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2012 North America Cup - Final Results
Team USA earns fifth consecutive North America Cup title.
Okatie, SC – A sweep of the foursomes matches on Day 2 of the North America Cup left little suspense to who would take home the trophy this year, but Team USA still marched on for a decisive win in singles play. Temperatures soared back into the high 90s and the Americans, led by Olivia Landino, Josh Fisher and Chase Roswall, tied a record for most points earned in a North America Cup.
With an 11-3 lead heading into the final session, Team USA needed only 3 ½ out of 14 possible points to regain the Cup. The day began a bit shaky with several of the early matches quickly going to the Canadians’ advantage. This prompted USA Non-Playing Captain Tim Lloyd to leave the first tee and check on his squad of older boys. “I checked the live scoring and noticed a handful of our guys were down in their matches through the first three or four holes.,” said Lloyd. “I knew a couple of them looked a bit tense on the range, and was slightly worried that early Canadian pressure would get us off our games. I intended to watch every group tee off, but had to get out there about halfway through the tee times just to check and make sure the boys were sticking to their own game plan.” As it turned out the American players were holding strong and playing well.
Around 9:30AM it was clear that Team USA had again regained control of the day. The initial Canadian momentum subsided and Team USA began to recover. As the first groups were turning everything appeared to be relatively equal across the board as most matches were within a hole of all square. Fisher (USA) lost his first hole as Canadian playing captain Jean-Michel Pare holed a lengthy birdie putt on the first hole. From there Fisher bounced back and began to pull away. He had a 4-up lead through the seventh and a 5-up lead through the tenth. Pare wouldn’t go away and he was able to win three straight holes from 11 through 13. Fisher maintained his focus and took back the fourteenth and fifteenth for a 4&3 win. Fisher was the first American player to lock up his third point for his team.
Landino (USA) also made quick work of her opponent. She won the first four holes, tied the fifth, and then cruised home to victory by winning the sixth through tenth for a final margin of 9&8. The second-year North America Cup competitor lived up to her veteran role by also earning three points in as many days. She was the last player to tee off in singles play and was just the fourth match to finish. It was quick work for the Hermitage, PA native, and it left the rest of Team USA with a comforting feeling knowing they were just a point and a half from clinching the title.
The second and third matches fell into the hands of Team Canada. Scott Secord (Canada) escaped with a 1-up victory over Mark Folkwein (USA) while Austin Morrison (USA) fell to Colton Kalkanis (USA). Secord, a veteran player for the visitors, dueled it out with Folkwein in one of the best-played contests of the week. Each golfer was in control of their games stuffing approaches close and rolling in long putts all over the course. No hole was won with anything higher than a birdie and in one case it even took an eagle to squeeze out a win. That came when Secord nestled his second shot to tap-in distance on the par-5 eleventh hole. Folkwein gave his chip a good run for an equalizing three, but it just slipped by and he had to settle for a birdie – not good enough to halve the hole. Secord won the sixteenth with a birdie to go up by two. Folkwein’s birdie on the shortened par-4 seventeenth kept the match alive before a pair of pars on the last secured the 1-up victory for Canada.
Morrison and Kalkanis also had a shootout of their own. The front nine was a highlight reel for both players as approach shot after approach shot flirted with the flagstick. Untimely and uncharacteristic missed putts by Morrison gave Kalkanis an opening and he pounced on the opportunity. The Canadian held to a narrow lead throughout the entire back nine and was finally able to close the match on the seventeenth by the count of 2&1.
Frank Szucs (USA), the most tenured member of the American squad playing in his fourth North America Cup, came out strong and never looked back. In his match against Branson Ferrier, Szucs used a stiff approach from a fairway bunker on the second, and smart play on the par-5 fourth to get up by two holes. Consistent play throughout the rest of the front nine and into the back ensured that he retained full control of his match. With pressure-filled contests going on all around the course, Szucs casually finished with a 4&3 victory on the fifteenth hole to lock up critical point number 14 for Team USA to guarantee at least a split. Szucs was the model of resiliency this week. After a tough loss on the first day, and a large early deficit in foursome matches on Day 2, Szucs flipped the switch and found his groove as one of the strongest players throughout the second half of the event.
With all the strong veteran performances on the final day it was only fitting that another experienced North America Cup participant would secure the winning tally for Team USA. Ben Dietrich, playing in his second Cup, stood tall on Day 3. Like Szucs, he jumped out to a quick lead en route to a decisive win. With his partner out of bounds off the tee on the par-5 eighth hole, Dietrich nestled a drive right down the middle. His layup gave him a clean look at the pin and his approach came to rest at a comfortable distance for a two-putt par – good enough to win the hole and move to 3-up. He cruised into the back nine and held the same lead on the fifteenth tee. Again, with his opponent out of bounds, Dietrich cleanly played his second shot to the green and was conceded the match. All suspense was now over as Team USA had officially retained the North America Cup.
