Mike Podolak and RickKuhn have gone head-to-head over many a golf course over the years. This weekend, though, it will be a side-by-side configuration for the North America Cup competition at Hawktree Golf Course.
Today and Sunday eight top North Dakota golfers take on eight of their Manitoba counterparts in an international showdown at Hawktree. The opening ceremony is scheduled for 8 a.m. Sunday’s action begins at 9 a.m.
“It’s just like the Ryder Cup format with one point if you win a match and half a point if you tie,” said Steve Bain, executive director of the North Dakota Golf Association. “It could be 8-0 on Saturday and Sunday there will be eight more points.”
Manitoba and North Dakota field eight-man teams.
The North Dakota team includes three Bismarck golfers – Rick Kuhn,Mike Huber and Parker Dire. Kuhn was the 2007 NDGAgolfer of the year.
This morning four foursomes will play four best ball matches with four points at stake. The afternoon event consists of four alternating-shot matches with four more points up for grabs.
Sunday’s schedule calls for eight singles matches, each worth a point.
North Dakota’s team, which also includes Podolak, Greg Melhus,Clint Nelson,Jeff Lamp and Chad Skarperud, was selected on the basis of a point formula applied to the 2007 NDGAtournaments.
“They have different criteria (for team selection) up there than we do,”Bain said. “… Ours is based on a point system in (NDGA)tournaments we sponsor in North Dakota.
“We probably have 150 golfers with points and whoever comes out on top is on the team. TomHoge from Fargo is one of the top collegiate golfers and he was invited but because of a schedule conflict he couldn’t participate.”
Bain said one name jumped off the Manitoba roster. “Irecognized Garth Collings…. He’s one of the top golfers in Manitoba,” he said.
Several of the North Dakota golfers have previously played together in a team format.
“Rick Kuhn has played on at least one team and Mike Podolak has been the captain four or five years,”Bain said. “Melhus and Nelson have played on the team before.”
North America Cup play occurs in even years. In odd years the NDGAsends a three-man team to the USGA state team event. Podolak, Nelson and Melhus are all three-time veterans of the USGAteam event.
Bain said making a team of golfers who are normally opponents makes for a positive situation.
“These guys all compete against each other all year long and for one tournament they get together as teammates and it’s a different atmosphere,” Bain said. “… You’ve got the same pride associated with it that you do on the national level with the Ryder Cup. The guys really go after it.It‘s a lot of fun, and we have a good weekend.”
This is the 12th North American Cup matchup, the first in Bismarck. North Dakota has won six of the first 11 with one draw, but Manitoba has won two of the last three matches.
Manitoba:GarthCollings, Winnipeg; Jesse Skelton,St. Francois Xavier; Scott Markham,WInnipeg; Brad Kirton,Winnipeg; Peter More, Winnipeg; Tyler Mancini, Winnipeg; Stewart Bannatyne, Winnipeg; Scott Borsa,Selkirk; DonCook (non-playing captain), Winnipeg.
NorthDakota:RickKuhn (captain),Bismarck, Mike Podolak,Oxbow; Mike Huber, Bismarck; Greg Melhus, Oxbow; Parker Dire, Bismarck; Clint Nelson, Fargo; Jeff Lamp, Fargo;Chad Skarperud, Fargo