Clear Creek retains Cup

Published 9:15 am Monday, August 24, 2015

For most of the weekend, the Warren County Cup trophy sat perched on a shelf in the clubhouse at Clear Creek Golf Course. It took a 100-foot field trip outside for a celebratory picture Sunday afternoon, but other than that it wasn’t going anywhere.

Clear Creek Golf Club won seven of the last nine matches in the match play round Sunday to nip Vicksburg Country Club’s comeback bid in the bud, and won the Warren County Cup for the seventh consecutive year.

Clear Creek totaled 16 ½ points to 11 ½ for VCC in the Ryder Cup style competition, which pits all-star teams from the county’s two golf clubs against each other.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“These are all my friends. This is all one big family. We come out here and play golf, and we compete. It is special when you get all these guys out here competing and trying to win, and when you come out on top of course that’s special. It’s a great feeling,” Clear Creek member Parker Rutherford said.

Rutherford also said he was aware the public club’s winning streak will eventually come to an end. Rutherford’s father, Chris, gives junior golf lessons at the Country Club and Parker has played for both Clear Creek and the VCC in Cup matches over the years.

“What Clear Creek has that the Country Club doesn’t — right now — is youth,” Rutherford said. “Me, Nick (Mekus), Gabe (Riveros), Channing Curtis, all these young people play out at Clear Creek. The Country Club hasn’t had a junior golf program, and now there are tons more juniors there. In a handful of years, whenever these young kids grow up and start playing and competing, it’ll switch over.”

Clear Creek held a three-point lead entering the final day of competition, which consisted of 14 head-to-head matches. The Country Club team needed to win nine of those to win the Cup for the first time since 2008, and got off to a great start.

Kacy Presley and John Duett both won their matches 6-and-5 over Trey Martin and Rodney Lindsey, respectively, and Tom Kendall beat Phillip Young 4-and-3 to pull the VCC even at 9-9 after four matches.

After that, however, Clear Creek took firm control.

Justin Stokes beat Austin Golding 3-and-2 to begin a run of blowouts that allowed Clear Creek to retain the Cup. Only two of its seven victories went to the final hole, and three were finished by the 16th hole.

“We just fell apart. Home course was the difference. We’re used to playing at the Country Club and it’s a different ballgame when we come out here,” said the VCC’s Judd Mims, who lost 2-and-1 to Jim Warren.

Clear Creek’s Nick Mekus, who beat Jake Dornbusch 6-and-5, said the two teams were evenly matched but it was just his side’s day.

“We just executed a little better than they did, that’s all it was. We’ve got home course advantage, got some good breaks, putted well, that kind of stuff,” Mekus said. “I think they were all good matches. We just ended up coming out on top. Any given day it could go either way for anybody.”

Joel Greer’s 7-and-6 rout of Todd Boolos gave Clear Creek the 14 ½ points it needed to retain the Cup. Mekus and Rutherford added victories that simply padded the total, with Rutherford finishing things off in style.

With his ball resting just off the 18th green, Rutherford chipped in for birdie to beat John Boland 1-up in a matchup of the Warren County champion and Country Club champion.

“I knew with (Boland), he’d putted and chipped great all day. He’s got such a great short game. You have to assume your opponent is going to make their putt, and especially him. I felt like he was going to make his putt for par, and if I wanted my best chance to win it was to chip it in,” Rutherford said. “I picked my spot and hit it, and it was a good chip. It was probably the best shot I had all day. The only one that went right where I was looking.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

email author More by Ernest