Session One – 18 Hole Best Ball
The 2014 version of the famed Cupp Cup got off to an interesting start. Right before play was to begin Saturday morning, a trade was announced. Robert Taylor (Tayls) was traded to Team Wes for rookie Brad Badolato. It was only the third trade in Cupp Cup history (Maite Cupp for Lauren Steates in 2009 and Robert Taylor for Eric Maya in 2011). Tayls, an original Team Wes member, was back home. Brad, happy to join Team Lauren, oddly had to take on Mr. Taylor in his first ever Cupp Cup match just moments after the trade.
Also creating quite a buzz leading up to the 2014 Cupp Cup was the mysterious captain’s pick of Team Wes. Wes went out of town for his Blue Pool ringer as Nicolette Darois tip toed off of the U Albany campus to come home and compete for the weekend.
Finally, it was time to get down to business. Team Wes tried to shake the slow start blues they suffered from last year and put the horses of Bird and Weis in the first group. Although challenged, they held on to a one up victory thanks to a glorious par save by Dennis Bird on the 18th. Sadly for Team Wes, this would be their only match win in the morning session.
The marquee group of the morning session was Match #2. Mark Lloyd and Jeff Gifford of Team Wes were taking on JR Purrington and Tom M. Peters of Team Lauren. JR and Tom got off to a quick lead and never looked back. Lloyd and Giff never mustered up a birdie the entire round to spark a comeback. JR and Tom closed out the match on #16, 3&2.
Proven pairings of Kalk & Potter and the law firm of Hughes & Hughes delivered once again for Team Lauren in Matches #3 and #4. Both cruised to victories to give their team a lead they would never relinquish the entire weekend.
The final group of the morning pitted the freshly traded foes of Badolato and Taylor against each other. Throw in the captain’s pick of Nic Darois and rookie Jeff Morat and great theatre resulted. This was the final match on the course and it came down to the final hole. With thirty or so onlookers, the match marched up the ninth and final hole. Nic, under a new type of golf pressure, expertly hit the par five in two and made a fantastic two putt from 45 feet to birdie and secure a desperately needed half point for Team Wes.
2014 Session One – Eighteen Hole Best Ball Matches
LAUREN 4 points WES 2 points
Match #1 – D. Bird & R. Weis vs. W. Cook & J. Domagal. Bird & Weis, 1 up.
Match #2 – M. Lloyd & J. Gifford vs. JR Purrington & T.M. Peters. Purrington & Peters, 4&2.
Match #3 – E. Maya & R. Artigiani vs. J. Potter & L. Kalk. Potter & Kalk, 3&2.
Match #4 – B. Adams & J. Solon vs. M. Hughes & J. Hughes. Hughes & Hughes, 4&3.
Match #5 – J. Vescio & W. Cacciatori vs. M. Smith & K. Caldwell. Halved.
Match #6 – R. Taylor & N. Darois vs. J. Morat & B. Badolato. Halved.
Session Two – 18 Hole Alternate Shot
Due to the late and wet start of the first session, the Alternate Shot matches were postponed until Sunday. Team Wes needed to get off to a nice start in order to even things up heading into the Singles matches. Team Lauren had other ideas. Just like last year on their way to a 14-10 win, Team Lauren dominated the Alternate Shot. They took five of the six points in this session to open up an incredible 9-3 lead. Over the past two years, Lauren has won the Alternate Shot to the tune of 9.5 to 2.5.
Match #8 was a very crucial battle in this session. Team Wes sent out defending LT Shoot-Out champions Mark Lloyd and Ron Weis against a new combo for Lauren, Matt Hughes and Larry Kalk. Up until this match, Hughesy was a career 4-0 in the Cupp Cup. In addition, he set the lowest club championship score in the 85 year history of the club a month earlier with a sparkling weekend total of six under par, 138. This achievement raised him from admired golfer to demigod status amongst his peers. Captain Wes, anxious to dirty up Hughesy record and show his golf mortality, was squeezing harder than ever for his powerhouse team of Lloyd and Weis to pull off the upset. Although Lloyd and Weis had them on the ropes the entire afternoon, a couple of short putts and a huge opportunity were missed as Hughesy and Kalk squirmed their way to an improbable 1 up victory.
