Huntington Ryder Cup golf tournament set for July 26-27


Jeff DuPriest (fourth from left) is the director of the Huntington Invitational Ryder Cup, a tournament that pits a Red Team and a Blue Team, comprised of golfers from both Norwood Golf Course and LaFontaine Golf Club against one another. Photo by Steve Clark.

Members from Norwood Golf Course and LaFontaine Golf Club have mixed together to form two teams that will square off against one another in the Huntington Invitational Ryder Cup, set for Saturday, July 26, and Sunday, July 27.

A total of 64 golfers from Norwood and LaFontaine will compete in the invitational, with half playing for a Red Team and the other half for a Blue Team. Norwood will host play on Saturday and LaFontaine will host on Sunday, with an 8 a.m. shotgun start each day.

The invitational is modeled after the Ryder Cup, the biennial competition between a team of professional golfers from the United States and a team from Europe.

Saturday will pit teams of two against one another, with the best ball from each duo being played and full handicap in effect.

"In this game format, we have a lot of guys that are good and a lot of guys that want to be good - that's me, I'm one of those guys that wants to be good, but I'm not," jokes the invitational's director, Jeff DuPriest. "So, it's handicaps so it's equal and fair for everybody."

Sunday will feature 32 one-on-one matches, which DuPriest anticipates being a nice change of pace for golfers who typically play in scrambles.

"The camaraderie there, it's a lot different and it's a lot more fun because it's more intense," he says. "Every shot and every hole just falls on you, whereas in a scramble, you're relying on three other guys."

The invitational will conclude with a dinner and an awards banquet at LaFontaine after play wraps up on Sunday.

"At the end we figure out who the winner is and we have well over $4,500 in prize money and donations," notes DuPriest.

LaFontaine will cover the cost of the dinner, which will be prepared by Garin Stephan and his staff. Norwood will return the favor next year, says DuPriest, who sees the event fostering a sense of togetherness between members of the two participating golf courses.

"It's a feel-good thing," he says. "Everybody's doing this because it's all for the right reason.

"It needs to be done."

DuPriest also views the invitational as a substitute for the Huntington County Amateur Golf Tournament, appealing to golfers desiring a higher level of competition.

"The county amateur has dropped from a high of 140 golfers in the late 80s at Norwood, when we would have easily 40 women and well over 100 guys playing," states DuPriest, who laments the declining level of participation in the tournament and in Huntington County golf, in general.

He hopes the invitational will help turn that tide.

"A lot of the guys that are playing all have kids or grandkids that are at that age that they want to play where they're playing," DuPriest points out. "So, they see this and it's publicized and it gets bigger and bigger, it trickles down, it's a win-win situation."

DuPriest's main goal for the invitational, though, is simply that everyone has a good time.

"We're looking forward to a very positive event," he says.

Complete caption:
Jeff DuPriest (fourth from left) is the director of the Huntington Invitational Ryder Cup, a tournament that pits a Red Team and a Blue Team, comprised of golfers from both Norwood Golf Course and LaFontaine Golf Club, against one another on Saturday, July 26, at Norwood, and Sunday, July 27, at LaFontaine. Pictured are (from left) Jason Kennedy and Lee Cutting, co-owners of Norwood, Roger Hosler, captain of the Red Team, DuPriest, captain of the Blue Team, Patrick Davis, LaFontaine golf pro, and Garin Stephan, LaFontaine assistant golf pro.