Metro Cup 2021 Results
After an action-packed inaugural season of the Amateur Players tour in Philadelphia and New York, it was finally time to settle who was going to have bragging rights and the Metro Cup in their possession for the next year. It was a great season of camaraderie and competition between the two tours with dual events and many players traveling between tours on both ends of I-95.
The morning at Royce Brook East started with Metro NY riding in on a high horse named the Ghost of Years Past and through the deep fog you could hear their Captain declare, “Team picture? We’ll take that at the end when we win.” So with that, the gauntlet had been thrown. Philly Metro simply responded,” We’re your huckleberry.” And in that spirit of sportsmanship the 2021 Metro Cup kicked off and the first tee shot was struck into a fog of zero visibility.
Bobby Booth and AB Behura teamed up in Division 1 and were matched against NY’s Brendan Kost and Christopher Farley. Both their Fourball and Foursomes matches were back and forth affairs with both teams putting together stellar team play that ended All Square. NY next sent out the formidable pairing of Luke Walters and Ryan Campson against the Philly duo of Gil Moniz and Chris Mains. Both team matches were razor thin as Campson/Walters pulled off wins on the last hole to take both matches 1up. Ryan Campson led D1 with a 3-0-0 record.
Next up were the teams in Division 2, which is the heart of the NY team, with pairings of Joe Arnold/John Sheehan and Vic Tandon /Lance Singer. Philly sent out Brad Garrett/Josh Numbers and Kevin Cockerham/Kevin Martyn. The experienced team of Arnold and Sheehan matched against Garrett and Numbers and played to ALL Square in Fourball. Philly Metro jumped out to an early 2up lead in foursomes, but Arnold and Sheehan found their footing and mounted a comeback that ended with a 1up victory for NY. Tandon and Singer came out strong and caught the Philly duo of Cockerham/Martyn on wobbly legs and dispatched them 2&1 to open the match. They continued their topflight play into foursomes and took a second point giving Metro NY a 6.5 to 1.5 lead after two divisions of play.
Philly Metro was undaunted and were eager to kick off the action in D3. Philly Metro sent out the dynamic pairing of Rick Knepp/Ed Gilbert to square off against Sal Ditta/Patrick Fogarty. With Knepp’s stellar season that has him in second place in the National Player of the Year race and Gilbert’s history of strong play, the NY team had their work cut out for them. Ditta and Fogarty didn’t blink and had a hard fought nine hole battle that saw them succumb on the final hole to drop the match 1up. They continued their fine play into the foursomes with a 1up lead after ten but on hole 12 Knepp/Gilbert went on a blitzkrieg and piled up hole after hole until it was 4&2 and time to go get lunch after a well-earned start. Next up were team Philly Metro captain Ed Kelly with John Eastlack versus big bomber CJ Shank and Joe Cortez. Shank confirmed his reputation with a mashed drive on hole #1 that was hit so far his opponents couldn’t see him through the fog. He promptly deposited his approach shot to three feet and got NY off to a one up start. They would extend the lead to 2up with four to play when Philly Metro put on their rally caps and got the match to all square with one hole to play. On the ninth hole, Kelly hit a delicate downhill chip to sixteen inches to secure par and the match. With momentum on their side, Eastlack/Kelly came out firing in Foursomes taking a 1up lead but Shank/Cortez quickly evened the score on number eleven, but Eastlack and Kelly kept the pressure up with par after par and closed them out 3&2 to take both team points.
Philly Metro’s D4 anchor team of Larry Barber and Dave Neder kept up the streak of Philly Metro wins with a one up victory over Metro NY “A” team of Peter Murray and Jimmy Tubbs. Neder opened the match with two birdies on the first three holes setting the tone for the day. Murray/Tubbs took control of the Foursome’s match in the middle, but Barber/Neder got tough and gritty and evened the match on 17 and then closed out NY on number 18 to earn their second point making it five unanswered match wins for Philly Metro. D4 was closed out by Philly Metro Co-Captain Jim Bulicki paired with Mike Byrne against Jimmy Chwe and Walter Stashin. The Philly pair came to play and were all business as they smothered the NY duo with a series of Pars that had them three up. They would close out the fourball with a 2&1 victory. Philly continued their stellar play in Foursome’s opening up another 3up lead but Stashin/Chwe were up to the task, and they made a furious comeback to grab a half and stop the Philly Metro freight train in its’ tracks.
