The Estabrooks Cup was hosted by the Gowan Brae Golf & Country Club in Bathurst this year. The Estabrooks cup, named for John Estabrooks, a past president of Golf NB and is a team format that people get invited to based on their season-long play at various tournaments on the Golf NB Player of the Year schedule. Each team is made up of 8 female players, 8 Senior Men and 2 Amateur Men. There are 36 points up for grabs with each match being worth 1 point. The South would need 18 points to retain the cup and the North would need 18.5 points to win the cup. It all started with a reception, introduction of the teams representing North and South and then the live pairings for the first two rounds, a Four -Ball (Best Ball) format of play in the morning and a Pinehurst Format in the afternoon. Playing Captains for the two teams were Kathy Grebenc from the home course, Gowan Brae Golf & Country Club and Sonny Phillips who was representing the Fredericton Golf Club and at the helm of the South Team was Sandy Comeau from Country Meadows Golf Club and Mark Armstrong who hails from the Riverside Country Club. There is nothing better than being in a room with 36 golfers listening to them all telling golf stories and hearing the laughter in the room. Once the pairings were chosen for the first two contests, the fun trash-talk started! The South has won the past 3 years of the North/South rivalry, so the North was looking to win the Estabrooks Cup this year on home territory and that is just what they did.
The morning came with a red sky in the morning so we knew some unwelcomed weather might arrive at the course a little later. Before all the groups had teed of, the rain started coming down intermittently throughout the day, with it getting a little heavier at the end of the day. The first round was a Four Ball Format also known as a best-ball, and the South team was first on the board with Match #2 going to the 14th hole with a 5 & 4 win by partners Pam Cossey from Rockwood Park and Tracy Gallant from the Riverside Country Club over the North team of Sharon Case from the Miramichi Golf Club and Fredericton Golf Club’s Maureen O’Donnell. The Cossey/Gallant team were only up by one after the front nine but won 4 of the next 5 holes to close the match out. The next match in was a strong 7 & 6 win by the North headed by Captain Kathy Grebenc and veteran partner, Fredericton Golf Club’s Penny Dickeson over rookie participant Darlene Comeau who plays out of the Lakeside Golf & Country Club and Pine Needles’ own Doreen Vienneau. The rest of the matches were a bit closer as Match #1 witnessed the North team of Dan Coulombe who plays at West Hills Golf Course but grew up at Gowan Brae, and Gerry Jenkins from the Fredericton Golf Club winning 2 and 1 over the South’s veterans Louis Boudreau of the Pine Needles Golf & Country Club. The 4 players had a total of 9 birdies between them, so some great golf was being played out there! Match # 3 had North’s Paula Napke-Flanagan of the Miramichi Golf Club and Mary Walton-Rossignol from The Fredericton Golf Club win 2 up over the South team of Andrea Boucher from the Moncton Golf Club and Captain Sandy Comeau but the match was tied through 6 holes but the North won the next 3 in a row to get a large enough lead to hold on through 17 holes. Match # 4 was won by the South in a match that included 12 birdies and 3 players shooting under par and the other player only being 1-over par so great golf by all! In the South team of Tom Cameron from the Gage Golf and Curling Club and his partner Ryan Allaby from the Hampton Golf Club winning 2-up over Denis Beaulieu from Le Club de Golf Saint-Quentin and Eric Hildebrand from the Fredericton Golf Club. Match # 5 had the North get back on the board winning 1 up with Pat Garagan of the Fredericton Golf Club and Alex Doucet from the Restigouche Golf Club who were 3 up after eight holes, ended up holding on after the South team of Captain Mark Armstrong and partner Mike Hosford, a Golf NB/Golf Canada Gold Member rally back to even after 13 holes. Garagan/Doucet then birdied holes 14 and 16 but bogeyed the tough par 3 17th hole to win by 1. Match #7 was the first halved (tied) match of the day with the North team of Miramichi Golf Club member Morgan Matchett and host-club member Molly MacDermaid taking on the South team of Riverside Country Club’s Allison Chisholm and Country Meadow’s Shelley Thomas. The South jumped to a 3-up lead after just 6 holes, but the North fight back hard and actually went 1 up themselves after 12 holes but a back and