitting some of the club’s top male and female golfers against one another was much closer than the 41-1 shellacking the women delivered in 2018 or their 35-13 victory in 2020.

Points were first accumulated in nine holes of alternative shot play as 14 players competed on each side in match play.

The back nine was a better-ball format, in which each twosome’s best score on every hole was counted.

The tournament format takes official golf handicaps into consideration so both men and women were eligible for strokes to help their scoring.

Each nine was worth two points but the overall 18-hole match also was worth two points, meaning six points were up for grabs in each match.

Men’s captain Harry Huizer noted the weather was warm and beautiful – but admitted the women’s early performances had him worried, starting with the first group.

“There was again great excitement and anticipation in the air and the men knew they were in for a stiff battle when Val Chubey hit a booming long drive to begin the ‘friendly’ competition,” Huizer said.

While the men were in awe at the women’s opening drives, they “were not intimidated as they knew more than a super tee shot is needed to win a match,” Huizer said.

“The ladies obviously had quite a pep talk from their captain, Martha Cruikshank, as they darted out to an early lead. But the men didn’t flinch,” he added.

After nine holes the match was tied 7-7 and the real battle began.

The women had the men on the ropes when the team of Ginny Green and Robin Foster took all six points from the strong team of Jim Panetta and Ted Wiens.

The third ladies team added four more points and there was a sense that the women were marching to victory, Huizer said.

“Suddenly the tide turned on the next three matches and maybe a little ‘lady luck’ had something to do with it,” he said.

After an earlier encounter when his partner Mike Eagen’s tee shot nestled into a tree root, Huizer found himself again in tree trouble late in the match.

He somehow hit a shot on the 17th hole that not only went through a tree but shot forward off a branch and miraculously ended up on the green.

That shocked both Huizer and his opponents – and turned a sure lost hole into a winner. hole. Without this turn of fate the result would have been quite different, the men’s captain admitted.

The tide seemed to be turning in the men’s favour, but the women never gave up, even after they lost a heartbreaking sixth match by one hole, giving the men five points.

Margot Richardson and May Chang dominated the seventh and final match 5-1, but it was a little too late.

“The women deserved a better fate as they won as many holes as the men but a one-hole win at the right time in a few of the matches gave the men the victory and the Pro’s Cup,” Huizer said.

Afterward players ate lunch on the first tee and watched club pro Keith Vant present the Pro’s Cup to Huizer, while the women vowed to storm back to the winner’s circle next year.

OTHER RESULTS: Ginny Green led all players in the 18-hole women’s league on Tuesday, with low gross (85), low net (66) and fewest putts (24). Other winners: Closest to the pin: Cathy Murray (#4), Sue Sherk (#18).

Runners-up behind Green’s stellar round were: low gross: Lisa Allen (93), May Chang (96),  Sherk (97), Margot Richardson (99); low net: Sharron Marlow and Chang (71), Sherk (74), Gayle Tanner and Allen (75); fewest putts: Allen (29), Chang (32).

The nine-hole women’s league played the first of two days of competition this week for the Gretchen Ormston Memorial Trophy. Prize winners on the day were Kathy Taylor (longest putt #2) and Deborah Williams (closest to the pin #9).

Sandie Boyer earned a special prize for chipping in twice, on #3 and #6.

In the men’s WOOFs league on Tuesday, Don Allen, Rick Janes and Jim Meszaros all shot  40 for low gross honours. Bernard Marlow won low net (34). Ken Burr’s birdie on #7 won  the hidden hole and Nino Ferrantelli was closest to the pin on #4.

Weather last week played havoc with some regular competitions, but the Thursday men’s league was not deterred.

Mark Derbyshire’s 1-over 37 won low gross and Steve Levy was tops in Stableford scoring. Longest putt: Arthur Wosinski (#2), Paul Dickson (#5). Longest drive: Darryl Fry (#3). Closest to the 150 marker: Gerry Shelly (#8). Closest to the pin: Ricky Watson (#4), James Grigjanis-Meusel (#9).

Net skins winners: Mike Eagen (#1), Darryl McCrossan (#4), Terry Catney (#8). Gross skins: Eagen (#1), Watson (#4), Dickson (#5), A.J. Harlond (#8).