On the hottest day of the year so far the Irish team turned in a memorable performance to retain the Kings Cup against the USA at Lough Erne Golf Resort.
Leading by 30 points going into the 16 singles matches Ireland squeezed over the finish line by a mere eight points as the USA put on a comeback performance.
The Ryder Cup style tournament which honours golf’s greatest ambassador, Mr Arnold Palmer, featured 16-man teams of club golfers from both Ireland and the USA that went head-to-head over the Sir Nick Faldo designed course in Co. Fermanagh.
Under King’s Cup rules, players receive two points for a hole won, one point each for a hole halved and nothing for a lost hole with Ireland having the better of things on the opening day, finishing a series of fourball and greensomes matches with 303 points to the USA’s 273 points.
With the singles left to play, Ireland needed to break the 576 point marker to retain the title but found the USA side in no mood to roll over as they put on a comeback show winning nine of the 16 singles ties but Ireland’s overnight buffer and a superb individual effort from Irvinestown’s Martin Peters (Donegal GC), who beat Joseph Costello (Tijares Creek) 27-9, saw Ireland home.
“Even though it’s friendly competition, there is still a lot of pride involved as you are representing your country and playing for your team mates so I was focused on doing well today,” said the 37-year-old Irvinestown based Peters.
“I got ahead around the sixth and from there on I stayed in control. In match play you have to try and keep the pressure on. Keep getting up on the tee first and finding the fairway.”
Ireland’s other singles winners were Declan McKeever (Donegal GC), Tom Muldoon (Cloverhill), Colm Feeney (Galway Bay GC), John Collins (Westport GC) and Darren Carey (Dunmurry Springs GC) with Niall Clince (Craddockstown) claiming a half.
International King’s Cup founder, Larry Lunsford was disappointed to lose for a second time but bouyed by a strong fightback, “All I can say is that I am proud of the team for making such a huge comeback on the last day. It was remarkable, better than anything I have ever seen,” he said.
“You know, when we made the turn the teams were level on the day so to make up 22 points over the closing nine holes was a great effort.”
The International King’s Cup
At Lough Erne Resort
Paul Sweeney (Dunmurry Springs GC) 12 Jacob Pavlk (Baypoints GCC) 24
Darren Carey (Dunmurry Springs GC) 20 David Adams (Castlewoods GC) 15
Declan McKeever (Donegal GC) 21 Dennis Bassham (Auburn GC) 15
Darren McKeever (Donegal GC) 16 Patrick Olsen (Auburn GC) 20
Tom Muldoon (Cloverhill) 22 Mike Farber (Golf Club of Georgia) 14
Kevin Commins (Ardee) 17 Marvin Warner (Atlanta CC) 19
Martin Peters (Donegal GC) 27 Joseph Costello (Tijares Creek CC) 9
Vincent Owens (Omagh GC) 12 Matt McDevitt (Tijares Creek CC) 24
Alan Moran (Tuam GC) 14 Carl Ellis (Pinery CC) 22
Colm Feeney (Galway Bay GC) 20 Andy Titterton (Pinery CC) 16
Niall Clince (Craddockstown GC) 18 Bill Orne (The Legends GC) 18
Kieran O’Brien (Craddockstown GC) 16 Michael White (New Berlin Hills) 20
John Collins (Westport GC) 19 Michael DiFrancesco (Sandridge GC) 17
Liam Friel (Westport GC) 12 Gary Morris (Sandridge GC) 24
James McAllister (Ballybofey & Stranorlar) 15 Andy Kieffer (Hawthorne Woods) 21
Patsy O’Donnell (Ballybofey & Stranorlar) 16 Phil Smith (Schaumburg GC) 20
Fourballs: Ireland 148 USA 140
Greensomes: Ireland 155 USA 133
Singles: Ireland 277 USA 299