Golf: Wedgewood tops Inwood in inaugural Joliet Park District Crosstown Classic
By Tommy Stokke Special to Sun-Times Media August 1, 2012 8:16PM
Brian Legan (from left), Kyle Bullock, Matt McGuire and Ryan Herter shake hands Wednesday after completing the Joliet Park District Crosstown Classic. | Tommy Stokke~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 3, 2012 1:24PM
Inwood Golf Course is a 10-minute drive away from Wedgewood Golf Course.
On Wednesday, it was time to see how many strokes divided the two.
Wedgewood captured the inaugural Joliet Park District Crosstown Classic 9½-6½ over Inwood in a match-play-style tournament that saw employees at each course square off.
The idea came about when Wedgewood employee Rick “Rocket” Heye and Inwood employee Roy Griparis came together with the idea of a Ryder Cup-style competitive, yet fun, tournament between the two staffs. Once the idea was approved, they started drafting teams, creating pairings and “went for it,” according to Inwood general manager Brian Legan.
Heye and Griparis were the perfect match to start the event.
“They’re in tune with the heart of the staff. They know everyone on each staff. They always come to work with a smile on their face, and they’re always upbeat,” Legan said. “They’re the perfect captains. My hat is off to them. They did a great job.”
With Inwood being the home team, Wedgewood picked the format. Employees were split into teams of two, competing in nine holes of best ball and nine holes of modified alternate shot. Inwood’s Ashlee Catalani and Caroline Butler, along with Dan Lauer and Earl Hettman, won both matches, while Griparis and Trevor Brodeur stole one.
Wedgewood dominated the rest of the event. Al Aherns and Ron Smith, Ryan Norberg and Whitey Hayes, Roy Horvat and Richard Yudzentis, Paul Gawel and Tom Oberts, and Heye and John Michalik all were winners. In the final pairing, Wedgewood’s Ryan Herter and assistant pro Kyle Bullock defeated Legan and Matt McGuire 2 and 1 and 1-up.
“They take their golf pretty serious out there at Wedgewood. They’re the host facility for the Joliet Amateur and final day of the Park District Tournament, so they know a little bit more about tournament golf,” Legan said. “This should give us the motivation to go in there next year and win it on their home turf.
“We might have to put a couple of our guys in some of our men’s nights and focus in on their fundamentals to get them up to speed.”
Legan knows what’s in store until next year.
“Everybody gets along and works with the same camaraderie at each course,” he said. “This will be talked about among the customers, and I’m sure we’ll have to hear about it for a while from Wedgewood now, but that’s OK. You just have to be a good loser.”
A friendly competition may describe the event best, as Heye raised the cup with one arm around Griparis.
For Bullock, just because it was friendly didn’t mean there was a lack of competition.
“I think they we’re flowing on the drive here,” he said of his competitive juices. “They’re a rival, but at the same time it’s friendly. But it’s like anything competitive — you want to win.”
Although the team trophy wasn’t decided on the final hole, bragging rights between the final group was.
“It came all the way down to 18, which is nice to have, and we were able to pull it out on them,” said Bullock, who made the clinching putt. “They had their fair share of good golfers. Today, Wedgewood had the better golfers, but that won’t always be the case. If we’ve got the Cup, we’ve got to be favored next year.”