The winning Ohio Team pictured from left to right above: Joe Didonato, Mike Angie, Ken Bieniek, Ron Gordish, Brian Pentek, Joe Blackburn, Dan Marinelli, Steve Blackburn Sr., Bobby Delcoco, Joe Stump, Sean Kreft, Dave Sotka, Mike Yelenic (asst. capt.), Unc, Steve Baker, John Sichko, Mark Foss, Steve Blackburn Jr (captain). Not pictured – Mark White, Tom Rittberger
The competitors from Pennsylvania came to Northeast Ohio for the 2014 Rider Cup, a 3-day state golf showdown, looking for revenge.
In 2013, the Ohio Team came from an 8-point deficit in best ball to tie the matches in singles play, winning the Cup as the defending champions. The Pennsylvania Team, made up of players from the metropolitan areas of Pittsburgh, had a chip on their shoulder this year after thinking they had the Cup locked up last year.
PA got off to a 4 point lead after the first day at Quail Hollow Devlin Course. Ohio Team Captain Steve Blackburn Jr. was not worried though. He knew the chances of a comeback would favor his team because they were playing at their home golf course next, Fowler’s Mill.
Right out of the gate, the first group of Sean Kreft and Steve Baker took big points in their matches. Then it went back and forth for awhile until the horses for Ohio took over and sealed the deal. Joey DiDonato secured the victory while there was still 2 matches left on the course.
Highlights from the weekend include Dave Sotka’s hole out for eagle on hole #2 at Fowler’s Mill; Joe Blackburn and Sean Kreft each winning the maximum six points for the Ohio Team; and Dan Marinelli winning 5 1/2 points out of the 6 in his matches.
This was the 14th year for the event, and Ohio leads Pennsylvania 9 to 5. Next years event will be held in Pittsburgh.