2019 PDL XVII: THE SPIDERS RUNAWAY AT SEA ISLAND
The 17th Ponce De Leon Invitational
January 17-21, 2019
Chairman: Pat McManamy
MVP: Wes Battle
Spirit Award Winner: Jeremy Bird
Winning Team: The Spiders (Wes Battle, Isaac Morton, Neil Thomson & Clay Thomson)
Winning Captain: Wes Battle
The Wooden Spoon: Michael Palmore
The 2019 Ponce came home to Sea Island for the 5th time in its history. The Ponce has visited the Golden Isles more than any other venue and for good reason. Once again, the golf courses, staff and amenities did not disappoint. Most of the players arrived on Thursday and spent time knocking off the rust either playing a leisurely 18 holes on the Retreat course or working on their game at the Performance Center. The weather was a mild 60 degrees with little to no wind, and it was a perfect day for the guys to get their games on track. The Opening Ceremony took place at the newly built Pool House facing west with glorious views of the St. Simons Sound. Cocktail discussions often centered on a hip replacement, trips to the chiropractor and the general realization that we aren’t getting any younger. It was fitting to have guest speaker Randy Myers, the Director of Fitness for the US Ryder Cup Team and Sea Island. In addition to opening our eyes to the analytics in modern day golf fitness, Randy also told behind the scenes stories of the 2018 Ryder Cup experience in France and prior teams as well. Dinner at the Oak Room and a few drinks capped off a great opening day reunion for the 2019 Ponce.
For the first time a Sea Island Ponce ventured out to Frederica for Round 1. Again, the weather was perfect with highs approaching 70 degrees and very little wind. Chairman’s note early on was that Clay came to play in this year’s event. He was paired with Battle who once again proved to have superhuman strength after a brave first night celebration. The Spiders pulled ahead early and capped off Round 1 with 4 points. After enjoying Fred’s warm post round hospitality, the Ponce was off to Rainbow Island for an Oyster Roast. Situated alongside the Blackbank River, the guys enjoyed tunes, lots of bourbon and a great low country spread. Rumor has it that Ian Thompson was spotted at Ziggy’s afterward on the way home, but no one can say for sure.
Round 3 began in familiar territory at the Seaside Course. Once again the weather cooperated with highs in the 60’s and very little wind. This year the Ponce introduced a Stableford format, and the Spiders pounced. Extending their lead by 6 points heading into Sunday, the 2019 Ponce was the Spiders to lose. Although Black Sunday Rising and SPF 70 appeared to be losing the golf, they were clearly out to win the party. The Ponce somehow made its way to a St. Simons classic, Bennie’s Red Barn. The record is unclear as to what exactly took place, but everyone was in a good mood on their way back to the Lodge to cap off another great day Poncing.
The golf gods clearly thought we were having it too easy. On Sunday we awoke to an unexpected cold front which brought dropping temperatures and sustained winds approaching 50 miles per hour. The back 9 of Seaside saw gusts our caddies had never seen before. Our backswings shortened, our putts went backwards and balls were oscillating on their tees. Toast shocked the world with a convincing win early on, but once again it was all Spiders. After completing our rounds, the locker room never felt so good. It was NFL Conference Championship Sunday followed by a southern feast that completed yet another epic event and good clean fellowship.
The 2019 Ponce de Leon Golf Invitational is complete, long live the Ponce!
Patrick McManamy, 2019 Chairman
The Spiders (Champions) – 17 pts.
Wes Battle (CAPT/MVP)
SPF 70 (2nd) – 11 pts.
Yackal’s Jackals (3rd) – 10 pts.
Jeremy Bird (Spirit)
Black Sunday Rising (4th) – 9 pts.
Patrick McManamy (Chair)