Match #11 saw Team Wes’s only point of the Alternate Shot session. Rookie Nic Darois followed up her heroic finish to the best ball match with a solid performance with partner Dennis Bird. Dennis played very nicely all weekend. His match clinching putt and subsequent fist pump on the fifth green made the perfect exclamation point for his great 2014 performance.
In the final match of team play, the battle was all square heading into the final hole (#9). A halved match would put the score at 8.5 to 3.5 while a full point for Wes would make it a more respectable 8 to 4. However, a costly three touch from 18 feet by Artigiani and Tayls gave the full point to Team Lauren, finishing off the ass kicking that was the Alternate Shot. The final tally after the first two sessions was 9-3.
2014 Session Two – Eighteen Hole Alternate Shot Matches
LAUREN 5 points WES 1 point
Match #7 – T.M. Peters & J. Domagal vs. J. Gifford & W. Cacciatori. Peters & Domagal, 5&3.
Match #8 – M. Hughes & L. Kalk vs. M. Lloyd & R. Weis. Hughes & Kalk, 1 up.
Match #9 – J. Hughes & W. Cook vs. J. Solon & E. Maya. Hughes & Cook, 2&1.
Match #10 – B. Badolato & J. Potter vs. B. Adams & J. Vescio. Badolato & Potter, 4&3.
Match #11 – J. Morat & M. Smith vs. N. Darois & D. Bird. Darois & Bird, 5&4.
Match #12 – JR Purrington & K. Caldwell vs. R. Taylor & R. Artigiani. Purrington & Caldwell, 1 up.
Session Three – 18 Singles Matches
After a quick tongue lashing by their usually reserved captain, Team Wes knew they had to make a move early to have any chance. They would have to win nine out of the twelve matches to merely force a playoff. And, wouldn’t you know it, in perfect Cupp Cup dramatic fashion, the improbable comeback dream was taking shape! Josh Solon, Wayne Cacciatori, and newly reacquired Tayls thumped their opponents in only thirteen holes each. The score was now a much more competitive nine to six. Add in a Purrington tailspin and a Vescio win over Larry Kalk, and Team Wes was within one point suddenly. Mark Lloyd and Eric Maya fought their butts off to grab a half a point each in their tough matches for Team Wes and the score was now ten to nine, Team Lauren.
But, the Eddie Evans’ captained Team Lauren had some fight left in them. Joe Hughes, down one at the turn, stepped on the gas and won five of the next six holes to win his match against Jeff Gifford. In Match #15, eventual MVP Tom M. Peters fought off the pesky upstart Nic Darois and won his match 3&2. This put Team Lauren at twelve points, guaranteeing themselves of at least a playoff. They needed just a half point to win the 2014 Cupp Cup. Kenny Caldwell did the honors. He took the final point for Team Lauren on the 15th hole with a 5&3 victory over Ronnie Weis. Team Lauren sure made it interesting, but in the end, they were uncorking the champagne on #17 green for the second year in a row.
2014 Session Three – Eighteen Hole Singles Matches
LAUREN 4 points WES 8 points
Match #13 – JR Purrington vs. B. Adams. Adams, 1 up.
Match #14 – W. Cook vs. R. Artigiani. Artigiani, 1 up.
Match #15 – T.M. Peters vs. N. Darois. T.M. Peters, 3&2.
Match #16 – M. Smith vs. D. Bird. Bird, 2&1.
Match #17 – J. Morat vs. J. Solon. Solon, 7&5.
Match #18 – K. Caldwell vs. R. Weis. Caldwell, 5&3.
Match #19 – B. Badolato vs. R. Taylor. Taylor, 7&5.
Match #20 – L. Kalk vs. J. Vescio. Vescio, 4&2.
Match #21 – M. Hughes vs. M. Lloyd. Halved.
Match #22 – J. Potter vs. W. Cacciatori. Cacciatori, 6&5.
Match #23 -J. Hughes vs. J. Gifford. Hughes, 4&3.
Match #24 – J. Domagal vs. E. Maya. Halved.
