Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Area Gold Notebook; Underwood Cup Starts on Monday

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Area Gold Notebook; Underwood Cup Starts on Monday

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Smits

The Underwood Cup has been so close in recent years and the principles involved are hard-pressed to pinpoint a reason for the amateurs winning or retaining the cup in six of the last seven meetings. Some say the difference has been putting, always the most important factor in match play.

Others point to the overall experience of the amateur team, which has seven players this year who have competed in the cup matches at least four times.

Regardless of how you slice it, the amateurs hold the Underwood Cup after last year's one-point victory over the professionals. The 21st edition of the matches begin Monday at the Timuquana Country Club, with four-ball matches beginning at 8:15 a.m. and foursomes starting at 1 p.m.

The singles matches will begin at 8:15 a.m. Tuesday.

The amateurs need only a 12-12 tie to retain the cup. The professionals need 12.5 points to get it back. In four of the last six matches, the amateurs have either retained the cup with ties (twice) or won by one point.

Pro captain Tommy Aycock said his observations of the last few years bear that out.

"I think both teams have played well, and obviously it's been close," he said. "They have a knack for making a couple more putts than we do at the most opportune times."

However, amateur captain Billy Varn wonders if the matches have been so close that it's impossible to assign a specific reason and said the format and experience might be putting the amateurs over the top.

"With this course, the difference comes down to pulling off recovery shots and making a lot of 10-foot putts for par," he said.

After starting the series with a 6-0-1 lead, the professionals are in danger of the amateurs catching up. They hold a 9-8-3 overall lead.

The amateurs playing for Varn are Mike Bodney, Duke Butler IV, Nate Mosby, Steve Carter, Blake Holcomb, Nick Gilliam, Jon Bolen, Eric Graybeal, Luis Rivera, David Anthony, Bill Calfee and Andy Purnell. …

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