No lead is safe in the City Cup golf tournament, but the Johnson City Country Club’s advantage was just big enough.
The team from JCCC won the fourth annual inter-city competition with Blackthorn Club on Sunday, holding on until the final scorecard was turned in for a 61 1/2-58 1/2 victory.
“We feel very fortunate,” JCCC professional Mike Crowe said. “We’re gonna enjoy seeing that cup in the pro shop again.”
JCCC began the final round at Blackthorn with a 15-point lead. With three points at stake in each match -- one for the front nine, one for the back nine and one for the overall, wild final-day swings had taken place in recent years.
Last year the Country Club team gave up a 13-point lead in the final round.
This time, JCCC hung on, but barely.
As the scores began to come in, that 15-point advantage began to shrink. It all came down to the last of 20 matches, and the pairing of Robin Webb and Ed Baryla brought home two of three possible points to provide the winning margin.
Blackthorn outscored JCCC 36-24 on Sunday.
“When the scores were going up, I think I was as nervous as I was when I was on the golf course,” Blackthorn pro Graham Enloe said. “I was wanting to see how everybody was doing. My stomach was all tore up. But it was a lot of fun.”
Joe Grant and John Somich of the JCCC team swept all three points in their match, giving them a perfect six for the weekend. They provided the only sweep of the day for their squad.
Blackthorn dominated several matches, earning seven 3-0 decisions on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough in the end.
Enloe and Charles Byrne led the charge, taking a sweep in their match. Other sweeps for Blackthorn came from Jason Hatjioannou and Brad Rinella, Steve Smith and Jim Wilson, Larry Graham and John Fenley, Brandon White and Tommy Burleson, Pete Cholerton and Donnie Bradford, and Jim Haire and Lewis Songer.
Haire and Songer were the only Blackthorn pairing to win all six points.
“We battled back,” Enloe said. “We tried. We chewed a lot off and we had a chance. It showed a little bit this year that the home-course advantage is a big deal.”
It was the third victory in the four years of this tournament for JCCC. Blackthorn won it last year.
“It’s a great event,” Crowe said. “Our guys played hard and their guys played hard. It’s just a lot of fun. It’s enjoyable for everybody to come out here and compete and to get along with each other for the entire weekend.”
In two years as pro at Blackthorn, Enloe has been on the winning end and the losing end in this event.
“Everybody has a good time,” he said. “I hate to lose one, but that’s the way it goes. It’s all about the friendship. These guys know each other. Some of these guys have played at both clubs so they all know each other and are friends.
“Maybe we’ll be motivated even more to get them next year.”
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