TEAM LAUREN WINS THE 2014 CUPP CUP, 13 points to 11
2014 Cupp Cup Individual Records
TEAM LAUREN – 13 points
Tom M. Peters 3-0-0, 3 points (MVP)
Joe Hughes 3-0-0, 3 points
Matt Hughes 2-0-1, 2.5 points
Ken Caldwell 2-0-1, 2.5 points
JR Purrington 2-1-0, 2 points
Larry Kalk 2-1-0, 2 points
Jeff Potter 2-1-0, 2 points
John Domagal 1-1-1, 1.5 points
Brad Badolato 1-1-1, 1.5 points
Whitney Cook 1-2-0, 1 point
Jeff Morat 0-2-1, 0.5 point
Mike Smith 0-2-1, 0.5 point
TEAM WES – 11 points
Dennis Bird 3-0-0, 3 points
Nicolette Darois 1-1-1, 1.5 points
Robert Taylor 1-1-1, 1.5 points
Wayne Cacciatori 1-1-1, 1.5 points
Joe Vescio 1-1-1, 1.5 points
Josh Solon 1-2-0, 1 point
Brian Adams 1-2-0, 1 point
Ron Artigiani 1-2-0, 1 point
Ron Weis 1-2-0, 1 point
Eric Maya 0-2-1, 0.5 point
Mark Lloyd 0-2-1, 0.5 point
Jeff Gifford 0-3-0, 0 points
2014 Individual Letter Grades
Captain Lauren Cupp, A Back to back wins and you must receive an A, right? Although Hamilton College duties took her away for most of the golf action, she did 1) close down Legends “like a bunch of kids” on Saturday and 2) put together a nearly perfect slate of two man teams the first two sessions to all but win the Cup in the first twelve matches.
Captain Ed Evans, A Edible did a great job stepping up for Team Lauren. Even when the going got tough during the singles matches, Eddie stayed positive and rallied the remaining matches on the course to victory to win the Cup. Ed had a recent back surgery that should allow him to play again in 2015. Stay healthy, Ed!
Assistant Captain Larry Natale, A- Larry just missed qualifying for the 2014 Cupp Cup by a mere ten points. Most people would have been soured by the close call. But, much to Larry’s credit, he volunteered to help out his team as an assistant captain. Bravo, Larry! It is that kind of spirit and selflessness that makes this club a pleasant place. Well done!
Tom M. Peters, A+ What can I say? Tom has been chewing up and spitting out anything that Team Wes sends his way the last five matches. Josh’s draft pick seven years ago is really paying dividends now for Team Lauren. Tom is a classy guy and played very nicely all weekend. Tom, you da real MVP!
Joe Hughes, A- Joe had a perfect 3-0 Cupp Cup and was under serious consideration for the MVP honors. His comeback whooping he put on Giff on Sunday was a big point that swung from a Team Wes flag to Team Lauren. Had he not flipped that match, the Cupp would have been up for grabs in a playoff.
Matt Hughes, B+ Hughesy had another solid Cupp Cup performance. He and Joe breezed to a Best Ball win and then Matt pulled off a nice comeback with Larry Kalk in the Alternate Shot session. A halved match with Lloyd in the singles gave Hughesy 2.5 points for 5.5 total in his first two years. So, how come the B+ and not an A or A-? Some of those hung over swings on Saturday were tough to stomach!
Larry Kalk, B Larry played nicely this Cupp Cup. He teamed up for two wins in his first two matches but fell to a lower handicapper, Joe Vescio, in singles. There is no shame in that. Larry has been a solid fixture for Team Lauren over the past few years and always produces. With the new format in 2015, Larry could be a serious contender for MVP as he could be in the newly formed Gold Division.
John Domagal, B- I’d say John had a very average weekend by all accounts. Not bad, just not great either. He was 1-1-1, lost the match he was supposed to on paper, won the match he was supposed to on paper, and halved his singles match with Eric. So, he gets an average grade, B-. If John could have just finished off an injured Maya late Sunday it would have turned an o.k. weekend into a good one.
Brad Badolato, C+ Poor Brad. The guy is a rookie, probably a bit jittery just moments before his first Cupp Cup, and he is told to switch shirts with his opponent. Brad was a great sport with the trade and was a fine gentleman all weekend. In his first Cupp Cup campaign, he posted a respectable 1-1-1 effort. But, anytime you get thumped 7&5 in singles, you can’t get a great grade. I hope Bradley becomes a permanent fixture in the Cupp Cup for years to come. He’s a gamer.
