The East side blew past the West team by a 31½-13½ score to win the second edition of the East-West Matches on Sunday at Maridoe Golf Club in Carrollton, Texas.
Started in 2020, the biennial event features a three-day Ryder Cup-style format between the best American amateurs on either side of the Mississippi River. Each squad includes 18 players: six seniors, at least 10 mid-amateurs, and up to two amateurs who have not yet reached age 25. A points system is utilized to select 50 percent of each team, with the other half chosen by the tournament committee.
In the inaugural matches, also held at Maridoe, the West stormed back from a late deficit to win, 23-22. There would be no such drama this time around. The East built a 17½-9½ lead through two days on the strength of a great afternoon foursomes session on Saturday before capturing the Sunday singles session by a 14-4 score to conclude the impressive performance.
“We had a blast,” said East captain Nathaniel Crosby, the 1981 U.S. Amateur champion, who won two Walker Cups as the U.S. captain. “It’s a lot of camaraderie out here, and the greatest thing is that it brings three different categories of ages together. So generational friendships are being developed. Win, lose or draw, everybody had a blast, and you saw a lot of great golf.”
Nobody was having a better time than mid-ams Jeronimo Esteve of Windermere, Florida, and Evan Beck of Virginia Beach, Virginia, as both players produced four points in the victorious effort. Esteve defeated Skip Berkmeyer in singles, and Beck beat Jason Anthony.
“I actually started out a little shaky,” Esteve said of his singles match. “I hadn’t made many bogeys this week, but I bogeyed three of the first four holes. And then things started going my way. I made four birdies in a short run that got me up. It was a tough loss last time, and I’m glad we got it done this year.”
The East got off to a momentary sluggish start in singles before the floodgates opened. Kevin Marsh’s West team, which had kept things close until Saturday afternoon, couldn’t keep up with the East side.
“They just played great,” said captain Marsh, the 2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur winner. “We got off to a good start in our first couple of matches, and things got sideways toward the end of the front nine. Guys were apologizing to me, but it’s sports. Somebody wins and somebody loses.”
In addition to Esteve and Beck, the winning East team included college freshmen Caleb Surratt and Nick Dunlap; mid-ams Joe Deraney, Mark Costanza, Chad Wilfong, Chip Brooke, Scott Harvey, Tug Maude, Andrew Bailey and Matt Mattare; and seniors Rusty Strawn, Doug Hanzel, Matt Sughrue, Steve Harwell, Billy Mitchell and Bob Royak. Each player received a silver commemorative belt buckle.
Harvey, the former U.S. Mid-Am winner, is the founder and organizer of the event. It’s another example of Maridoe putting a great deal of attention into amateur golf. Owner Albert Huddleston has said many times that amateur golf is crucial to the club’s identity.
“Albert’s becoming a unicorn,” Marsh said. “There are not that many people who get behind amateur golf like he does. You need a guy like that who owns the facility and is the boss out here and says, ‘This is what we are going to do.’ We are really lucky to have that relationship. He is such a genuine person.”
The 2024 event will also be held at Maridoe. Dates have not yet been announced.