Hear from Todd Whitehead the Spartanburg team captain in the 2019 Cyder Cup match as his team broke a three year losing streak to Greenville.
The Cyder Cup has been firmly in the hands of Greenville for the last three years. Not only did the “Greenvilians” win the Cup they dominated the scoring over their long time rivals from Spartanburg.
This year it was different.
The “Spartanburgers” jumped out to an early lead during the first two rounds of the Ryder Cup format tournament and wrapped up a convincing win with a strong singles performance.
Spartanburg won the annual battle between top golfers in the two Upstate counties by a score of 19 1/2 to 11 1/2.
“It is awesome, the guys played great this weekend,” said Spartanburg team captain Todd Whitehead. “We had some new players and some veterans and we all played well,” he said.
The 16 member teams from each county are composed of golfers who have won county championships or earned high finishes in open tournaments around the Upstate.
This year 13 of the 32 golfers had won either a Spartanburg or Greenville County Amateur title. Many of the golfers are regulars in South Carolina Golf Association state events.
The Spartanburg team got off to a good start by earning 5 1/2 points in the opening round of best ball. Spartanburg and Greenville played even in the second round using the modified alternate shot format.
At the end of the first day Spartanburg held a 3-point lead over Greenville.
In the final round at the Carolina Country Club the Spartanburg team jumped out to big leads in many of the final matches. Midway through the last round Spartanburg led in the majority of final matches.
Greenville would need an epic rally if it was the keep their three year winning streak going.
Spartanburg won the final round with victories in nine singles matches to four for Greenville with two matches finishing even.
The singles matches helped Spartanburg boost their lead to 8-points and gave the team its first Cyder Cup win since 2015.
“It definitely was a big win and great to see how much everyone enjoyed the competition,” said Whitehead.
When the tournament began it was just a fun event for golfers from each county, but over the years the event has become a major fund raising vehicle for the Upstate First Tee.
Each golfer in the Cyder Cup helps with the find raising. After a slow start the fund raising competition between the two counties is almost as intense as the actual golf matches.
Greenville golfers brought in $11,508.00 while Spartanburg golfer’s added $10,631.00 for the Upstate First Tee.
“This year we raised almost $23,000 for The First Tee of the Upstate. All the credit goes to the players as they have done all of the fund raising,” said Whitehead.
As the program has expanded into Anderson County the need to increase funding continues to grow and the Cyder Cup is an important fund raising opportunity.
“Funding is a huge part of the First Tee. Being a board member I see the needs day in and day out and how much we need to fund raise to make our programs successful,” said Whitehead.
Another opportunity to help the First Tee Upstate is open to any golfer by playing in the First Tee Pro-Am coming up on November 5th at the Carolina Country Club.
Entry information is available at The First Tee Upstate website .https://www.thefirstteeupstate.org/2019proam
“We have been working with more youngsters with out expansion into Anderson County and the money raised by the Cyder Cup and the Pro-Am helps us bring golf and character education to many more kids,” said Michael Pius the executive director of The First Tee of the Upstate.
While the competition is fun and the golfers on the two teams enjoy the event, they all have one more goal in mind in addition to winning the Cyder Cup.
“I love the kids. It really is all about the kids and the way we can help them,” concluded Whitehead.
Tournament scores are available at https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/5761514298660669981