At the end of the year-long competition for the 23rd Carolinas Interclub Season Champion, the team representing Pine Needles Golf Resort defeated Pine Island Country Club of Charlotte at Longleaf Golf and Family Club on Sunday.
Over 85 teams competed to get to the point both clubs were on Sunday, and Pine Needles came out on top to hoist the Ben Payne Trophy.
Rob Clarke led the charge as team captain of the Pine Needles Interclub team.
“This whole season has been amazing, we have a great group of guys that really want to win as a team,” Clarke said. “Today was just crazy, a lot of us played amazing golf and it feels great to be the CGA Interclub Champions, especially the way we did it as a team.”
With scoring conditions that would allow for birdies, the Pine Needles team took advantage making 17 birdies on the day to win by a total score of 49.5-30.5 on the 6,400-yard course.
To start the day, Pine Needles teammates Harrold Farrell and Vincent Wade lost their opening hole. The teammates were able to settle down and win three of the next four holes. They were able to hang on to that lead to win 12 points for the team.
The second match started much different as Pine Needles took an early lead with a birdie on their first hole by Rob Carpenter. Carpenter and his teammate Brad Diemart won the first three holes. Pine Island was able to bounce back and tie the match after nine. After winning their 10th and 11th hole, Carpenter and Diemart were able to cruise to a seven-point victory.
The third match out saw a back-and-forth day between Jason Benguche and Reggie Dixon of Pine Island versus Brady Rowland and Chad Knickerbocker of Pine Needles. That match ended in a tie with both teams earning 10 points.
The final match of the day between Andrew Flaskerud and William Hoffman of Pine Island and Mike Fields and Clarke was an all Pine Needles show. The team captain, Clarke, made eight natural birdies to win 14 points for the team.
Pine Needles came into the Championship Match riding high after a comeback rally on Saturday beating Pinehurst Country Club in the semifinals. Looking like they would go home on Saturday as Pinehurst won the first match and had the lead in 2 more matches coming down the stretch, the second match out flipped the tables as teammates Diemart and Carpenter won their last three holes to take back the leaderboard.
“My partner Brad and I were two down with three to go. I was able to make a big putt for par on No. 16. Brad made a clutch birdie putt on No. 17 and luckily I was able to hole one out from 45 yards on No. 18 for the win. Now we are headed into the finals and I am really looking forward to it,” Carpenter said.
After Carpenter and Diemart earned 11.5 points for the team, Pine Needles advanced by a score of 41.5-38.5
The Carolinas Interclub trophy is named for Ben Payne of Greensboro who was on site to help officiate the tournament and hand out the hardware.
“It’s great being out here and seeing the camaraderie between the teams,” Payne said. “That’s what it’s all about and we’re ready for next season.”