Almost simultaneously John Edler (USA) was wrapping up his match with Kurtis Campbell (Canada). Edler established his reputation throughout the week as a skilled and vocal nemesis of the visiting team. Edler was as important to the American squad off the course as he was on it. His combination of confidence and humor helped Team USA play relaxed and with poise all three days. Edler’s final contest was a rematch with one of his fourball opponents. Despite the Day 1 loss, Edler came back strong and walked off the seventh green with a 2-up lead. He held firm to his lead throughout the back nine and stood over a twelve-foot putt for victory on the par-3 sixteenth. With the ball still rolling toward the cup, Edler raised his putter in celebration knowing that he had made it. It fell in for birdie and completed the 3&2 win for the Fair Haven, NJ native.
One of the most liked and respected players throughout the entire week was Will Thomson (USA) of Pittsford, NY. Due to his young age and small-size compared to all other participants, everyone was excited to see how he would match up in such a highly competitive and pressure packed environment. He knew he would have to play almost mistake free to be successful and he did not disappoint. Playing with Roswall on the first two days, Thomson was able to win both matches. He frustrated his opponents with precise long irons, hybrids and three woods into many greens. One Day 3 he put up another valiant fight. An early deficit rattled his psyche briefly before he settled down and went blow for blow with his opponent, Patrick Tan (Canada). Tan was finally able to close the match on the sixteenth for a 3&2 victory. It was the first point of the entire week for Team Canada’s younger boys. This was an incredible feat for the Americans. Prior to the matches Canadian Non-Playing Captain Brad Kinvig had said, “This is the best team of boys from the younger age division that we can possibly field. They are extremely talented and wildly successful in events they play back home.” For Team USA to dominate in this division was more than impressive.
Thomson’s partner on the first two days was the third and final American player to earn three points throughout the week. Roswall entered the singles matches with confidence after comfortable victories in the fourball and foursome format. His first day win included a chip-in birdie on the seventeenth to clinch the match. Showing similar form of the older Team USA veterans, Roswall started strong on Day 3. Non-Playing Captain Lloyd was confident in Roswall and never doubted the outcome of the match. “I barely saw Chase today,” said Lloyd. “After a brief word with him on the eighth tee box I just let him fly. He was my horse this week and I knew he had too much power and skill to let anything slide.” Despite a brief comeback by Team Canada’s Nicholas Brisebois on the back nine, Roswall ended the match on the seventeenth for the third straight day.
Amazingly enough, not a single match on Day 2 made it to the eighteenth hole. That would not be the case during singles play. Along with Folkwein, Americans Zach Boe, Steve Cerbara, Joshua Allen, Gabby Weiss and Derrick Villarreall all played the full course in exciting and tightly contested matches.
Boe withstood a seesaw battle against Kevin Li. Each player had their own momentum shifts throughout the day, but Boe maintained his stoic play. He never showed weakness or distress on the course throughout the whole week. This would bode well for him down the stretch in his final match. With a 1-up lead on the eighteenth he never panicked. After his tee shot bounded left into the trees he attempted to lay up into the par-5. His second shot started right and never came back. It finished near the cart path behind a set of trees and shrubbery. While most players would get tight and lose focus, Boe lined up his third shot and executed to perfection with a beautiful approach to 20 feet. Immediately he had reversed the momentum and tossed all the pressure back onto Li’s shoulders. It proved to be enough as Li was unable to convert his birdie opportunity. Boe stood tall on the last green and racked up another point for the Americans.
Cerbara and Allen were the first two American players in the younger boys division to see the last hole on the course. Cerbara led the way against Brendan Seys. After coming off clutch par putt on 16 to get back to just 1-down, he backed it up with a birdie on 17 to square the match. Seys lined up a 45-foot birdie putt on the last and buried it to turn the table back on Cerbara. It seemed like an impossibility for him to control his emotions under the circumstances, but he collected his breath, relaxed over his 12-footer, and poured it in for a birdie of his own to halve the match.
Allen mounted a comeback of his own in the final few holes. A long putt on the sixteenth got him back to just 2-down against Kyle Gorsope. He backed it up with a birdie on the seventeenth. A well-placed drive on eighteenth led to a perfect lay-up. He hit his approach to 10 feet for a legitimate look at a birdie to halve the match. It bounded toward the hole and just caught the lip before falling just inches away. Gorsope was able to escape with the win by the margin of 1-up.
