Call them the comeback kids. Again.
The golfers from Johnson City Country Club retained their grip on the City Cup on Sunday, coming back from a seemingly insurmountable deficit against Blackthorn club to win the two-year-old competition for the second year in a row. Both of the victories have been of the come-from-behind variety.
After overcoming a five-point deficit to win by one last year, the JCCC team found itself down 35-22 after Saturday’s first day this time around. With 57 points available each day, the Blackthorn team only needed 221â„2 Sunday at JCCC seize the trophy. It got only 21, thanks to the unlikely rally that gave JCCC a 58-56 victory.
“I thought it was insurmountable,” said JCCC pro Mike Crowe, who did his best to hide his pessimism from his team. “I told them to keep fighting because you never know what would happen. I really didn’t think we could make that up, but they did it. And everyone did just enough to get it done.”
Crowe set the stage early, teaming with youngster Taylor Smith to win all three points from Blackthorn pro Darren Howard and Charlie Byrne. Two-mans teams were competing for three points in each of the 19 matches. One point was awarded for the front nine, one for the back and one for the overall.
“Some days the leprechaun is with you and some days it’s not,” Howard said. “It wasn’t with us today. They hit some shots that looked like they were going out of bounds and they hit trees and they made birdie. We got beat by a horseshoe today.
“On this golf course, it’s all about the breaks. The greens were a lot slower, and from talking to our guys, they were leaving it just a tad short all day.”
Some of the members of the Blackthorn team arrived with a police escort on Sunday morning, surely feeling victory was in their grasps. But word spread during the round that the country club team seemed to be making up ground.
With two groups still on the course, the overall score was tied. Then Phil Walters and Urs Gsteiger came in with 21â„2 points for the JCCC team, meaning Blackthorn’s final group would need to sweep all three for that team to win.
When JCCC’s Jim Barbarito and Jim Shorter came in with 11â„2 points against Blackthorn’s Joe Beaudoin and David Nicely, it became official. The cup was staying put.
“We were down a bunch,” said Matt Brown of JCCC. “It’s our course and it is different so we knew we had a chance. A lot of our guys don’t hit it that far but they know the course, so coming to a course where you have to hit good shots, you never know.
“It’s unbelievable. We were so far back, it didn’t seem reasonable. Everybody must have played fantastic.”
Also posting three-point sweeps for JCCC were the teams of Doug Weems and Mike Haas, Craig Livesay and Roger Brown, and Jerry Smith and Karel Elbers.
The teams of Phil Begley and John Fenley, and Tom Frazier and Jeff Blake scored shutouts for Blackthorn.
“We were faced with the same situation last year and everybody stuck together,” Crowe said. “We did it again today. We came through.”