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Team Idylwylde just a whisker from two day Ryder Cup perfection
2020-07-05

Initially, the goal was victory - but with Day 2 of the local Ryder Cup nearing completion, the Idylwylde Golf & Country Club reps had perfection on their minds.

Now in search of a third straight title, Team Idylwylde came within a whisker of going eight for eight through two days of competition, as Jari Sundholm and Alex Fowke from Timberwolf managed to half their match with Cory Vaillancourt and Bryan Davidson, with action turning to a best ball battle Saturday at Timberwolf.

Added to their three remaining wins on Day 2 - Ward Kyle/Jason Picco three and two over Max Kallio/Darryl Moxam; Tristan Renaud/Josh Hayes one up over Matt Dumontelle/Jay Jewett; David Bower/Matt Bortolotto one up over Brent Hatton/Dan Couillard - the Idylwylde crew is more or less on cruise control heading into the individual showdowns Sunday in Lively.

With 7.5 points, the leaders have distanced themselves nicely from both Team Lively (3) and Team Timberwolf (1.5), and are showing no signs of tightening their grips on the clubs, in spite of their youth.

"I wouldn't say that there is any pressure at all to perform," noted Jason Picco, making his second straight appearance in the event after completing his studies in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Victoria last year.

"We all know that if we play our game and just hit one shot at a time, play one hole at a time - I know that it's cliche - but we know that if we do that, by the end of the day on Sunday, we will hopefully have the cup."

Though the pre-event favourites looked every bit the part at home on Friday, Picco and his mates were taking little for granted as the landscape shifted for the second leg. "That's another big thing with the Ryder Cup, the fact that we play different courses every day," he said.

"But going from alternate shot (on Friday) to best ball is definitely a relief. I think we all just try and get alternate shot out of the way, get our point or half point and move on."

Now 24 years of age and a very familiar face on the local junior golf circuit just a few years back, with appearances at Timberwolf in both the 2013 Canadian Junior Boys Championship and the 2014 Investors Group Ontario Junior Boys Championship, Picco now sees himself as a much different golfer, with the benefit of age.

"I would say that I am better now, just mentally," he said. "I wish that I would have been a little more stable as a junior. If I was to talk to juniors now, I would tell them to relax and just play golf - it's not really that big of a deal."

"As you get older, the mental side of the game becomes easier, you relax a little more," Picco added. "By now, you've hit all of the shots in the world."

As for his partnership with Ward Kyle, a redshirt sophomore with the Bowling Green Falcons who recorded a season best fifth place finish at the Tom Tontimonia Invitational in Westlake (Ohio) in early October, Picco suggested the tandem played best ball to perfection.

"We tried to just keep the ball in play and thankfully, at least one of us did it each hole," he said with a smile. "That's the great thing about best ball; if one guy is out, you still have your partner to back you up, and we did a great job of that today."

The comfort blanket of a partner may be gone for day three, though one senses that Team Idylwylde are feeling pretty darn comfortable rounding the turn and coming home on Sunday.

Northern Ontario AAA Hockey League