On Sunday 14th and Monday 15th October 2018, the inaugural Watson Cup Matches were played between the East Lothian Junior Golf League and the South Carolina Junior Golf Association.
The weather, just days after Hurricane “Michael,” was fantastic, in the 90s and humid. The Atlantic Ocean breezes helped to keep Players cool. Gallons of sunscreen were available for our fair-skinned and ginger-haired Players!
Tom Watson had agreed that his name could be used for a beautiful trophy sourced specifically for the Match. Tom attended the second day at Cassique, a course he designed, which has some features from Open Championship venues! Tom met and watched all 16 players during the 8 x singles matches.
The format was – 4 x four-ball better-ball matches at the Ocean Course at Kiawah, using scoring of 1 point for the front 9, one for the back 9 and 1 point for the match. So there were 12 points available in the 4 matches.
Andrew Scott was 3 under par on the front 9 with his own ball as he partnered Cameron Spencer in their match. Cameron then holed some crucial putts on the back 9 to enable their side to gain a halved match. Jack Rogan, with the consistent David Rudd as his partner, had 4 successive birdies on the back 9, to gain our only four-ball win.
Results – East Lothian names first.
Jack Rogan and David Rudd beat Pake June and Gene Zeigler – 2.5/0.5
Andrew Scott and Cameron Spencer halved with Rye Tifft and Nick Velasquez – 1.5/1.5
Cammy Gallagher and Aaron Hall lost to Daniel Brasington and Jonathan Brennan – 0.5/2.5
Connor Wilson and Jamie Duguid lost to Zander Briggs/Logan Hawkins – 0.5/2.5
Four-ball Result ELJGL 5 – SCJGA 7
On Monday, the 8 x singles matches were played at Cassique Golf Club. The scoring system was the same as the four-balls. Our star performer was David Rudd in the top match as he was 6 under par after 15 holes. He was watched by Tom Watson as he holed a 140 yard pitch shot, and watched again by Tom a few holes later as he chipped in for the match. Connor Wilson played brilliantly to be 7 up at the turn, but although he lost the back 9, he held on to win, but only by 3&2. Cammy Gallagher and Aaron Hall also played well for good wins. Cameron Spencer suffered a prolonged nosebleed on the 6th hole and in keeping with the true spirit of the game of golf, a sporting gesture by the SCJGA officials and his opponent Nicholas Velasquez was made, to let following matches through before Cameron bravely played on, but he lost in the end. Jamie Duguid and Andrew Scott were up against some great scoring by their opponents and were defeated, but the ELJGL Captain, Jack Rogan, was only narrowly beaten by an incredible “up and down” on the last hole by his opponent.
ELJGL names first.
David Rudd beat Daniel Brasington 3-0,
Jamie Duguid lost to Pake June 0-3,
Andrew Scott lost to Gene Zeigler 0-3,
Cameron Spencer lost to Nicholas Velasquez 0-3,
Aaron Hall beat Logan Hawkins 2.5-0.5,
Cameron Gallagher beat Rye Tifft 3-0,
Jack Rogan lost to Zander Briggs 1-2,
Connor Wilson beat Jonathan Brennan 2-1
Singles Results Total ELJGL 11.5 – SCJGA 12.5
Four-ball Results Total – ELJGL 5 -SCJGA 7
Overall Result – ELJGL 16.5 – SCJGA 19.5.
Well done to the South Carolina Team!
Our Team should not be too despondent after their narrow defeat away from home. The overall result turned on just a few shots. The real winners at these matches were the “Spirit of the Game,” the bonding of our Players and Coaches, and the friendships formed between both Teams and Officials. Scotland and South Carolina have long been associated throughout history, and long may it continue. The Scottish flag flew at both venues, alongside the Stars and Stripes, and the South Carolina State flag.
In July 2020, we look forward to welcoming the SCJGA Team and Officials to Scotland. Our League will combine with the Edinburgh Junior Golf League to try to win the trophy over two superb venues at Royal Burgess and Muirfield.
The website at watsoncup.com has some beautiful photographs of the venues and of our handsome young Players! I exclude the coaches here! After the matches, there was a presentation ceremony at which Tom presented the trophy to the winning South Carolina Team, and then Cassique laid on a superb lunch for all.
Pat McKinney, one of the sponsors of the event, made a nice gesture when he presented Cameron Spencer with a Cassique shirt, coloured red so the blood would not show up next time he had a nosebleed.
Over lunch, I chatted to our two supporters, Derek MacGillivray and Colin Hogg, both members of Royal Burgess, who happened to be on holiday in the area with their families. They both assisted where possible during the days of the Matches. They did so well they have been co-opted (kidnapped) to be on our Watson Cup Committee for the next Matches.
So the Team have all returned home safely after a trip of a lifetime, taking in both South then North Carolina. They made friends and long term associations with many Players and other influential parties who I am sure, will readily assist them in their future golfing careers. East Lothian and Edinburgh will do our best to reciprocate, and facilitate visits from South Carolina Players and Officials to “Auld Reekie” and “Scotland’s Golf Coast.”
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