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The golfers from Blackthorn Club had a year to remember how the guys from Johnson City Country Club waltzed away with the City Cup after a surprising victory on foreign soil.
They’re expecting to capture the trophy today.
The Blackthorn team took a commanding 35-22 lead Saturday in the second annual competition between the two clubs. This time, the club formerly known as The Ridges took care of business on its home turf.
“I think we took it more seriously this year,” Blackthorn professional Darren Howard said. “Last year we felt like we let it get away.”
The JCCC team came from behind last year, amazingly making up a five-point deficit at Blackthorn to take the inaugural trophy by a point.
“I think what happened last year was we played so good over there, we were up on their golf course,” Howard said. “Who could expect that? I think our guys had a little too much fun that night. I think they showed up on Sunday and took it for granted like ‘We’re on our home course and we’ve got it won.’
“Our guys took it a lot more serious this year. They took it to heart.”
Howard teamed with Charlie Byrne to set the tone for the home team. Each match was worth three points, and Howard and Byrne took all three. One point was awarded for the front nine, one for the back and one for the overall.
“Charlie and I teamed so well together,” said Howard, who has won every point available in the two years of this competition. “We didn’t even come close to making a bogey. We played it like you’re supposed to. We wanted both of us to be in every hole. Neither one of was ever out of a hole. I bet we would have both shot in the 60s today.”
Nineteen matches of better-ball were contested. Howard and Byrne were one of four twosomes from Blackthorn to sweep all three points. Also posting shutouts were the teams of Mark Chang and Mitch Cox, Tom Newsom and Lewis Songer, and Joe Beaudoin and David Nicely.
Johnson City Country Club had two teams win all three points. Matt Trvivett and Tyler Larson joined Keith Baumgarner and Glenn Rannick to post whitewashes.
As the scores were being posted, it was apparent the first day wasn’t going to be close. When the final tally was added, the JCCC players learned just how big a mountain they have to climb today.
“We have our work cut out for us,” said JCCC pro Mike Crowe. “We’re just gonna go out there and play. I told the guys don’t give up. Just play one shot at a time and see what happens. Tomorrow’s another day.”
The event brought together nineteen groups of golfers — 38 players from each club — giving players a chance to get to know each other. Many already do, which makes bragging rights a vital component of this tournament.
“It’s very competitive,” Crowe said. “Nobody wants to get beat, but it’s a lot of fun. We enjoy the camaraderie. We enjoy both golf courses. This is a beautiful place. And we’re looking forward to having those guys at our place tomorrow.”
Howard remembers seeing the JCCC guys leave his parking lot with the trophy held high last year. He’s hoping to do the same at the country club today.
“That wasn’t fun, seeing them win here,” Howard said. “I don’t care what level you’re playing, that’s not fun.
“I’m gonna get my team together and say ‘Look guys, we had a lead last year and we’re on their course today. Every single point, every single shot counts. If you get down in a match, keep fighting. You don’t know what’s happening in the other matches, so you’ve got to keep fighting.’ ”
Final-round action starts today with a shotgun start at 10:30 a.m.