The highly anticipated 2011 Cupp Cup saw a little of everything this time around. Four rookies, a new captain, and an unforgettable finish were the subplots to the final weekend of September at Rome Country Club.
Jake Smith made his debut this week as Captain for Team Josh. His seemed to have made the right pairings and pushed the right buttons as Session One saw Team Josh jump out to an early lead. At one point, the blue team was up in five of the six matches late in the session, threatening to pull away from Team Wes right out of the gates. After the final handshakes of the morning, the scoreboard showed Jake’s team had given Team Wes a pretty good thumping, leading four points to two.
Saturday’s afternoon session was very crucial for Team Wes in order to keep this event from getting out of reach going into Sunday. Much like they did last year, Team Wes dominated the alternate shot format, earning four points to two. Team Wes rode the classic pairings of Closinski/Artigiani and Fitsik/Cupp to two victories. As the sun set on a wild day of golf, the stage was set for a dramatic finish to the fourth annual Cupp Cup.
Sunday morning presented twelve singles matches to conclude the Cupp Cup. As the day progressed, neither team could pull ahead. Each match the finished alternated in a Team Wes and then a Team Josh win. Cupp Cup rookie and Team Wes member Dennis Bird was the first to post a point on Sunday as he closed out T.W. Peters 5 & 4. However, this slim one point lead for Team Wes was quickly countered by Dave Fay’s win over Mark Lloyd. And so the day went as neither team saw a lead of more than one point all afternoon.
And then there were two. With the score tied at eleven points apiece, two matches remained on the course. Ron Artigiani (Wes) and Ed Graziano (Josh) were locked in a battle a few holes ahead of the final group of the day, Jerry Closinski (Wes) versus Tom M. Peters (Josh).
Ed Graziano, once up early in the match, found himself down two holes with three to play. Ed scratched out a win and a tie on #16 and #17 to send the match to the final hole. Needing to win the hole to earn a half point, Graz got the job done. Thus, with just one match left on the course, the event was still tied at 11.5 points.
Jerry and Tom battled brilliantly all day. After a “good for good” on the tricky seventeenth green, the two marched up the hill to the eighteenth tee all square. Both players hit wonderful drives that found the fairway and played two nice iron shots into the par four’s green. Surrounded by a cavalry of carts, spectators, and teammates, Tom was first to putt. From about twenty-four feet, Tom hit a reasonable putt up the tier to within two feet of the cup. Jerry then stepped up for his twenty foot birdie try. If he makes it, Team Wes wins. If not, the Cupp Cup would have to be decided by a playoff for the second time in its four year history.
Jerry calmly stepped up and knocked it in! The Cupp Cup was over! Team Wes had won its third in four tries and Jerry was named the Cupp Cup MVP for the second year in a row.
2011 Session One – Eighteen Hole Best Ball Matches
JOSH 4 points, WES 2 points
Match #1 – J. Pollex & D. Bird vs. J. Domagal & T.W. Peters. Domagal & Peters, 1 up.
Match #2 – M. Lloyd & W. Cacciatori vs. D. Fay & P. Katchmar. Halved.
Match #3 – P. Fitsik & R. Artigiani vs. M. Smith & J. Potter. Halved.
Match #4 – J. Gifford & E. Maya vs. T.M. Peters & R. Taylor. Peters & Taylor, 3 & 2.
Match #5 – J. Haberer & J. Vescio vs. K. Caldwell & E. Graziano. Haberer & Vescio, 4 & 3.
Match #6 – L. Cupp & J. Closinski vs. E. Evans & JR Purrington. Evans & Purrington, 4 & 3.
2011 Session Two – Nine Hole Alternate Shot Matches
WES 4 points, JOSH 2 points
Match #7 – M. Lloyd & J. Vescio vs. T.M. Peters & M. Smith. Peters & Smith, 1 up.
Match #8 – J. Closinski & R. Artigiani vs. D. Fay & T.W. Peters. Closinski & Artigiani, 3 & 2.
