For the first time in six years, the Ahwatukee Cup is staying home.
The Mountain Pointe boys golf team, which is the host team for the annual tournament, nearly blew a nine-shot lead, but held on thanks to a scorecard playoff to win the 12-team, three-day event on Wednesday at the Foothills Golf Club.
The Pride and Desert Ridge, which made up nine strokes, tied at 354 with Desert Vista third at 357.
Mountain Pointe was awarded the team title when the playoff went to the toughest hole on the front nine – the 408-yard, par-4 No. 3 – and how the No. 1 group scored on it.
The Pride duo of Austin Fletcher and Johnny Campion carded a birdie in alternate ball play and the Jaguars duo parred it.
“We used Austin’s drive and I stuck my approach from 130 yards pretty close,” Campion said. “We knew it was important to get a birdie there but we didn’t know it was going to win it for us. This is a great start and hopefully it gives us confidence the rest of the way.”
The Pride staggered a bit after grabbing a nine-shot lead the first two days when Monday was played at the Foothills and Tuesday was at the Ahwatukee Country Club. Mountain Pointe had the low-scoring tandem – Fletcher and Ben Harden on Day 1 and Fletcher and Campion on Day 2 – but the whole team struggled somewhat on Wednesday.
“The whole team has to play well and that didn’t happen,” Fletcher said. “It wasn’t our greatest day that’s for sure.”
Pride coach Tony Ramseyer was going to warn the team about the stumble while also celebrating the win.
“It was a letdown, but we got lucky to hang on,” he said. “I am happy about winning, no question, but we can’t let a big lead like we had get to us. It was a mental thing. We could have finished strong but we played tight.”
With that said, Ramseyer was pretty happy to keep the cup at home after Red Mountain won it last year and Desert Vista the three years before that.
“My No. 3 team really came through and played good enough to give us what we needed,” Ramseyer said. “I just hope it isn’t the pinnacle of our season. We have some work to do and need to keep working.”
The Pride’s second team was Josh Mendoza and Harden and the No. 3 team was Alex Stoken and Elisha Cable.
The Thunder, which began the day 12 strokes back in third place, and Jaguars were hard charging all day.
Desert Vista came up short, but had good efforts by the No. 1 team of Matt Liringis and Jason Kramer and second team of Randy Ross and Brandt Jolly.
Still, a bad day on Tuesday - the team shot a 158 – cost the Thunder its fourth title in five years.
“We clearly have to be more consistent,” coach Paige Peterson said. “We were leading after the first day, but didn’t play well at the Country Club. It ended up being the difference. You are not going to be at your best every time, but your bad days can’t be that bad.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Jskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JskodaAFN.