The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 12, 2013

Meadowlake leads Enid Ryder after tight opener

By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Jon Cline and Taylor Randolph had never played as a team until Friday’s alternate shot Enid Ryder Cup match at Meadowlake Golf Course.

However, the Meadowlake duo didn’t act like it in posting a 4-and-2 win over Oakwood’s Scott Athey and Tom Davis, which gave the host course a 31⁄2-21⁄2 lead going into today’s best ball at Oakwood Country Club.

Cline and Randolph won four of the first eight holes and didn’t look back.

“When I made a mistake, Jon would cover me,’’ Randolph said. “He was hitting his driver really well. He made it easy for me where I couldn’t mess up.’’

“I was just trying to get it into play to give my partner a shot at the green so we could make birdie,’’ Cline said. “We partner-up pretty well.’’

The match was one of the few breathers on a day where four of the six matches were decided on the 18th hole. The other was decided on the 17th, where first-time partners Randy Nunley and Eric Williamson of Meadowlake beat the veteran team of Rod Billings and Jim Lack, 2-and-1.

“Randy putted real well,’’ Williamson said. “Those are hard to watch go in if you’re the other team. We played well as a team.’’

“We both played solid golf,’’ Nunley said. “We made a lot of putts, and we teamed up very well.’’

The other four matches weren’t lacking in drama.

Meadowlake’s Brandon Gainer and Josh Bugg came back from being two down with four holes to play to defeat John Petersen and David Morley, 1-up. Gainer made a four-footer par putt on the 18th for the win.

“There was a little concern,’’ Gainer said about the comeback. “Josh started to open it up. He had drives of about 300 yards on Nos. 14, 16 and 18. That’s why he’s the horse, and I’m the jockey.’’

Gainer and Bugg played the last five holes in one-under.

“It’s tough to get a rhythm in this format,’’ Bugg said. “You hit one shot and then have to wait a few minutes until you hit another. It’s always a fun format. Brandon made some good putts.’’

Oakwood’s Josh Tobbitt chipped in approximately 10 yards off the green for a birdie on No. 18 to give him and partner Walker Henson a 1-up win over Jay Betchan and Darin Busch.

“I had about 30 feet of green to work with,’’ Tobbitt said. “I knew it was going left to right at the end. The greens had been rolling good, so I just let it go and let the green and the ball do the work. This isn’t my favorite format, but Walker and I bailed each other out when we needed to and that’s what counts.’’

History repeated itself in the next group when Meadowlake’s Troy Rasp chipped off the green for a birdie on 18th. That allowed him and partner Josh Winfield to halve their match with Kyle Tefft and Blake Thomas.

“We were down one, it had to go in,’’ Rasp said. “When it got close, I thought it was going to stop, but Josh said it was going in. It was a great match.’’

Tefft made a 50-foot birdie on No. 15 to pull the match even. Thomas made a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 2. Tefft and Thomas had gone 1-up by winning 16 with a bogey.

“We certainly could have played better,’’ Tefft said. “We won’t complain about a tie with the way we played. It was a good match.’’

Oakwood’s Matt Parrish and Craig Collins beat Neil Oxford and Michael League, 1-up. Parrish and Collins birdied No. 15 to go up 1-up. The last three holes were halved.

“We were three down at one time and made a comeback,’’ Oxford said. “You can’t complain about that. It was a good, fun match.’’

Morley, the Oakwood team captain, said he was pleased. At one point, it appeared his team would be down 5-1.

“Four of the matches were decided at 18, that’s a great way to finish,’’ he said.

Meadowlake captain Jim Fournier was pleased with the lead. A year ago Meadowlake retained the cup after the match was tied after all three formats.

“We’re not going to sit on our laurels,’’ he said. “It was up and down today. You can’t count those Oakwood boys out.’’