In almost identical fashion to last year’s victory, the Amateur team won the Underwood Cup by a 16-8 margin over its Professional counterparts from the Northern Chapter of the North Florida PGA.
This is the team’s 16th Underwood Cup victory overall and its fifth consecutive one. The competition concluded Tuesday, Feb. 17, at Timuquana Country Club.
The winning margin, however, did not reflect the competitiveness of the President Cup/Ryder Cup-styled competition that features the elite players among Northeast Florida professional and amateur golfers. All but two of the 12 singles matches were extended to at least the 17th green, and 18 of the 24 matches played reached the 17th.
The final score of 16-8 was the same as last year, as was the Amateurs’ 7-5 lead after Monday’s storm-delayed foursomes competition was completed early Tuesday morning. Monday’s lead-off fourballs matches ended with the pros on top 3½ to 2½. Last February, the pros jumped to a 4-2 early lead.
Andy Purnell captained the Amateurs to victory this year and last, bettering Pablo Creek general manager and director of golf Richie Bryant both years. Underwood Cup veterans themselves, Purnell and Bryant played in the matches 14 and 19 times, respectively.
“Nothing was easy about this week,” said Purnell. “The pros fought in almost every match. We never took anything for granted.”
“We battled hard,” said Bryant. “We had a chance in singles and that hasn’t always been the case recently. We just didn’t win enough of the close matches.”
The Amateurs reeled off wins in the first five singles matches on Tuesday, which gave them 12 points, enough to retain the Cup. Devon Hopkins, who teed off in the 12th and final match of the day, secured the Cup outright with his convincing 7-and-6 victory over Timuquana director of golf Blanton Tessin.
Hopkins was the only player on either team to win all three of his matches. Matt Kleinrock (2-0-1), Jeff Golden (2-0-1) and Aaron Badz (2-0-1) were next in line with two wins and a tie. Veteran Clint Avret (2-0-1) led the professionals.
It was the Amateurs 10th win in the last 11 Underwood Cups. The Professionals’ strongest run in the Underwood Cup was in its early stages when they won the first six playings of the event that consists of six fourballs, six foursomes and 12 singles matches over three sessions.
The Amateurs now lead the competition 16-11-3.
Steve Carter, who has played in the Underwood Cup 22 times, will be the 2022 Amateur team captain. Another 22-time competitor, Tim Peterson, will lead the Professionals.
First played in 1992, all 30 Underwood Cups have been contested at Timuquana Country Club and sponsored by Underwood Jewelers, with Underwood president Clayton Bromberg serving as honorary starter and host of the post-event luncheon and awards ceremony.
The matches are conducted by the Northern Chapter of the North Florida PGA and supported by the Jacksonville Area Golf Association and Florida State Golf Association.
Other Underwood Cup partners are: Florida Pension Group, Southern Lumber and Treating Company, V. Wayne Williford, Billy Varn, Cutter & Buck & Devant/Chandler Altman, Titleist/Tina Wiswedel, FJ/Dean Kennedy, Club Car/Danny Eckles, Capital Inventory, IOA/Don Poag and Chip Holcombe Brands.