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Players and observers talked often about the spectacular weather for the 25th Wilson Cup interclub golf competition Saturday at Wilson Country Club and Sunday at Wedgewood Public Golf Course.
They talked about the impressive ceremonial tee shots belted early Saturday morning at WCC by 4-year-old Thomas Layton and 13-year-old Ethan Boyette.
They even talked about the brightly colored shirts won by the Willow Springs Country Club and Happy Valley Country Club competitors.
But, eventually, the center of attention rightfully shifted to a dominating Wilson Country Club lineup that claimed its ninth Cup championship in dominating fashion, amassing 27 1/2 of a maximum 40 points.
WCC only trails Willow Springs by one for total titles after fighting past defending champion Wedgewood Public Golf Course, 6 and 4, in Sunday afternoon’s 18-hole final.
Champs two of the last three years, WCC opened with an 8-2 conquest of Wedgewood at WCC Saturday morning and then clipped Happy Valley 6 1/2-3 1/2 Saturday afternoon. At Wedgewood on Sunday morning, WCC turned back Willow Springs, 7-3.
Wedgewood won a three-team scramble for the spot in the championship match opposite WCC, accumulating 13.5 points as compared to 13.0 for Happy Valley and 12 for Willow Springs. Wedgewood wound up with 17.5 points.
WCC presented head professional Josh Price his first title in his second try.
“I’m really excited,” Price expressed. “The main part of it for me has been having fun from the cheering section. I am very proud of their efforts. They all played really well.”
Indeed, the lineup of Seniors (ages 55 and older) Bill Boles Jr. and Coalter Paxton III, Clint O’Hara, newcomer Scott deKeyzer, Stephen Harrison, Coalter Paxton IV, newcomer Kyle Norville, Matt Figg, Josh Talton and John Hearn Walston got the job done. Boles, deKeyzer, Figg, Talton and Paxton IV went on impressive tears in the early matches.
The 70-year-old Boles got WCC off to a sensational start in the final with a 5 and 3 victory that saw him play 17 holes at 6-under-par. Paxton III halved Wedgewood’s Bruce Petway, who proclaimed himself the tournament’s only cross-handed golfer. Petway rallied to win three consecutive holes to seize a 1-up lead, but Paxton III won No. 18 with a par.
In a pair of matches filled with zany circumstances, O’Hara overcame Jesse Mercer 2 and 1 and deKeyzer battled Wedgewood’s Ryan Pittman to a draw. WCC actually clinched when O’Hara won No. 18 by concession against Mercer.
“I didn’t know that,” O’Hara responded, “but it doesn’t matter; they all count the same.”
WCC charged from worst in 2017 to first a year later. O’Hara hadn’t forgotten.
“This feels a helluva lot better,” he assured. “We were just steady. This was a good group. I can usually tell the week of the thing if we could win. We all gelled good. Kyle played awesome and Figg, with the exception of Boles, is the best ball-striker around. They make the perfect team.”
“Aside from our seniors, our oldest player is 39 years old — that makes a difference. I would have to say this is the best team I’ve played on.”
Harrison and Paxton IV posted 5 and 4 conquests of newcomer Mitch Hayes and Mike Caddy, respectively. In a showdown of left-handers, the long-hitting Norville clipped 2017 Wilson County Amateur champ David Lee 3 and 2.
Collecting points for Wedgewood were Jody O’Neal by an 1-up margin against Figg; Matthew Ellis by a 2 and 1 count against Talton; and Mark Whitley with a 3 and 1 outcome against John Hearn Walston.
Ellis stood a sizzling 6-under after 11 holes against Talton and survived birdies at Nos. 14, 15 and 16 from Talton. Whitley was 3-under when he closed out Walston.
“A break here or there,” assessed Wedgewood head professional Brady Pinner. “But hats off to them — they played great. They’re a good team. That’s golf.
“The home course was a little bit of an advantage for us. One or two shots are not very much, and I watched a lot of shots flip. We will be better next year.”
Concluded Whitley: “We were just happy to get to the finals. I kept thinking back to two years ago and how badly they beat us then. We wanted to do a better job today. Matthew and I were happy it was here, and I played well.
“I’m happy with it; they just beat us.”