Lively Golf Club Ryder Cup veteran Brian Ceaser called it on Friday.
Unfortunately, his impressive powers of prognostication did no favours to he and his teammates this year.
“Having the last day on your home course, knowing the shots that you have to hit, being able to host the last day at home is really a big advantage,” suggested Ceaser, playing in his 15th consecutive Ryder Cup, following the completion of day one action Friday at the Timberwolf Golf Course.
Coming into the individual matches on Sunday, the race could not have been any closer, with Lively (4.5) holding a very slim edge over both Timberwolf (4) and the Idylwylde (3.5). Team Idylwylde, however, was on very familiar territory as the final day of competition teed off.
Capturing six of their eight battles, the Idylwylde Golf & Country Club ennead would defend their title, winning for the third time in the past four years, surging their way to 9.5 points, enough for a solid if not comfortable victory over Lively (8) and Timberwolf (6.5).
Joining 2018 champions Jordan Lund, Nick Quesnel, Ward Kyle, Matt Bortolotto and Bryan Davidson were Jason Picco, Josh Hayes, Cory Vaillancourt and new club pro David Bower, as the team utilized a nine-man roster in order to accommodate some busy schedules in their lineup.
A sophomore with the Bowling Green State University Falcons, Ward Kyle earned a split in the first two days of the Ryder, missing out on day three action due to the fact that he will be joining fellow Sudburians Tristan Renaud, Jacob Lacko and Evan MacLean in Collingwood this week, site of the 2019 Ontario Men's Amateur Championship.
“We had some seniors that played pretty much every event, so I only played one tournament,” noted Kyle, looking back on his 2018-2019 season in Bowling Green, Ohio. “But I'm looking good going into next year. It's a little frustrating, but this summer, it's definitely driven me to work harder. I know that I'm going to get the opportunity next year.”
Playing in the Ryder Cup for the fourth or fifth time, Kyle helped provide a little perspective on the local golf showdown that incorporates a great deal of enjoyable social interaction, within the context of a still competitive team formatted event, all while assembling a good majority of the top golfers in the city.
“You don't get a chance to play in a team environment very much, so this is nice,” he said. “The big thing I like about it is that it runs right into the Ontario Men's Amateur. I try and make sure I am ready, and then it's a little more relaxed, but competitive, which is nice.”
Contesting a modified alternate shot format match on Friday, Kyle and partner Josh Hayes, a senior at Lo-Ellen Park, dropped a tough 2 and 1 outing opposite Brent Hatton and John Palys of Lively, before teaming with David Bower to upend the Alex Watier/Max Kallio Lively tandem on Saturday.
“Today (Friday), I definitely played not very smart out there,” said Kyle. “I hit a lot of drivers when I shouldn't have, and we ended up in trouble when I could have just put one in play. If I had played it as though I was playing my own ball, it would have been better.”
Timberwolf veteran Jay Jewett is more than a little familiar with the format, competing in the local team event for the eighth time. Over and above the glut of experience on his side, Jewett was coming off a strong showing at the Ontario Mid-Amateur Championship just a week or two ago, the second best showing off his career at the event.
“It's not my best finish, but it is the closest that I have been in terms of contending for the title into the last day,” said Jewett. “The golf course that we were playing (Pointe West GC – Amherstburg) was ideal for my style of golf. It wasn't a long course, but you had to be very precise off the tee.”
“Around the greens, they had the rough cut down, and when I was chipping the ball, I felt like I was going to make every chip. I was very confident out there, comfortable all week. I actually putted poorly, didn't really make anything. I missed 13 birdie putts inside of ten feet during the week.”
Claiming the Keith Fullerton Memorial Men's Invitational in Blind River as well in June, Jewett kept right on rolling along on Friday, as he and Alex Fowke registered a 5 and 4 win over Matt Bortolotto and Bryan Davidson. “This is the first time I've ever played with Alex,” said Jewett. “I'm very impressed with his golf game.”
“He strikes the ball super solid, hits it a long way, and he's a great, great kid.”
Somehow a grizzled veteran of the Ryder at just 33 years of age, Brian Ceaser echoed the general sentiments of his Idylwylde and Timberwolf counterparts on the attraction of the tournament that keeps pulling him in, each and every year.
“It's competitive, but fun,” said Ceaser, now a father of three children under the age of six, and pretty much limiting his golf outings to local tournaments, for good reason. “Playing with guys like Brent Hatton, Max Kallio every year, it's just a lot of fun.”
Still fun, even in spite of a tough loss on Friday, as he and teammate Curtis Tammi dropped a 5 and 3 decision to Timberwolf reps Brian McGarry and Matt Lawson. “Alternate shot is tough,” said Ceaser. “You feel bad when you hit a shot and put your partner in a bad spot. There were a lot of “sorry's” out there.”
Part of championship teams in 2017 and 2014, Ceaser suggested, however, that his favourite Ryder Cup memory likely came quite early in his run with the team. “Me and my partner, Max Kallio, we were young, like 18 or 19, and we ended up playing Vince Palladino, and we won,” he said. “That was pretty cool, being that young and playing a great player like that.”
“We were probably too young and stupid to realize how good he actually was.”
And with that, another year of Ryder Cup memories are in the books, to be shared amidst raucous laughter exactly twelve months from now.
Following are complete match results from both day one and day three of the 2019 Ryder Cup (complete results from day two were never received):Day 1 - Alternate Shot
Brian McGarry/Matt Lawson (Timberwolf)
5 and 3 winners over
Curtis Tammi/Brian Ceaser (Lively)
Dan Couillard/Jamie Digby (Lively)
3 and 2 winners over
Jari Sundholm/Joey DiMaio (Timberwolf)
Nick Quesnel/Jason Picco (Idylwylde)
2 and 1 winners over
Matt Akerman/Zack Yackobeck (Timberwolf)
Brent Hatton/John Palys (Lively)
2 and 1 winners over
Josh Hayes/Ward Kyle (Idylwylde)
Max Kallio/Alex Watier (Lively)
all even/squared with
David Bower/Cory Vaillancourt (Idylwylde)
Jay Jewett/Alex Fowke (Timberwolf)
5 and 4 winners over
Matt Bortolotto/Bryan Davidson (Idylwylde)
Day 3 - Individual Matches
Bryan Davidson - 5 and 4 over Jari Sundholm
Joey DiMaio - 4 and 2 over Brian Ceaser
Zack Yackobeck - 2 and 1 over John Palys
Brent Hatton - 1 up on David Bower
Jamie Digby - 4 and 3 over Matt Lawson
Jordan Lund - 2 up on Matt Akerman
Cory Vaillancourt - 2 and 1 over Curtis Tammi
Matt Bortolotto - 7 and 6 over Brian McGarry
Alex Watier - 4 and 3 over Nick Quesnel
Dan Couillard all even/squared with Alex Fowke
Jason Picco - 4 and 3 over Jay Jewett
Josh Hayes - 6 and 5 over Max Kallio