Day one of the Winn Junior Cup Challenge ended in a 10.5-point tie between Butch Harmon’s East squad and Natalie Gulbis’ West team.
Morning scramble matches saw the East take an early 5-0 lead after a 60-64 victory over nine holes. Harmon birdied the final hole to give the East momentum going into afternoon four-ball play.
With a hot start, the East jumped in front and took a controlling lead as winds began to gust 20-25 mph. East boys Cody Proveaux (Leesville, S.C.) and Shun Yat Hak were Dormie two over the West’s Brad Dalke (Dallas) and AJ McInerney (Henderson, Nev.), but key shots off the tee and solid approaches made the difference as Dalke and McInerney won the final two holes, halving the match and giving each team 2.5 points.
On the girl’s side, the West’s Alison Lee (Valencia, Calif.) and Gabriella Then (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) led 1-up going into the last hole and secured the win when Then rolled in a 6-foot putt for par, knotting things up at 7.5-all. End of day skills challenges at the Butch Harmon School of Golf gave each team a chance to return home with the lead, but the six available points were split.
Tied at 10.5 points going into Sunday’s final-round singles matches, Butch Harmon’s East team looked to defend the Winn Junior Cup Challenge title. However, it was Natalie Gulbis’ West squad who came out on top thanks to clutch putting by Brad Dalke (Dallas) to seal their fate.
The triangular singles matches saw the girls go out first with each side earning a total of two points for their team. Alison Lee (Valencia, Calif.) secured two points for the West while Shannon Aubert (Reunion, Fla.) and Karen Chung (Livingston, N.J.), each picked up one for the East.
With everything knotted up at 12.5 points, it was up to the boys to battle for the victory. Dalke added a point for the West with a 4 & 3 victory over No. 1 ranked Shun Yat Hak (Lake Mary, Fla.). Local AJ McInerney (Henderson, Nev.) added another, showing his grit on a familiar course and notching a 3 & 2 win over Hak.
With two matches remaining it was all up to Rolex Junior Player of the Year Cody Proveaux (Leesville, S.C.) to go for the tie. A par from Proveaux on the windy par-3 7th (16th hole) would have given him the first point against McInerney, however a missed putt sent both matches to No. 8. With Dalke 1-up with two to play, the 14-year-old Oklahoma verbal made his putt for birdie to best Proveaux, securing a victory for the West. McInerney came back to halve the match after being down Dormie four, leading to a final outcome of 16 to 13.