Beau Pré Cup still close

Published 12:02 am Sunday, September 25, 2011

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Al Conn hits a tee shot during the Beau Pré Cup Saturday morning at the Beau Pré golf course as Jody Helbling, left, and Bruce Reynolds watch.

NATCHEZ — Just when it looked like Team Carnoustie was about to put some distance between itself and Team St. Andrews near the end of Saturday afternoon’s alternate shot matches at the 2011 Beau Pré Cup, Team St. Andrews responded.

In the next-to-last match of the day at Beau Pré Country Club, Mel Beltzhoover and Billy Ulmer defeated Adrian Stallone and Lane Feltus to give Team St. Andrews an important one point.

Then on the final match, Carl Rogel’s approach shot led to Jody Helbling making a putt on the 18th hole as they halved the match with Al Conn and Bruce Reynolds of Team Carnoustie to give each team a half of a point.

At the end of the day, Team Carnoustie had 7 1/2 points while Team St. Andrews finished with 6 1/2 points.

“This morning St. Andrews came out one point ahead. This afternoon, Carnoustie came out and played well,” St. Andrews team captain Craig Bradford said. “Both teams are pretty even. The course is in excellent shape. Weather couldn’t be any better.”

“Ditto,” said Carnoustie team captain Jerry Beauchamp.

In the morning’s best ball matches, St. Andrews had 4 points and Carnoustie had 3 points. But in the alternate shot matches, Carnoustie won four the first five matches to end up with 4 1/2 points while St. Andrews managed 2 1/2 points.

Two teams from both St. Andrews and Carnoustie won two matches.

Stephen Hollingsworth and Bill Byrne of Team Carnoustie defeated assistant captain Gary Farmer and Jordan Farmer of Team St. Andrews in both the best ball and alternate shot matches. In the alternate shot match between the two teams Hollingsworth and Byrne rallied by winning four holes in a row — 14, 15, 16 and 17 — after leaving the 13th hole 2-down.

“We knew it was going to be a touch exchange because they are both good golfers,” Hollingsworth said. “They were making a lot of birdies early and we were being outplayed. We were just trying to make some conservative pars. They were playing so well, we had to make birdies. We were 2-down at the 14 tee box.”

And it was on that hole where the comeback began as Byrne and Hollingsworth took No. 14 with a birdie to be just 1-down. They birdied the next hole to tie match. Even though they didn’t birdie the par-3 16th hole, they still won that hole to go 1-up. Then they capped off the rally with a birdie on No. 17 to go 2-up and win the match.

“I hit the tee shots and Bill got his iron game going. That made it easy for me,” Hollingsworth said.

When asked if thought that he and Byrne would win both matches against the Farmers, Hollingsworth said, “No. We didn’t really look at it that way. We knew we would have to play our best and it worked out in our favor.”

Tom Matthews and Hayden Kaiser of Team St. Andrews won both its matches against Lee Jones and Chad Huber of Team Carnoustie

“Nobody played the way they’re capable of playing,” Matthews said. “But with the format the way it is, it’s hard. We win a hole, they win a hole. We win a hole, they win a hole. We played real good as a team. We made putts when we had to. But we got two points today for St. Andrews. Bar none, this is the best event we have every year.”

Lloyd Trisler and Jason Rooks of Team Carnoustie swept both of their matches with Bubby Kaiser and Chuck Fields of Team St. Andrews while Beltzhoover and Ulmer did the same to Stallone and Feltus.

With the 2011 Beau Pré Cup still either team’s to win, today’s individual matches get under way at noon.