Match #9 – L. Cupp & P. Fitsik vs. E. Evans & K. Caldwell. Cupp & Fitsik, 4 & 3.
Match #10 – E. Maya & D. Bird vs JR Purrington & E. Graziano. Purrington & Graziano, 3 & 2.
Match #11 – W. Cacciatori & J. Pollex vs. P. Katchmar & J. Domagal. Cacciatori & Pollex, 1 up.
Match #12 – J. Gifford & J. Haberer vs. R. Taylor & J. Potter. Gifford & Haberer, 2 & 1.
2011 Session Three – Eighteen Hole Singles Matches
WES 6.5 points, JOSH 5.5 points
Match #13 – M. Lloyd v. D. Fay. Fay, 3 & 1.
Match #14 – D. Bird v. T.W. Peters. Bird, 5 & 4.
Match #15 – J. Gifford v. E. Evans. Evans, 4 & 3.
Match #16 – J. Vescio v. J. Potter. Vescio, 4 & 3.
Match #17 – W. Cacciatori v. JR Purrington. Purrington, 3 & 2.
Match #18 – P. Fitsik v. J. Domagal. Fitsik, 6 & 5.
Match #19 – L. Cupp v. R. Taylor. Cupp, 3 & 2.
Match #20 – J. Haberer v. K. Caldwell. Caldwell, 2 & 1.
Match #21 – E. Maya v. P. Katchmar. Maya, 4 & 3.
Match #22 – R. Artigiani v. E. Graziano. Halved.
Match #23 – Closinski v. T.M. Peters. Closinski, 1 up.
Match #24 – Pollex v. Smith. Smith, 6 & 5.
TEAM WES WINS THE 2011 CUPP CUP, 12.5 points to 11.5
2011 Cupp Cup Individual Statistics
TEAM WES – 12.5 points
Pete Fitsik 2-0-1, 2.5 points
Jerry Closinski 2-1-0, 2 points
Lauren Cupp 2-1-0, 2 points
Ron Artigiani 1-0-2, 2 points
Joe Vescio 2-1-0, 2 points
John Haberer 2-1-0, 2 points
Wayne Cacciatori 1-1-1, 1.5 points
Eric Maya 1-2-0, 1 point
John Pollex 1-2-0, 1 point
Dennis Bird 1-2-0, 1 point
Mark Lloyd 0-2-1, 0.5 point
TEAM JOSH – 11.5 points
JR Purrington 3-0-0, 3 points
Mike Smith 2-0-1, 2.5 points
Ed Evans 2-1-0, 2 points
Tom M. Peters 2-1-0, 2 points
Dave Fay 1-1-1, 1.5 points
Ed Graziano 1-1-1, 1.5 points
Ken Caldwell 1-2-0, 1 point
Tom W. Peters 1-2-0, 1 point
Robert Taylor 1-2-0, 1 point
John Domagal 1-2-0, 1 point
Jeff Potter 0-2-1, 0.5 point
Paul Katchmar 0-2-1, 0.5 point
2011 Individual Letter Grades
MATCH OFFICIAL Sammy Pool Bar A+
Sammy Pool Bar had another great week at the Cupp Cup. He never got the cart stuck, took some amazing photos, and didn’t pass out from the horror of seeing perfectly good champagne being sprayed foolishly in the air during the Team Wes celebration. What can we say, we love Sammy!
TEAM WES (graded by Captain Wes)
Assistant Captain Bob Pawlak A++
Bobby “DQ” Pawlak rocked the house again for Team Wes. A great showing Friday night, entertaining banter over mudslides all weekend, and a helpful hand making the Sunday singles pairings earned Bobby a solid “A”. Bumping his grade up to an “A++” was DQ’s biggest feat of the event. Interestingly, it actually came after the action had ended on Sunday. Bobby weathered the storm of Ronnie’s blow by blow account of all three of his matches (and correlating warm-up sessions on the range) at the bar at Legend’s without being driven to violence. Now that is a dedicated captain!