Jeff Potter, B- Jeff the Potter commutes all the way from Syracuse to play RCC every Monday in the Coalyard’s league and to play in club events. Just for that I should give him an automatic A for effort. Jeff had a nice 2014 Cupp Cup, going 2-1. However, he may have celebrated a little too early on Sunday as his two hole lead through four turned into a 6&5 loss against Wayne Cacciatori. Yes, your math is correct, he lost eight out of the next nine holes. Yikes.
Mike Smith, B- Once dubbed “The Terminator” due to his stellar Cupp Cup record, Mike Smith has struggled a bit in the wins/losses category of late. But, don’t be fooled. His record this year was no indication of how he played. His match with Dennis Bird on Sunday was one for the ages. It was hands down the best match ever played in the White Pool in Cupp Cup history in terms of relation to par. The two battled it out all day, trading birdies and pars. It was really a shame that their match didn’t see its deserved conclusion as the corks were popped when they were on #17 green.
Jeff Morat, C- The rookie had some really good moments in the 2014 Cupp Cup but they never mounted into big points. Jeff only earned a half point for the weekend, and Josh Solon buzzsawed him in the singles match on Sunday. But, I did see some flashes of brilliance out of Jeff. I am sure with this year’s experience he will be much more effective in 2015.
Whitney Cook, A- Every single shot I saw Whitney hit this weekend was amazing. I saw him on #12 during the best ball session and he smoothly made birdie. Fast forward to the Alternate Shot and he hit his second shot (yes, second shot) onto the green on #9 to eight feet to set up an eagle opportunity for his partner. So, as a wise opposing captain, I made sure I got the hell away from him. You know, just in case I was bringing him some kind of good golf mojo.
Whit was absolutely thrilled to be a part of the Cupp Cup. In turn, Lauren and I were absolutely thrilled to have him. He is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. And don’t forget about Whitney on a stick! Classic! Here’s to you, Whit!
JR Purrington, D+ JR’s 2-1 record looks nice on paper, but my man had some strange moments this weekend. For example, his opponent on the first hole of match play singles only took one swing, lost his ball, and was conceded the hole by JR. Now, that’s a head scratcher. JR is a fine player and just a few years ago was the most feared player on Team Lauren. I’m glad JR gives a shit enough to get fired up, but I hope he can find his “happy place” next year… or at least eat a Snickers between rounds.
Ken Caldwell, A- Kenny had a nice weekend, grabbing 2.5 points. He and JR won a crucial full point in the last match of the Alternate Shot by coming from behind on arch nemesis Ron Artigiani and his partner, Tayls. That point flipped widened the gap from what was going to be 8-4 to 9-3. In singles, Kenny jumped all over Ronnie Weis as he won the first four holes and cruised to a 5&3 victory. Kenny has improved dramatically over the last few years, especially under pressure.
Captain Wes Cupp, C Yikes. Back to back losses in the Cupp Cup… and to wifey. I can only say that my Saturday pairings just aren’t working out as planned. Maybe I need to go away from the obvious combinations and mix it up in 2015. My only redeeming effort this weekend was that my trade looked pretty good when Tayls sliced and diced Brad 7&5 in singles. But, time will tell if this trade pays off in the long term as well.
Assistant Captain Bob Pawlak, A Like Captain Lauren, employment took Bobby out of town on Sunday (what is up with everyone having real jobs, anyway?). To be honest, it just didn’t feel the same on Sunday without Bobby making quips to lighten the mood. I must say, however, that dumping a hockey game for the social on Friday night was very impressive. Now that is a man with his priorities straight!
Assistant Captain Karl Kotary, A- Karl was great yet again. He was an all-star on Friday night and had all the ladies hanging off of him at Legends. He does lose one half letter grade for spilling the beans to one person about the secret captain’s pick. But, hey, that is pretty good considering he had a juicy secret to keep for a few weeks. With the shake up in the format in 2015, I hope Karl qualifies and competes as a player in the Cupp Cup’s new Gold Division.
Assistant Captain John Haberer, Incomplete Poor Habs had bronchitis and couldn’t make his mark on this year’s event. What kind of excuse is that, anyway? Ebola? Maybe. Bronchitis? Questionable. Hey, Habs, if you are out there reading this… get your ass back to RCC and suit up for the 2015 squad. We haven’t won since you last played. We need you!
Dennis Bird, A+ Wow! What a weekend! If you shave a “W” into your head, go 3-0, and just generally kick ass in life, you deserve an A+! Dennis was a disappointing 0-3 last year and had to wait an entire year to redeem himself. And that he sure did! The self imposed curfew on Friday night of 10:00 looks like it paid dividends. Good on ya, Dennis!
