? The first two days of August saw the heated, but friendly, rivalry continue between the seniors of the SCPGA and the NCPGA at the 17th Annual Challenge Cup Matches. Since the inception of the matches in 1999, the SCPGA has a winning record of 9-7, and was looking to reach the double digit win total this year. The SCPGA was well represented by the following 24 PGA Professionals: Tom Sargent, Paul Marchewka, Andy Thuney, Fred Wood, David Foster, Jerry Wisz, Jon Fiedler, Mark Fernando, Jim Ley, Jim Ruhland, Al Valentine, Lee Harlow, Eric Redd, James Barkhurst, Mike O’Keefe, Eric Evans, Ron Skayhan, Tracey Bowles, Paul Dietsche, Jack O’Keefe, Bob E. Smith, Jim Petralia, Tom Barber, and John McFarland.
After day 1 at the gorgeous Santa Maria Country Club, host of the 2017 Section Championship, the four ball format proved to a better fit for the NCPGA Team. The SCPGA “Big Guns” got smoked by NCPGA losing the first 5 points/matches and being down 0-5; and the defeats were mostly big ones; 6-5, 5-4, etc. The Super Senior matches came in next with both Super Senior teams, including host Jack O’Keefe, securing the first 2 points for the SCPGA, followed by 3 other solid performances to finish the day at a 5-7 deficit. The day was actually closer and more exciting than the score indicates with 2 matches having been decided by birdies on the 18th hole, in favor of the NCPGA.
The venue and format changed for day 2, and at the stunning Rancho Maria Golf Club the individual matches and quest to hoist the cup began early in the morning. Both veteran and rookie players were the first out, Super Seniors in the middle, and the “Big Guns” out last, hopefully to bring home the bacon! SCPGA made up the 2 point deficit through the first 12 matches to pull even with NCPGA, and then winning 3 of the final 4 matches, and excitingly the final 2 matches to pull ahead and capture the “Cup” with an 18 1/2 to 17 1/2 final in dramatic fashion. SCPGA rookies to the “Cup” Matches and Past Presidents Thuney and Sargent were both victorious in their Individual Matches debut, while NCPGA Executive Director and rookie Chris Thomas was victorious in his debut.
Thank you to host PGA Professionals, Michael Valdez at Santa Maria Country Club and Michael O’Keefe at Rancho Maria Golf Club. The two courses were in fantastic shape and proved to be a great test for both teams.
Special thanks to John Anderson of Antiqua Sportswear for team shirts, Jay Clancey of Pukka Headwear for team hats, and EZGO Golf Cars for their annual sponsorship of the event.