Jerry Closinski A+
Jerry had a seven match win streak going into this year’s Cupp Cup. Unfortunately, his attempt for eight in a row never really got started as he and fellow A Pooler Lauren Cupp got their asses kicked in the morning Best Ball on Saturday. Jerry quickly erased that forgettable morning match as he and Ronnie once again teamed up for a full point in the afternoon session. But let’s not kid ourselves, this Cupp Cup was and will always be about Jerry’s “clutchness” and “THE PUTT.” Battling from behind all day, Jerry’s magical twenty footer on the last hole took the full point Team Wes needed to win the cup. Interestingly enough, the moment that putt hit the bottom of the cup was the first instant Jerry held a lead in that fateful singles match with Tom “Tough Luck” Peters.
Pete Fitsik A
Although Jerry gets all the headlines for the 2011 Cupp Cup, it was Pete Fitsik who took home the most points for Team Wes (2.5). Pete played well all week, highlighted by his beat down of John Domagal in the singles match on Sunday. Pete, 74 years young, was even par with the card when he closed out Johnny D. on the 13th green. Pete’s only hiccup for the weekend came on the eighteenth hole of Saturday’s morning matches. A pesky three footer that couldn’t find the bottom of the cup cost him a perfect 3-0 record and most likely the MVP trophy. However, let’s not forget his amazing play from the front edge of the green that give him that opportunity on #18. Great playing this week, Pete!
Lauren Cupp A+ for Friday’s outfit / B+ for golf
Lauren had a great summer of golf. She won the Syracuse Post-Standard, Yahnundasis Club Championship, Central New York Tournament of Champions, and FINALLY won a singles match in the Cupp Cup. Lauren broke her string of three straight singles losses in the event with a 3 & 2 win over Robert Taylor.
Wayne Cacciatori B+
Wayne turned a lot of heads with his solid play this weekend. Not only was he a Cupp Cup rookie, he was asked by Wes to step up the A Pool with the big guns. Wayne proudly accepted the challenge and competed very gamely all weekend. He fought hard with partner Mark Lloyd in the best ball match to scrap out a half a point and earned a full point with struggling Johnny P in the alternate shot match. Although he came up short in his singles match with JR, Captain Wes was impressed with what he saw and is looking forward to Wayne’s contributions to the A Pool for years to come.
John Haberer B+ (was just a “B” until I remembered he brought mudslides on Sunday)
Habs had an incredible start to this year’s Cupp Cup. Let’s see… he was the only Team Wes member to win BOTH of his matches on Saturday AND he brought back-up mudslides to the course on Sunday morning. In other words, he had a perfect weekend going… until Kenny Caldwell entered the scene. Although Habs battled bravely all day against Kenny (highlighted by a clutch par saving putt on #16 in front of the gathering crowds), he just couldn’t put enough good holes together to come out on top. With a little more consistency (and more golf after Labor Day) Habs could finish off that perfect weekend for Team Wes in 2012.
Dennis Bird B
What a great addition Dennis was to Team Wes this year. Dennis’s genuine enthusiasm for golf and the Cupp Cup is exactly what our team, and the club for that matter, needs. He fought admirably in Saturday’s matches but didn’t get on the board. He and Johnny P fought back from an early deficit in the morning match but let it slip away with some untidy play on #17 and #18. The afternoon alternate shot wasn’t any better as he and Maya suffered a 3 & 2 defeat. Dennis didn’t let this get him down as he brought his “A” game on Sunday. Early on the back nine in his singles match with T.W. Peters, Dennis brought the noise as he gained control of the match with a barrage of pars. Dennis completed the victory with a dramatic iron to two feet on #14 – securing the birdie and the very important win for Team Wes. Nice work, Dennis!