Nicolette Darois, A- Who knew a college aged woman could keep a juicy secret for three weeks? Nic was so sweet to come home and play for Team Wes this weekend. I am very grateful. Plus, she played some nice golf – especially under the most intense pressure. I really hope she learned that she can perform well when the heat is on and transfer those positive thoughts to her college golf career.
Robert Taylor, A- Talys, fresh off of the trade to get him back to Team Wes, played pretty well this weekend. Arty dumped a mess on his lap at the end of the Alternate Shot match for his only loss of the 2014 campaign. Tayls made his captain look good in the singles as he took Brad out behind the woodshed for a 7&5 victory. That bumped his grade up to an A-.
Wayne Cacciatori, B- Wayne-O was another of the 1-1-1 folk for Team Wes. He fell two down quickly to Potter in singles, but rallied like a champ to take eight of the next nine holes. That’s the way to get the job done for Team Wes!
Joe Vescio, B- Naturally, if cousin Wayne-O went 1-1-1, wouldn’t you figure Joe would do the same? Not only that, but the one match in which they were paired together they, of course, halved. Joe did take care of business on Sunday by dismissing Larry Kalk 4&2 in a match Team Wes had to have.
Josh Solon, B Josh played better than his 1-2 record indicated. He was in tough in both of his team matches as he faced a steady diet of the Hughes law firm. Josh took out his frustrations on Morat in singles and taught him a thing or three. This thumping salvaged the weekend for Josh – along with his letter grade.
Brian Adams, C Brian made his Cupp Cup debut this year. His welcoming match was a tough one as he had to face Team Lauren’s heavy hitters of Hughes and Hughes. Another loss in Alternate Shot and Brian was looking for his first taste of points in singles. He got it. Although JR did his best to gift wrap the match, Brian did play well enough to get the win. You can’t ask for more than that.
Ron Artigiani, D+ Arty’s Cupp Cup got off to a rocky start right away on Friday night. Even to a color blind man his “gray” shirt looked olive green. Things didn’t get much better as Maya is still looking for Arty to show up to their Best Ball match. Arty did rebound, however, and had a nice match with Whit in the singles. Arty made a pressure packed par save on #17 to get a one up lead on Whit going into #18 when it looked like the comeback dream was still possible for Team Wes. That smooth stroke with the heat on was very impressive.
Ron Weis, C+ The Director of Operations got his first Cupp Cup win in the first session of the ’14 Cup. He and Dennis outlasted Domagal and Cook to give Team Wes a rare point in team play. However, Ronnie’s next two matches were quite frustrating. He and Lloyd let one slip away in the Alternate Shot and was quickly off stride right out of the gate in singles, leaving Ronnie four down through four. Ronnie battled his ass off on every shot, however, and I absolutely love that about him. Ronnie is a grinder and competitor, he just needs more competition holes under his belt. If he could only get some time off…
Eric Maya, B- Eric was nice enough to jump in for the injured Pete Fitsik. (Eric had to take time off from his third and fourth jobs he has picked up since retiring a few years back). Eric fought with a balky putter all weekend and never seemed to get firing on all cylinders. I wasn’t sure Maya’s heart was really into it this year until I heard about his injury and subsequent gutty performance late Sunday to grab a half point against Domagal. Maya could have easily conceded but he dug deep to scratch out what could have been a playoff inducing half point. That bumped him up one full letter grade.
Mark Lloyd, B- Marky had another shaky Cupp Cup record this year. He only managed a half point, but it was a big half point. No one had been able to fend off Hughesy previously in five career matches, and Mark grabbed a half point in head to head action. If not for a faltering putter, Mark could have stolen the show this week.
Jeff Gifford, D My boy Giff is in a Cupp Cup funk right now. He has improved tremendously over the past three years and even qualified for the 2014 New York State Mid-Amateur this year. That is a great achievement. I really wouldn’t had thought Giff had that type game in his bag if you asked me a few years ago. But, he struggled again at the Cupp Cup and is riding a five match losing streak into 2015. Some questioned his trunk slamming on Sunday. I secretly liked it. I want people on my team that want to win. Captain Wes suggests a more mellow Friday evening next time. It couldn’t hurt.