WOODSTOCK – Oh-so-close.
The 12-member Team P.E.I. came within half a point of regaining the Mel Murray Maritime Cup team golf championship at the Mill River Provincial Golf Course on Sunday.
Team P.E.I. had won the event three years in a row, before being dethroned by Nova Scotia last year.
This year, though, it was New Brunswick’s turn to play spoiler, winning the event with 24.5 points. P.E.I., captained by Tim Yorke of Kensington, finished with 24 points, followed by Nova Scotia with 22.5 and Newfoundland and Labrador with 13.
“It’s killing me,” Yorke remarked of the half-point shortfall.
But the veteran P.E.I. team captain was accepting of the results, and declared this year’s event, “Probably the closest Maritime Cup ever.”
After the first day of play, all four provinces were still in position to win the Maritime Cup. Nova Scotia led after Saturday’s best-ball and alternate-shot rounds with 11 points, followed by New Brunswick with nine, P.E.I. with 8.5 and Newfoundland and Labrador with 7.5.
The final standings came down to Sunday’s singles match play, and the pressure grew as the round progressed.
The tournament was played in windy conditions both days, but Yorke said players of Mel Murray Maritime Cup calibre know how to adapt to the conditions.
It was a pressure-packed final pairing as, for the fourth consecutive year, they would decide the championship.
Adding to the pressure, as the final groups near the clubhouse, is all teams head out to follow them home for the final three holes.
“Now, it doesn’t decide the Maritime Cup, but it seems like it decides the Maritime Cup,” Yorke pointed out. “There are points given away all over the event.
“It just seems like, if you win the last pairing you win the event or, if you lose the last pairing you lose the event for your team, and it doesn’t work like that.”
Being in the final pairing, the Island captain said, is a sought-after position, but it is a pressure-packed one.
“Actually, it’s more nerving than almost all the events I play in,” declared Yorke, who found himself in the third-last pairing this year.
“People really want to win this event, because you want your province to be the best province in Atlantic Canada,” said Yorke.
The provincial teams are made up of the top eight players from tournament play and four captain’s picks.
Yorke, Martin O’Brien, Cody MacKay, Adam Constable, Brodie Ward, Jason Campbell, Kris Currie and Steve Gamester nailed down Team P.E.I. positions on points. Dave Shellington, Brodie MacGregor, Kyle Fraser and Willie O’Brien were invited by the captain.