Ron Artigiani B
Ronnie had another solid campaign for Team Wes this time around. Ronnie was one of only two Team Wessers to avoid defeat over the weekend (Pete Fitsik was the other). Ronnie got off to a good start, securing 1.5 points on Saturday. Sunday, however, was much more of a battle. Ron fell behind early to Ed Graziano but clawed his way back midway through the final nine. His charge was highlighted by a chip-in on #13. Things got shaky after that though as his two up lead with three holes to go quickly dissolved into a halved match. Thankfully for Ronnie, JClo’s dramatic Cup-winning putt swept away any memories of Ronnie’s rocky finish.
Joe Vescio B
Joe had a very solid rookie campaign for Team Wes. He posted a 2-1 record for the weekend. His small stumble with Mark Lloyd on the last hole of the alternate shot was quickly whisked away with his triumphant singles match win on Sunday. Joe’s 4 & 3 victory over Cupp Cup veteran Jeff Potter was a strong statement for the rook.
Eric Maya B –
There was a lot of pressure on Eric this time around in the Cupp Cup. As part of the first and only trade in Cupp Cup history, he knew there would be the comparison between his play and that of Tayls. After Day One, Captain Wes looked like a fool as Eric teamed up with Giff and Dennis and lost both matches. Maya seemed destined for an “F” letter grade. However, Eric came out smoking in his singles match on Sunday and shot a blistering 34 on the front. He quickly put away Paul Katchmar and salvaged his weekend with an emphatic victory. Captain Wes hopes this match will be the catalyst for a 3-0 campaign in the 2012 Cupp Cup.
Jeff Gifford C+
As questionable as Jeff’s psychological tactics are, I actually thought they were going to work during the singles matches. By the time his foursome left the first tee box, he had both Eddie Evans AND Jeff Potter’s blood boiling. After watching Eddie’s tee shot go 210 yards and straight into the Christmas trees to the right of #1, I thought he just might be successful in getting into the helmets of Team Josh.
I was wrong. Edible Evans gave Giff a good thumping, winning 4 & 3.
Although a lackluster performance this weekend, I have noticed remarkable improvement with Giff’s game the past two summers. With a few swing and course management tweaks, Giff could do some damage in 2012.
Mark Lloyd C
Sometimes no matter how badly you want to play well and win, your game just leaves you for a few days. Such was the case for Mark this Cupp Cup, as he never looked comfortable and that damn little white ball never did what it was told. The weekend started well for Mark as he and Wayne scratched and clawed their way from behind to secure a very important half point in what was a difficult first session for Team Wes. Mark’s last two matches, however, didn’t produce any additional points and never saw the brand of golf of which Mark is capable. His third consecutive loss in Sunday singles matches to the rumored to be retiring Dave Fay completed a tough few days.
John Pollex A+ for quitting smoking / C- for golf
Johnny P battled both the cigarette demons as well as the golf swing demons all weekend. JP never looked comfortable out there. Who could blame him? Nicotine gum has to be downright awful. He managed one win for the weekend with Wayne in the alternate shot but never got out of the gate in his match with Mike Smith on Sunday. Rumor has it he was five down through the first four holes in this match… that’s tough to come back from.
TEAM JOSH (graded by Captain Jake)
Assistant Captain Caitlin Henry A+
Caitlin didn’t quite clear the bar she set last year with the UC’s, but she did take one for the team by trying to keep team Wes out as late as possible on Friday. She earned her A by taking pictures, updating Josh, singing happy birthday to Tom, and staying upright on the bar stool Friday night. (The plus is for the artwork she found Saturday morning)
Assistant to the Assistant Captain Gabriel A++
The kid drove his mom around in the cart, picked up stray golf balls, loved that the last match was Tom vs. Jerry, and he’s a big SpongeBob fan. Maybe in a few years we can get some clubs in his hands and pull off a win.
Dave Fay B-
Dave had his ups and downs over the weekend but still managed to secure a hard fought for point and a half for his team. Dave mentioned that this year was his swan song but we hope he can find it in him to come back because we need someone who can beat Mark Lloyd.
