All participants in the 2020 Ryder Cup (Sudbury version) fully acknowledge the advantage that comes with hosting the third and final day of the competition, with twice as many points on the line as players go toe to toe via individual match play.
This year, however, it simply might not matter.
Armed with the best young closely matched golf talent that this area has seen for quite some time, the Idylwylde Golf & Country Club swept all four of their first round match-ups Friday at home, with Timberwolf Golf Club and Lively Golf Club splitting their head to head encounters.
With Idylwylde sitting on top of the standings with four points, and their regional rivals trailing with one point each, another day like Friday would give the two-time defending champs a more than solid cushion heading into Sunday.
"This Idylwylde team is scary," noted Sudbury Wolves' associate coach Darryl Moxam, who teamed up with Max Kallio to record the only Lively win of the day, a 2 and 1 decision over the Timberwolf pairing of Brian McGarry and Alex Fowke.
"They're a young group of kids, they all hit it a mile, they're a great group of players and really good kids. The Idylwylde is going to be tough to beat, there's no question about it."
Making his first ever appearance in the Ryder thanks only to the fact that the pandemic has caused the postponement of his traditional outing with hockey friends at a North Bay tournament that falls on the exact same weekend, Moxam acknowledged that returning to Lively for day three does provide a glimmer of hope.
"There's no question it makes a difference," he said. "We know the bounces, we know the spots to be in, or not to be in, on Sunday. It is a big advantage, but I don't know that's it's going to matter against these young kids from the Idylwylde."
"They play a different game than I'm used to from twenty years ago."
Still, just getting a chance to compete in the event that has run for the past 27 years supplies plenty of payoff for the local golfer who still contends regularly for a spot in the championship flight of the prestigious Idylwylde Invitational.
"I wanted nothing more than to get a chance to play with these guys at Lively," said Moxam. "We're looking forward to keeping it as close as we can come Sunday, and if I can get in some of these guys' heads, there's no question I am going to do it," he added with a laugh.
While the Idylwylde youth that dots their team roster - Tristan Renaud, Ward Kyle, Josh Hayes, Jason Picco - have all garnered the local golf spotlight, at various times, in recent years, the team that is looking to three-peat rounds things off with a nicely balanced and experienced quartet.
Moving back to Sudbury two years ago to take on a role as associate golf pro at the club, Cory Vaillancourt now holds the distinction of being one of the very few golfers who has competed with all three teams which comprise this event, at various points in time.
Such is the attraction of the Ryder.
"This is the only golf tournament that you play where you can lose it for seven other players," said the 26 year-old, who partnered with Bryan Davidson in posting a four and three triumph over the Timberwolf tandem of Tom Clark and Jari Sundholm.
"Normally, at a men's open, if you shoot 85 and you're a scratch golfer, you lose it for yourself. But if you come out here today and play god awful, you blow it for seven other guys."
With so much talent at their disposal, organizers of the Idylwylde team were thankful for some very natural partnerships as they looked to decide on pairings for days one and two of the tournament.
"Josh (Hayes) and Tristan (Renaud) play together all time time, and same with (Jason) Picco and (Ward) Kyle," said Vaillancourt. "They play a very similar game, really long off the tee, and really good putters."
Club champion Matt Bortolotto and club pro David Bower have also teamed up previously, leaving Davidson and Vaillancourt to round things out. "I'm pretty consistent, can hit it straight off the tee, and Bryan hits is 350," said Vaillancourt.
"If I can step up to every tee and hit it 280, in the middle of the fairway, then Bryan can just let loose," he added, the golfers having competed in a modified alternate shot format (with all four golfers teeing off and pairs alternating from there, based on the best lie).
"It worked out well today."
Saturday will see the golfers tackle the length and tricky roughs of the Timberwolf course, closing things off Sunday at the scenic gem situated in Lively. Following are complete results from round one:Bryan Davidson/Cory Vaillancourt (Idylwylde) beat
Tom Clark/Jari Sundholm (Timbberwolf) four and three
Jesse Graham/Kyle Lekun (Timberwolf) beat
Curtis Tammi/Brian Ceasar (Lively) one up
Max Kallio/Darryl Moxam (Lively) beat
Brian McGarry/Alex Fowke (Timberwolf) two and one
David Bower/Matt Bortolotto (Idylwylde) beat
Brent Hatton/Dan Couillard (Lively) three and two
Ward Kyle/Jason Picco (Idylwylde) beat
Jay Jewett/Matt Dumontelle (Timberwolf) five and four
Josh Hayes/Tristan Renaud (Idylwylde) beat
Alex Watier/Carter Frattini (Lively) six and five