Thanks to some sensational clutch play from Floyd’s Tyler Williams, the Blue Ridge Junior Golf team came away with the victory over the Sneds Tour team Saturday afternoon at the Wytheville Golf Club in the annual “2-Tour Challenge.
It was the third year the two junior golf tours had met for the event with the Sneds Tour victorious in the previous meetings.
Nine points were at stake in the match play competition that featured a “4-ball” or “better ball” format of play on the opening nine holes and singles matches on the closing nine holes. In “4 ball” or “better ball,” each player is paired with a partner. The two play their own ball throughout the hole but count the score that is lowest.
During the singles matches, each player competed against a player from the opposing side. Each team had six players. The teams vied for three points during the “4-ball” matches and six points during the singles matches. Because the Sneds team had won the previous year, the Blue Ridge side would need to secure five points to win the contest.
In dramatic fashion, the Blue Ridge Junior Golf Tour side got to five points by virtue of Tyler Williams from Floyd finishing in a flurry to even his match and secure ½ point. Here is how the day set up for his heroics.
Match 1 went to Blue Ridge as Trey Sparks of Tazewell and Sean Ruan of Blacksburg defeated Dougie Fezell and Alex Broyles of Greeneville, Tenn.
Match 2 was close throughout the entire nine holes. With the score even, Blue Ridge’s Tyler Sayers of Marion was able to sneak in a birdie putt from five feet on Hole 8 to help Williams and him. Williams gain a one up advantage over Seth Robinette of Kingsport, Tenn., and Carson Peters of Elizabethton, Tenn. When both sides made bogey on the 9th hole, the Blue Ridge side had a 1-up victory and earned another point making the score 2-0.
Match 3 was also a thriller. The Blue Ridge pair of Logan Douthat of Pearisburg and Tanner Walls of Matheny, W.Va., held a slim one-up lead through 7 holes over Zac Fletcher of Kingsport, Tenn., and McKibben Teal of Johnson City, Tenn.
Fletcher and Teal hit approach shots within 5 feet of the hole and looked to take advantage and even the match. However, it was Douthat who came through by draining an 18′ birdie putt. When the Sneds pair failed to convert, the Blue Ridge side had another 2 and 1 victory and a 3-0 lead after the first nine holes.
But the team contest was far from settled. In the singles matches, the Sneds took control. Fletcher got the best of Sparks 3 and 2.
Ruan was able to get Blue Ridge back on the board with another full point with a 2 and 1 victory over Fezell. The Sneds Tour kept the pressure on by getting a win in match 6 as Robinette defeated Walls 3 and 2.
Sayers countered for Blue Ridge team, earning ½ point as he tied Broyles. Peters was able to get by Douthat 2 and 1 making the score 4 ½ for Blue Ridge and 3 ½ for the Sneds team.
The entire day came down to the final match.
Teal led Williams by three with three holes to play meaning Williams would need to beat Teal on each of the remaining holes for Blue Ridge to secure the necessary ½ point to be victorious. Williams was up to the challenge. .
His approach on the par 4 16th hole came to rest 8 feet from the hole, and he sank the putt. An aggressive drive off of the 17th tee put him greenside. A chip to 5 feet was conceded by Teal after he failed to make par.
Williams needed to win just one more hole. It looked doubtful when his tee shot went errantly right amid a group of tall pine trees. But he showed some creativity and hit a low runner, not the traditional high arcing shot. The low shot traveled about 100 yards, bounding through the undergrowth of the pines, narrowly escaping the greenside bunker, climbing the grassy slope of the green and nestling some 6 feet to the flagstick.
Williams didn’t take much time over the putt knowing that it was crucial to the outcome. He struck it well and it fell right into the center of the hole giving the Blue Ridge side the 5-4 victory.
Williams had not only rallied from 3 down with 3 holes to play, but he had made birdie on all three holes.