The second playing of the East West Matches is set to tee off this weekend (Nov. 4-6). In its infancy, the East West Matches is maybe the best amateur golf event you’ve never heard of.
The brainchild of two-time USGA champion and former Walker Cup participant Scott Harvey, the East West Matches combine some of the best amateurs, mid-ams and senior amateurs in the United States. The Ryder Cup-style event features two amateur players, six senior amateurs and 10 mid-amateur players per side.
The matches are back at Maridoe Golf Club in Carrollton, Texas, where the inaugural Cup was won in dramatic fashion by the West in 2020. In fact, the man that clinched the winning half-point for the West, Patrick Christovich, is back to help the West defend their title.
Captained by 2005 U.S. Mid-Am champion, Kevin Marsh, the West has experience under pressure on its side. Returning Skip Berkmeyer, Derek Busby, Patrick Christovich, Brad Nurski and Robert Funk, the West is armed with a crew that went 9-9-1 and was a large part of the West’s monstrous 23-22 comeback win back in 2020.
In addition, the West has two amateur players ranked inside the top 110 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings — Pepperdine’s Derek Hitchner and Arizona State’s Luke Potter are ranked Nos. 105 and 38 in WAGR, respectively. The two should give a spark of energy to their mid-am and senior-am teammates.
On the East side, there’s a sense of hunger and redemption. The East is also returning five players from their 2020 team. A murderer’s row of amateur golf talent that had a combined 2020 record of 15-4-1 but left Maridoe empty-handed.
Joe Deraney, Jeronimo Esteve, Scott Harvey, Doug Hanzel and Bob Royak look to take down the West this year and stake claim to what they came so close to having two years ago. The strength of the East team lies in both seniors and young gun amateurs.
Both Hanzel and Royak went 4-0-0 in the 2020 Matches. Now they bolster their lineup even more with the addition of Golfweek’s No. 1 ranked senior amateur Rusty Strawn. Tried and true, the colts in the East’s stable of talent are Alabama’s Nick Dunlap and Tennessee’s Caleb Surratt.
Dunlap was Golfweek’s No. 1 ranked recruit in the 2022 class and the 2021 AJGA Boys Golfer of the Year. Surratt is currently ranked No. 15 in WAGR and is the 2022 U.S. Junior Amateur runner-up.
Who’s running the stable for the East, you ask? That would be two-time Walker Cup captain Nathaniel Crosby.
The East has brought out the big guns, but will they be able to redeem themselves after such a disappointing finish in 2020?
Time will tell and if we learned anything from the inaugural East West Matches, we know that anything can happen over the course of three days at Maridoe Golf Club.
East: Andrew Bailey, Evan Beck, Chip Brooke, Mark Costanza, Joe Deraney, Jeronimo Esteve, Scott Harvey, Matt Mattare, Tug Maude, Chad Wilfong
West: Jason Anthony, Skip Berkmeyer, Denny Bull, Derek Busby, Patrick Christovich, Nick Guyer, Colby Harwell, John Hunter, Brad Nurski, John Swain
East: Doug Hanzel, Steve Harwell, Billy Mitchell, Bob Royak, Rusty Strawn, Matt Sughrue
West: Tommy Brennan, Jon Brown, Robert Funk, John McClure, Mike McCoy, Mike Rowley
East: Nick Dunlap (Alabama) & Caleb Surratt (Tennessee)
West: Derek Hitchner (Pepperdine) & Luke Potter (Arizona State)