Ed Evans B+
Ed had an up and down day on Saturday. He helped take down a tough Closinski /Cupp team in the morning, but when we paired the teams by height in the afternoon, he and Ken Caldwell couldn’t get it going. He redeemed himself on Sunday though by regaining his composure, tuning out Jeff Gifford, and earning a win.
JR Purrington A+
You couldn’t ask for more than what JR produced. Whether he was playing with himself or had a partner JR managed to come up with a win. Definitely an MVP level performance.
Robert Taylor C
Tayls stepped up big for team Josh by moving to the A pool and got out of the gate strong in round one. It was trouble from there. Tayls lost a letter grade when, as the biggest guy on our team, couldn’t beat a girl in the singles. The letter grade was later restored when I remembered that he is bigger than me and had a bum knee after a freak wheelbarrow accident on Saturday night.
Paul Katchmar D
Paul’s struggles continued, and unfortunately the winless streak is still active. He earned half a point with Dave Fay in best ball, and played solid golf Sunday but, ran into a buzz saw named Eric Maya in his singles match.
Tom M Peters A
Tom put together a very solid weekend. He pulled off two points for the team on Saturday, and was one of a few bright spots during round two. The only blemish on a near perfect birthday weekend for Tom was the dagger stuck in the team’s heart by Jerry taking a full point, and the cup, for team Wes by making that f****** putt on the last hole.
Tom W Peters C
Tom got off to a solid start both days but had trouble keeping it going into the afternoon. Tom played decent golf but ran into a solid rookie performance by Dennis Bird on Sunday. As always he helped keep the spirits up and the mood light all weekend for the team and pulled in a point for his efforts.
Jeff Potter D-
The Colonel had a pretty rough weekend. It seemed like every time I talked to Jeff he was telling me how well everyone else was playing. He only managed to score half a point for the team, but did manage to win $100 for Wayne Cacciatori when he ordered a draft for breakfast on Saturday. (See Mike Smith) We’ll just chalk this one up as bad luck and hope for better next year.
John Domagal C
John got off to a great start with Tom Peters getting the team its first point and helping to set the tone for the morning matches. He ran into trouble after that when his captain paired him up against Wayne Cacciatori in alternate shot and Pete Fitsik in singles, and they were both on fire.
Ken Caldwell C+
Ken’s on course strategy occasionally left me a little confused, but his enthusiasm and confidence more than made up for it. Saturday was tough he and Graz struggled early in best ball, and it continued into the afternoon with Ed. Ken redeemed himself when he promised a win on Sunday, and delivered, taking down a tough John Haberer.
Ed Graziano B+
Although Ed repeatedly claimed to be hung like a tic-tac, he showed what a set he had with a huge comeback to halve his match with Artigiani after being down two with three to play. Ed got off to a rocky start Saturday, but he settled in during round two and overall gave a very solid rookie performance.
Mike Smith A
The terminator…the hammer…Rusty Trombone, whatever you want to call him, he brings it every time. He carried Jeff Potter for a half point during the best ball match, teamed up with Tom Peters for a win in Alternate shot, and took apart Johnny P in the singles. (All while wearing a women’s size small shirt and no bra) He managed another loss free weekend on the course; however he lost a bet with Wayne that he could keep Jeff from drinking during their best ball match Saturday.
Captain Jake’s Weekend Summary
What a weekend! We have to start with Team Josh collectively tipping our hats to Jerry. That was a hell of a putt, with everything on the line. If we had to lose I’m glad it was because someone stepped up and hit a solid pressure shot, and we didn’t lie down and give it away. Congratulations are in order for Team Wes as a whole as well. It was a solid effort all around and a hard fought win. If I could have scripted the weekend (with the exception of the ending) it would have pretty much turned out the same. Close matches, the points going back and forth, (mostly) decent weather, and solid golf being played all over the course.
Also, I would like to thank Team Josh for playing hard all weekend. The only place the team came unglued was during alternate shot. I set those matches up, so that falls squarely on my shoulders. Everyone gave it their all and that’s all we can ask for.