“Yes!” Jumping for joy, B. Morrison couldn’t believe her eyes as her husband’s ball rolled neatly into the cup. Reigning champions Ron and Beth Morrison defended their title successfully on Thanksgiving day, 2019, at Deer Run’s Champion course. The round was determined by one putt on the 18th hole.
With a 7:30 a.m. tee time, the weather was in the low 50’s and sunshine. Matt Minick, the first champion of the Minick Cup, set the rules.
“No strokes given, playing straight up. Have to put it in; if it’s on the edge, have to tap it in. If it lands in the fairway and can’t be found because of the leaves, no penalty. If it’s not on the fairway, have to take a penalty.”
Flipping the tee to determine lineup, R. Morrison was first to tee off; two drives allowed off the first tee, he only needed one. Minick teed off next. Bill Brantley, a founding player of the Cup, teed off last for the men. B. Morrison put one down the golf cart path for her first shot. Minick’s shot ended up in the leaves off the fairway, a man of his word; he took a penalty when he couldn’t find it.
Minick was on fire the first nine holes, birdieing the fourth hole with a long putt. The Morrisons couldn’t get their act together, finding themselves down five strokes at the end of the front nine.
The tide began to turn when Minick came to hole 11. “This hole gets me every time,” he said before teeing off.
“I’m playing it up the left.” B. Morrison said to her husband.
Unfortunately, teeing off into the woods, she landed beside Brantley’s yellow ball. Doglegging right around water, Minick and R. Morrison started off well, with their tee shot landing in the fairway. Minick’s second shot splashed in the water, R Morrison’s left, landing in the bunker. R. Morrison bogeyed the hole, Minick losing a stroke.
With each hole, the suspense grew. At the start of 16, Minick and Morrisons were even. Minick said, “Not for long.” And he was right, picking up a stroke when he bogeyed the hole. R. Morrison saved the Morrisons from losing more strokes with his double bogey. With the pressure on the Morrisons, the foursome headed to the seventeenth hole, where B. Morrison won it with a bogey.
Stepping onto the 18th tee box, Brantley wasn’t in the competition; Minick and Morrisons tied. No one spoke, as one by one, each player teed off. The three contenders’ tee shots landed in a row, each laying approximately 100 yards off the par-five green. B. Morrison chucked her second shot, choking under pressure, taking herself out of the competition.
R. Morrison landed 9 feet from the hole; Minick landed 11 feet back. Both had the same line on the putt. Minick, going first, missed the cup by mere feet. A hush fell as R. Morrison prepared for his shot, all the pressure on him. If he made it, the Morrisons would get to keep the Minick Cup for another year.
“Come on, Honey! You got this!”
“They’re going to start dropping in,” R. Morrison repeatedly said throughout the round. All day, his putts fell short. Pensive and uncertain, B. Morrison held her breath, praying silently.
R. Morrison’s words proved prophetic! Under intense pressure, his final put did indeed “drop-in.” By one stroke, R. Morrison won the Minick Cup.
Until next year, when the story continues.