The Metro NY team of Daniel Andrews and John Balingit came out of the gate firing winning the first two holes, but Fred Hering and Jeff Brodsky answered that by winning three straight holes to take a 1up lead. Andrews/Balingit answered by taking down the next three holes securing the point. They kept up the pressure in Foursomes and packed Hering/Brodsky away 3&2 to get their second point of the day. In match #2, NY’s Alan Ott and Brett Fontana were matched against Sean Matthews and David Garrett. The Philly Metro team steadily built up a lead in Fourball grinding out Ott/Fontana over the first seven holes to secure a 3&2 win. Ott/Fontana responded with excellent golf in the foursomes and took the point with a one up victory.
With the team matches in the books, the score was tied 10-10 setting up singles for pressure packed matches. Chris Mains, a D3 player the Philly Captains played with confidence in D1, was coming off two tough 1up losses in team matches and now was leading off the singles against Chris Farley. Mains dug deep and battled with a birdie on #6 to go one up only to watch his opponent win the next two holes. Mains was unfazed and locked down the last hole to get a half point. Moniz had another tight match that went down to the last hole where NY Metro’s Brendan Kost secured the point. Ryan Campson stepped up for Metro NY and took down a tough Philly Metro player in AB Behura continuing the NY Metro momentum. Philly Metro’s Bobby Booth dropped the anchor and grabbed his point against Luke Walters. Now, the stage was set for division two.
Kevin Cockerham stepped up to the plate against the Long Island Larynx Joe Arnold, a matchup both players were ready to renew. Cockerham brought a muzzle and a bag full of golf shots to take down the NY baller 1up. Philly Metro could feel the wind blowing in their sails. Kevin Martyn, another Philly D3 lad playing up a division, squared off against John Sheehan and promptly opened a 2up lead. But Sheehan’s class started to shine through as he erased that deficit and opened his own 1up lead with one to go. But Martyn stayed grounded and won the last hole to get a half. Brad Garrett vs. Vic Tandon and Josh Numbers vs. Lance Singer were up next. Both matches were tight contests with Garrett/Tandon ending ALL square and Singer securing a 1up victory over Numbers. NY had the lead and were certainly applying the pressure, but Philly was buoyed by the heart and fight from Mains and Martyn and the wins by Booth and Cockerham.
D3 kicked off with Kelly vs Ditta and Eastlack vs Fogarty. Kelly came out and won the first two holes and had a 3 ½ foot putt to go three up but missed the hard breaker on the high side. Ditta pounced on the opening and took the next hole. Kelly clung to a one-shot lead for several holes until Ditta evened the match. Kelly re-took the lead only to see Ditta even the match again on the penultimate hole. On the final hole, Kelly found himself with the same exact chip shot he had to close out the Fourballs. He again hit it to a foot and secured a full point when Ditta missed his 12 footer for Par. Meanwhile, Eastlack had built up a three-shot lead as he par’d the first 5 holes. Fogarty never lost focus and stayed in touch, slowly grinding into Eastlack’s lead. He finally caught him on 18 and got a well-earned half point. In the other matches, Metro NY’s CJ Shank was matched against Rick Knepp and Joe Cortez had Ed Gilbert. The two New Yorker’s battled hard as they did all day and played a lot of good golf but both Knepp and Gilbert were able to earn full points with one up victories. Knepp, Gilbert and Kelly would all go 3-0-0 while Eastlack posted a 2-0-1 mark making for a dominating day by Philly Metro D3.
With the overall match still close, D4 took center stage. Bulicki vs Murray. Byrne vs. Tubbs. Barber vs. Stashin. Neder vs. Chwe. The Philly Metro players wanted in on that action D3 started and do some spanking of their own. Bulicki, Barber and Byrne brought out the paddles and got to work. All three earned full points leaving Chwe with the only point for NY. As Philly Metro stood on the precipice of victory only needing a half point to take the Cup, Captain Bulicki exhorted his team to “step on their necks” and D5 obliged.
Now it was a race to see who would get to secure the clinching point. Garrett had his man pinned. Hering was putting in work. But in the end, it was Jeff Brodsky who made the clinching putt, putting away Brett Fontana 3&2. Hering and Garrett both secured a full point and Philly Metro was a decisive 23-17 winner and Metro Cup Champions for 2021.
We look forward to another great season and Metro Cup in 2022. NY will be poised to try and wrest control of the Metro Cup(and maybe get that team photo?) and Philly will be waiting, clubs in hand.
Thanks for great season and great event!