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CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids faced a bit of an uphill climb if it hoped to hold onto the Ryder Cup amateur golf trophy for an 11th-consecutive year.
But just like so many of the tournaments from the past decade-plus, the Cedar Rapidians rose to the occasion during match play, won seven of 12 matches and claimed the cup, 12.5 to 11.5, over Iowa City on Sunday at Ellis Golf Course.
“The beauty of this is we’re a bunch of thirty, forty-somethings that get to play a team sport,” Cedar Rapids Captain Steve Koepke said. “Which we don’t get very often anymore. It was a team effort today.”
Iowa City held a slim 6.5 to 5.5 lead after Saturday’s fourball and foursome events, which prompted Koepke – held out of competition as he nurses a slight back injury – to offer up some words of encouragement throughout the night before the final day.
“I sent a text last night to the guys and I basically just said, ‘Remember your good, forget the bad,’” Koepke said. “And I told them that each one of these guys on this team, all 12 of those guys, they have the skills and the ability that most people only dream they had. ‘So just go make the dream happen tomorrow,’ and they did.”
Cedar Rapids reclaimed the lead with wins in five of the first seven match play pairings. Former Mount Mercy golfer Jason Carlson avoided halving a match play point with Tim Hawkins by sinking a birdie putt on No. 18 for a 2-up victory.
“Yesterday I couldn’t get any putts to go and I got a few to go today,” Carlson said. “It made a difference. The one on 18 was obviously big for the team.”
Carlson and Cedar Rapids Washington golf coach Chris James – recently named girls’ basketball coach for the Warriors – sealed the victory for Cedar Rapids with near-simultaneous wins. James ousted Chad McCarty, 4 and 3.
“Knowing how Chad plays, I knew I had to kind of play my own game,” James said. “He hits the ball a lot further, so it was one of those things where I just had to worry about myself and just focus on what I had to do to get the job done. I played well today.”
University of Iowa men’s golf coach Tyler Stith and reigning Iowa City City Amateur champion Coby Thompson claimed two of Iowa City’s five wins.
“I thought we played well, just came up short against another really good CR team,” Iowa City captain Jason Haddy said.
CEDAR RAPIDS / IOWA CITY RYDER CUP
At Ellis Golf Course
Cedar Rapids 12.5, Iowa City 11.5
Match play results
Jon Rogers (IC) def. Brock Worly (CR), 5 and 4.
Hedlund (IC) vs Ryan Schlueter (CR) def. Shawn Hedlund (IC), 3 and 2.
Trey Skaugstad (IC) def. Matt Taylor (CR), 2 and 1.
Mason Linn (CR) def. Ross McLaughlin (IC), 9 and 7.
Dan Driscoll (CR) def. Grant Simpson (IC), 4 and 3.
Justin Pansegrau (CR) def. Aaron Strike (IC), 1-up.
Dan Dalziel (CR) def. Seth Schroeder (IC), 4 and 2.
Drew Dalziel (IC) def. Vern Boenish, 4 and 2.
Jason Carlson (CR) def. Tim Hawkins (IC), 2-up.
Coby Thompson (IC) def. Ryan Gass (CR), 3 and 2.
Tyler Stith (IC) def. Nick Miller (CR), 1-up.
Chris James (CR) def. Chad McCarty (IC), 4 and 3.
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