forth battle from there ended up with the tie and a half point for each team. At this point in the morning matches it was at 4.5 points for the North team and 2.5 points for the South team so it was time for the south to apply some pressure and that is exactly what happened. The 8th match featured Jamie Melanson who plays out of the Fox Creek Golf Club but grew up playing Gowan Brae taking on Captain Sonny Phillips his friend Herrick Hansen from the Aroostook Valley Golf Country Club. It was a close match with lots of birdies and the South didn’t get to 2 up until the 17th hole to close the match. The final match of the four Ball format was Ed Vail of the Riverside Country Club and Bob Gray out of the Maplewood Golf Club get another win (1-up) for the South over Eric Babin from the Miramichi Golf Club and Shane Wellman who plays out of the Restigouche Golf Club. Vail and Grey were 1 down or Even throughout the match until they won the 17th hole and tied the 18th to squeak out the win. This brought to a close the morning Four-Ball portion of the Estabrooks Cup and things were all tied at 4.5 points for each team.
After a nice lunch, the players were ready to attack the course with a new partner, some mixed matches and a new Pinehurst Format instead of the usual Foursomes (total alternate shot) format. The first match to finish was Match # 3 with a south win of 4 & 3 for Tom Cameron and Pam Cossey over Fredericton teammates Penny Dickeson and Pat Garagan. North took the next point with a win from Seniors Dan Coulomb and Kathy Grebenc when they went 4 & 2 over the young South team of Ryan Allaby and Tracy Gallant. Grebenc and Coulombe won holes 5-8 to have a 4-up lead after 9 and steady play after that gave them the win. Match # 1 gave another point to the North with Sharon Case and Garry Jenkins teaming up and took a 1-up win over Sandy Comeau and Mike Hosford. Comeau/Hosford were 2-up after 5 holes, but the North quickly fought back with wins on the next 3 holes to take the lead. From there it was a see-saw battle to the end with the victory for the North. Match # 5 saw Molly MacDermaid and Eric Hilderbrand of the North took on the South team of Darlene Comeau and Mark Shannon and after tying the first 2 holes, the North took control of the match and were 6 up after 11 holes but the South took a couple away over the next 3 but ran out of holes to lose 4 & 3. Match # 4 found quite a competition between the North’s Mary Walton -Rossignol and Denis Beaulieu and the South’s Riverside teammates Allison Chisholm and Mark Armstrong. The North stormed out to a 5-up lead after 7 holes, but Chisholm and Armstrong never gave up and clawed back to being just 1 down after 15 holes! Walton-Rossignol and Beaulieu bounced back with a birdie on the 16th hole to go 2 up after 16 and hold onto that lead. Match # 8 came in next with a 4 & 3 win for the North after Restigouche club mates Shane Wellman and Alex Doucet took on the South old friends of Bob Gray and Jean LeBlanc. The Restigouche team fired 4 birdies at the South team in the first 12 holes to take a strong hold on the match that the South couldn’t counter. Match 9 came in next with another 4 & 3 North win for the Miramichi duo of Morgan Matchett and Eric Babin over the South’s team of Shelley Thomas and Louis Boudrea. There were 3 birdies on the first 3 holes, so these golfers came out to play! After 9-holes the North was up by two and won 3 more holes by the 15th to make the South run out of holes. The 6th match went the whole 18 holes with the North team of Paula Napke-Flanagan and teammate Herrick Hansen playing against Andrea Boucher and Ed Vail from the South. Napke-Flanagan/Hansen found themselves 2-down after 2 holes but battled back to 1-up after the outward nine. A birdie on the 10th hole made it 2 up until the 13th hole where the South got 1 back and were only down 1 but the rest of the holes were tied giving the North a 1 up win. The last match of the Pinehurst format was Match #7 where after 7 straight North match wins the South team of Doreen Vienneau and Jamie Melanson won the last point after a 2 & 1 win over North’s Maureen O’Donnell and Sonny Phillips. The South team came out hot and were 5-up after 6 holes but the North kept battling back and got it to a 2-point deficit after 15 holes, a tie on 16 made the match dormie and the South made a birdie on the always tough Par 2 17th hole to close out the match. The Pinehurst format finish at 7 points for the North and 2 points for the South for an overall North lead of 13.5 to 6.5 points.