Villarreal played one of the most exciting matches of the week against Jonathan Cardinal. Cardinal gained a reputation throughout the week for his long drives and fiery celebrations. He stuffed his approached to just a couple of feet on the first hole for an early 1-up lead. By the seventh tee box he had increased it to 3-up. Villarreal won the par-3 and backed it up with a win on the par-5 eighth to get to 1-down. A pulled drive on the ninth opened the door for Cardinal to push his lead back to 2-up. The next five holes belonged to Villarreal. In an unbelievable shift of momentum, he won holes 10 through 14 to claim a 3-up lead. It seemed all but over until Cardinal holed a 12 foot birdie putt on the fifteenth. His birdie putt of similar distance fell on the sixteenth inducing a spirited celebration heading to the next tee. Villarreal held strong and made a par, only to be ousted again by the third-straight birdie from Cardinal. An adrenaline filled tee shot from the Canadian on the last hole flew the ball through the fairway and under a bush. Villarreal collected himself and smoothed his driver into the fairway and followed it with a perfect lay-up. Seeing Villarreal well-positioned for his approach shot, Cardinal got too aggressive with his second shot and was unable to advance it. He took another hack at the bush without success on his third stroke. Finally his fourth found the fairway before his fifth settled just off the right side of the green. With the match all but secured, Villarreal played a smart third shot into comfortable two-putt distance and converted his par for the win. The match truly embodied the spirit of the North America Cup with emotions high, momentums shifting, and both squads in the gallery to cheer on their teammates.
Villarreal’s win left only one match on the course. Weiss fell into an early hole against Marlies Klekner-Alt and was 3-down early on in the match. Klekner-Alt held to her lead deep into the back nine before Weiss made a push. Entering the seventeenth she was back to just 1-down and held honors on the tee. She played her second shot to 15 feet setting up a pivotal birdie. Klekner-Alt made one right on top and retained her advantage in the match. With Weiss comfortably in position for her approach shot, Klekner-Alt took two shots from the right tree s to get back to the fairway. Seeing that she would likely need only a par to win the hole and get her half point, Weiss played a perfect third shot that rolled just passed the flag to 10 feet. She two-putted her way to win the hole and escape with the match halved.
When the dust settled Team USA had collected 20 points to Team Canada’s 8. It tied the record for most points in North America Cup history with the 2005 Team USA which featured players such as Rickie Fowler and Morgan Hoffmann. The week was special for all involved. With only one player leaving from the team for college, Team USA will look to get the troops back together next year as the 2013 North America Cup moves back to Toronto next July.
About the IJGT
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Team USA Player-by-Player final results
Joshua Allen – Wilson, NC
Fourball (with Steve Cerbara) win 2&1
Foursome (with Steve Cerbara) win 4&3
Singles loss 1-down
Zach Boe – Bluffton, SC
Fourball (with Frank Szucs) loss 3&2
Foursome (with John Edler) win 3&2
Singles win 1-up
Steve Cerbara – Yardley, PA
Fourball (with Joshua Allen) win 2&1
Foursome (with Joshua Allen) win 4&3
Singles match halved
Ben Dietrich – Bluffton, SC
Fourball (with Derrick Villarreal) loss 3&2
Foursome (with Derrick Villarreal) win 2&1
Singles win 4&3
John Edler – Fair Haven, NJ
Fourball (with Mark Folkwein) loss 2-down
Foursome (with Zach Boe) win 3&2
Singles win 3&2
Josh Fisher – Las Vegas, NV
Fourball (with Austin Morrison) win 3&2
Foursome (with Austin Morrison) win 3&2
Singles win 4&3
Mark Folkwein – New Albany, OH
Fourball (with John Edler) loss 2-down
Foursome (with Frank Szucs) win 3&1
Singles loss 1-down
Olivia Landino – Hermitage, PA
Fourball (with Gabby Weiss) win 1-up
Foursome (with Gabby Weiss) win 6&5
Singles win 9&8
Austin Morrison – Charlotte, NC
Fourball (with Josh Fisher) win 3&2
Foursome (with Josh Fisher) win 3&2
Singles loss 2&1
Chase Roswall – Bristol, TN
Fourball (with Will Thomson) win 2&1
Foursome (with Will Thomson) win 3&1
Singles win 2&1
Frank Szucs – Brookside, NJ
Fourball (with Zach Boe) loss 3&2
Foursome (with Mark Folkwein) win 3&1
Singles win 4&3
Will Thomson – Pittsford, NY
Fourball (with Chase Roswall) win 2&1
Foursome (with Chase Roswall) win 3&1
Singles loss 3&2
Derrick Villarreal – Hartland, WI
Fourball (with Ben Dietrich) loss 3&2
Foursome (with Ben Dietrich) win 3&2
Singles win 1-up
Gabby Weiss – Southern Pines, NC
Fourball (with Olivia Landino) win 1-up
Foursome (with Olivia Landino) win 6&5
Singles match halved