MICHIGAN HOLDS ON TO KEEP KELLY CUP

Team Michigan took an early two-point lead, 5 ½ – 3 ½, on day one of the ninth annual Thomas Kelly Memorial Cup, and held on during the individual matches on the second day to retain the Cup by a final score of 14-11.  The winning margin was provided in the last two matches, which Michigan won.  The first-day matches were nine holes of four-ball (better ball) and nine holes of foursomes (alternate shot).  The second day featured all individual matches – nine holes of Stableford and nine holes of individual match play.

“It was another fantastic event,” said winning team captain Jim Helmke from Highland, Michigan.  “Carl Abel (McGregor, Ontario) was still coordinating tournament prep duties while on the way to the hospital for a medical procedure. This is a committed group of organizers and players. Once on the course, players from both sides were applauding fine shots from teammates and opponents alike on the finishing holes of the final matches.”

The U.S. leads in the Cup series 6-3. The matches were held at Seven Lakes GC in Windsor, Ontario. The event is held in honor of USGTF golf teacher Thomas Kelly, who died suddenly on the golf course “with the fellas” in 2003.

The Michigan side of eight players was led by tour veteran and former captain Jack Black (Westland), who won 3 ½ points.  Rob Ruley (Holland, Ohio) won 3 points. Other Michigan team members were Charlie Henry (Caseville), Martin Deipert (Ypsilanti), Jack Deming (Wayland), Jeremie Lopez (Belleville), and Don Smith (Hartland).

The Ontario side was captained by Dennis Babcock, who stepped up when team captain Abel was sidelined. Pete Willems (Strathroy) led the Ontario side with 2 ½ points, and Grant Gulych (Aylmer) won all of his matches, including both individual matches on the second day for 2 points.  Gulych played spectacular 3-under-par golf on the back nine, but only winning that side 1-up over Deming. Vito Cisternino (Woodbridge) won 2 points in the individual matches with solid 1-over-par play through 16 holes.  Other Ontario team members were Dennis Babcock (Chatham), Michael Hunter (St. Thomas), Paul Kelly (Leaskdale), Jim Jenkinson (Markham), Kristian Kasemetes (Windsor), and Dave DiNicolo (Toronto).

The most points were won by Kelly Cup veteran Kelly from Ontario (no relation to Thomas Kelly), who agreed to play in the event while still undergoing therapy from a stroke he incurred this summer.  Hats from both countries were tipped to him.

Barbara Kelly, Thomas Kelly’s widow, and her family were not able to make the trip to Windsor this year but plan to be in attendance in 2013 when the Kelly Cup returns to Michigan.  In 2009, the tour awarded a $1,400 scholarship to the Kelly grandchildren for their college education. Both of the younger Kellys are honor roll students in the metro Detroit-area Romulus school system.

Thomas Kelly was a huge proponent of promoting golf skills for young people in Southeast Michigan. Barbara Kelly and her family are ardent supporters of Thomas’ goals for our young people. This organization couldn’t have a more gracious family to support our efforts.

Michael Hunter was elected team captain for Ontario in 2013, while Michigan has yet to name a captain.  For more information about the Michigan/Ontario Golf Teachers Tour, contact Charlie Henry, Michigan tour director at clh3@comcast.net, or Dennis Babcock, Ontario tour director, at ebabcock1@cogeco.ca.  Four events are being planned next summer, two in Ontario and two in Michigan, followed by the Kelly Cup in September.

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