After the singles pairing being made at the Saturday night dinner, the south needed to make an early charge to make try to retain the Estabrooks Cup. The morning brought cool temperatures with strong winds making it a cold day with tough conditions. A cloud cover had kept the frost away and sunny skies prevailed later on. The first match of North’s Shane Wellman and South’s Mike Hosford was played in 2 ½ hours and they did play 18 holes even though the match finished on 15 at 4 & 3. The South got the first point of the day as Hosford had the match at 5-up with 5 to play (dormie) but Wellman won the 14th to keep the match going but the tie on the 15th hole gave the South a well-needed point. The second Match in was Match #4 with a North win by Alex Doucet of the North over Bob Gray at 5 & 4. The win gave Doucet a perfect weekend record of 3 wins and 0 losses. Match 5 came in next and North came through with another 5 & 4 win as Maureen O’Donnell beat Tracy Gallant. Gallant was only 2-down after nine, but O’Donnell put the accelerator down and won 3 of the next 5 holes for the win. The overall score was now 15.5 to 7.5 for the North. The fourth score to be reported was the # 8 match where Herrick Hansen of the North won 5 & 4 over Louis Boudreau of the South. After a 2-up lead on the front nine, Hansen won 3 more holes on the first 5 holes on the back, making Boudreau run out of holes. Coming in right after was that of the North’s Captain Sonny Phillips. North teammate and Phillips Clubmate, Pat Garagan had started Impeachment Hearings on his own captain since Phillips had not won a match yet. Phillips, fearing losing his captaincy, pulled up his socks and won his singles match against Jean LeBlanc of the South. Some people may have caved under the pressure that Phillips was under, but he rose to the occasion and won the first 4 holes and won by those 4 holes in the end. Needless to say, Phillips kept the capital C on his sweater! The North was only 1 point away from winning the cup, but the South wasn’t done just yet. Andrea Boucher won a point for the South after her win over Paula Napke-Flanagan. Boucher won hole # 6, 7 and 8 to give her a cushion to play with and closed out the match on the 16th hole. The South felt rejuvenated as the score went to 17.5 to 8.5. We are not sure who won the actual winning point for the North as some teams were still playing the whole round even after the match was won. North’s Penny Dickeson won her match over Doreen Vienneau 5 & 3 and she never really let Vienneau into the match. Near the same time the North’s Denis Beaulieu was playing Ed Vail from the South. Vail was up by 2 after 4 holes but Beaulieu fought back for even on the front and continued his strong play to also win for the North. At this point the North had won the Estabrooks Cup, they needed 18.5 points and by this point had 19.5 points (so we are not sure if Penny Dickeson or Denis Beaulieu won the actual point). The rest of the matches out on the course were told that the Estabrooks Cup had been won by the North and they could halt their matches or play in. Most came in off the course as the wind was playing havoc with the golf balls. As well as Alex Doucet winning all three of his matches, his teammates Dan Coulombe and Captain Kathy Grebenc also went a perfect 3 wins and 0 losses for the weekend. All the players had a nice hot chicken bouilli and tea biscuits and the trophy presentation made and thanks given to the host club, Gowan Brae. It was a wonderful weekend with people making new friends, lots of laughs and a little bit of golf!
After the end of all the matches the final Tally of the Estabrooks Cup 32.5 to 12.5 points.