Aug. 6—SHARON — The inaugural Valley Cup didn't see a proper finish. The new PGA Junior League event started strong, but it eventually ended with everyone looking for cover from the rain.
The Valley Cup is a new competition between junior golfers from Buhl Park Golf Course and Mill Creek Golf Course in Boardman, Ohio. However, this year's contested ended in a tie on Friday evening.
The goal is to play a scramble-style, nine-hole tournament each year, with the trophy staying with the winning course. Each team fielded eight golfers, who were then broken into pairs. Both teams had one pair of golfers in a four-player group.
All golfers made it through six holes. But the rain began to lightly fall before turning to a downpour just minutes later. The coaches for both teams considered waiting out the storm, but the lightning in the distance forced play to be canceled.
"To get both teams here at full strength, we would have liked to see it through. But no one officially got to the required 6 1/2 points," said Robert Curry, Buhl Park's PGA member and juniors head coach. "The match was literally at a dead-even point with two holes to play."
Next year, The Valley Cup will be played at Mill Creek Golf Course. In 2024, the event will return to Buhl Park. Curry decided to let Mill Creek hold onto the trophy until next year's competition.
The Valley Cup was the byproduct of conversations between Curry and Mill Creek PGA Director Brian Tolnar. The two discussed forming a competition between the two public courses in the spring.
Mill Creek and Bulh Park compete in different leagues in the PGA Junior League, so the competition is considered an exhibition. But Curry said it's an exciting way to close out the season.
Ryan Turnbull, Mill Creek's assistant golf professional, was glad the golfers got a chance to play before the rain started. He said the "team" format allows the golfers to form relationships with others in the sport.
"They build friends out of the PGA Junior League," Turnbull said. "This is a great opportunity for all kids looking to get into golf to join the PGA Junior League that's local to them. Get out there and play and just have fun."
As Friday's play ended, some of the players were already talking to Curry about next season. Turnbull and Curry think the result in the inaugural Valley Cup could lead to a better rivalry next year.
"I know here at Buhl Park, we respectfully .... I told them championship week to refer to Mill Creek as 'The Team Out West.' We didn't use their name. It was kinda like an Ohio State-Michigan rivalry.
"Historically, Mill Creek has been one of the better teams in the northeast Ohio league, so we knew we had to play our best today to be competitive. As a whole, I thought we did really well until Mother Nature interfered. But I know the kids are already excited to get to Mill Creek and take care of unfinished business."