Upstate Amateur Golf

Spartanburg wins second straight Cyder Cup

Needing just five points to secure a repeat victory in the Cyder Cup Matches, Spartanburg put it away early.

The defending champs scored wins in four of the first six matches on the card and tied another, taking 4.5 early points to edge closer to the win.

Down the lineup, Brad Thorne’s 4&2 win over Jared Crane proved to be the winner, pushing Spartanburg over the top on the way to a 20-12 victory.

“Honestly, I didn’t really play that well,” Thorne said. “I got up and down where I needed to, made a couple of putts, and was able to close out the match early.

Despite Spartanburg’s big win, there were plenty of tight matches on Sunday, beginning with the captains’ match.

Todd Whitehead and Terry Willis saw the lead in their match change four times before Whitehead went 2-up at No. 13. Willis cut it back to 1-up at 14, but Whitehead won the 16th and 17th holes to close it out 3&1.

“It was a little bit of back-and-forth,” Whitehead said. “It was very important this year for me and Terry to play each other with us being co-chairmen of the board. We really enjoyed it. It went back-and-forth and luckily he gave me a little bit of a break at the end.”

Other winners from Spartanburg on Sunday included Ronnie Pruitt, Max Fain, Jeffrey Horton, Hunter Parks, Thorne, Reed Bentley, and Dustin Adair. Nelson Dickson halved his match with Crawford Reeves.

For Greenville, Yancey Johnson, Jeremy Revis, Matt Mead, Brian Newton, Spencer Cole, Chad Siefert, and Doug Appleby notched individual victories on Sunday.

“The guys played great, and we’re extremely happy,” Whitehead said. “But we couldn’t do this if we didn’t have the sponsorships and the golf courses and the clubs that participate with us. We just couldn’t do it. With their help, it’s been awesome.”

The real winners, though, were the young golfers who will be impacted by the programs of the First Tee of the Upstate programs, the beneficiary of funds raised by the Cyder Cup Matches.

First Tee of the Upstate Executive Director Michael Pius said this year’s event raised more money than any event in the past five years, at least.

The First Tee Upstate serves young golfers in the entire Upstate. The program uses golf to help build core values to help in charachter development. (First Tee Upstate photo)

“We raised more than $35,000,” he said. “I think we have a couple more checks to come in, so it might be a little bit more than that. It’s huge.”

That number will help the organization pursue a national challenge grant from Charles Schwab which will award $32,000 for a new donor and an increase of $25,000 over past donations.

“If we meet those requirements, they cut us a free check,” Pius said, “Events like this help us to bring new donors to the table. We don’t just ask the players to cut a check. We ask them to raise funds through their colleagues and friends. That’s what I love about this event the most. It brings more people to our mission and lets them know more about what we do. In 2019 we started our expansion into Anderson. A portion of the funds go to the betterment of the entire chapter. Next year at this time we’re hoping to be in Greenwood and Oconee. Events like this help us expand our mission.”

That mission, integrating golf with life skills, is at the core of the matches.

“I’m getting ready to start my 13th year on the board or in a management role, I guess you’d say,” Whitehead said. “I love that we take care of the kids. That’s all we try to do.”

Thorne said the players enjoy the competition, and are happy to help the First Tee.

“Being able to help these kids and raise some money for them and see what this program does is pretty fun,” he said.

“Knowing that’s what we’re doing, no matter what happens it makes it fun. And it’s fun to play team golf. This is a great bunch of guys, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.”

In Saturday’s opening rounds, Team Spartanburg set the stage for their second straight win when they took an 11.5-4.5 lead over Team Greenville with two strong sessions.

The series between golfers from the two upstate counties now stands at Greenville 10 Spartanburg 8 and 1 tie.

Scores from th 19th Cyder Cup played at Green Valley Country Club

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