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South Carolina Finishes Third in the 2005 Southern Senior Cup

June 9, 2005 03:21 AM

Georgia was the decisive winner of the 19th annual Southern Senior Cup team competition with a total of 69 matches won, followed by North Carolina with 56, and South Carolina with 51.  Tennessee (44), Kentucky (34),  Louisiana (33), Alabama (32), Arkansas (19) and Mississippi (10) rounded out the scoring for the coveted Gil Stacy Cup.

The competition was held for the 12th consecutive year in Columbus, GA (June 2-5) at the Cooper Creek Tennis Center, the nation's largest public clay court facility.  The ever-present heat and humidity were a challenge, but all of the Palmetto State players were able to finish their matches.

South Carolina's men had one of their best showings in several years and finished in 2nd place overall.  The SC women's team ended up in a tie
for 3rd with Tennessee.

The 35 men came in 2nd, led by the doubles team of Greg Beers (Simpsonville) and Tom Coulton (Hilton Head Island).  Beers and Coulton won three-set thrillers in the quarterfinals and semi-finals to keep the 35 team's championship hopes alive.  Their lightning-quick reflexes and aggressive play had spectators gathering from all over the park to watch.  In the finals against GA, they turned in another spectacular performance to remain undefeated for the competition.

The SC men's 45 team also had a strong 2nd place finish, as did the 75's.  The men's 65 team finished 3rd, and the 55's were 4th.  The highest finish for the women was 2nd place for the 45's.  The 55's and 65's took 3rd place honors, and the 35's and 75's finished 4th. In addition to Beers and Coulton, undefeated players from SC were Ray Easterbrook of Seabrook Is. (75 singles), Diane Fishburne of Charleston (45 singles), Judy Levering of Hilton Head Island (65 singles) and Cindy Babb (Mt. Pleasant) and Ann Hunt (Hilton Head Island) in 55 doubles.

Some of the men's highlights included:

  A courageous 3-set win in the 45 semis by Scott Nichols of Hilton Head Island over Fred Robinson of NC, the nation's 3rd ranked 50-and over

  A tense 3rd set tie-break win by Garth Thompson (Florence) over his Tennessee opponent to help advance the 35 men to the semis

The strong 3rd place finish on Sun. of the men's 65 team with Ben Varn (Inman) and Charlie Burns (Isle of Palms) winning their singles
matches, and Tom Foster (Woodruff) and Jack Sterling (Greenville) sealing the win over NC in doubles

  A convincing 6-2, 6-2 win in the men's 75 semis by Joe Roberts (Greenville) over highly-ranked Ed Adams of GA

  A beautifully played 3-setter by Brad Wyche (Greenville) in the 3rd/4th playoff against NC in the 55's, with Brad losing a heart-breaker
(6-4, 5-7, 7-6)

Highlights for the women included:

  Senior Cup newcomer, Julie Davis Sawyer (Ft. Mill), pushed the nation's top- ranked 40-and-over player, Mariana Hollman of NC, to 7-5,
7-5 in the playoff for 3rd and 4th in the 35 division

  Judy Levering and Una Demian (Hilton Head Island) came back from a difficult 3-set doubles loss in the 65 semis to pull out an equally
tough 3-setter against GA in the 3rd/4th playoff The impressive 6-0 win in the 3rd set of the 75 quarterfinal singles against KY by Delores Besley (Columbia) after splitting the first two sets, 5-7, 7-5

  The outstanding play of 45 World Champion, Diane Fishburne, in the 45 singles, and her fine doubles play in the 35's with Julie Child (Hilton Head Island)

Thank-you's go to many people: the SCTA for their generous funding of the SC team; Men's Captain, Tom Foster, for putting together such a fine men's team; Women's Captain, Roberta Case of Columbia, for overcoming the absence of four national champions from last year's team and coming through with a very competitive 2005 squad; Ann Sweeny of Columbia for keeping the hospitality suite consistently stocked with goodies and a welcoming atmosphere; Burton Case of Columbia for being the team photographer and score-keeper, plus his tireless replenishing of drinks
and snacks in the SC ice chests at the courts for three straight hot, steamy days.  And kudos to Columbia's Carol Fowles for her 17th year of
service in the prestigious position of referee for the event that has come to be known as the "Crown Jewel" of senior tennis in the STA.

Congratulations to all those players not mentioned above who represented SC so well.  Men's: (35) Robert Phillips (Florence);  (45) Jim Hinson (Columbia), Mark Rose-Innes (Greer), Al Cannon  (Spartanburg); (55) Lowell Frazier (Greenville), Hank Iannuzzi (Hilton Head Island), Bill Jagger
(Pawleys Is.); (75) Frank Meade (Hilton Head Island), who was unable to play but who stayed in Columbus to cheer on his teammates. Women's: (35) Natalie Diroma (Hilton Head Island); (45) Donna McKenna (Bluffton), Denise Agee (Hilton Head Island), Suzanne Gray (Columbia); (55) Susie Peiffer (Charleston), Betsy McColl (Columbia); (65) Phyllis Westerman (Hilton Head Island), Robi Poston (Charleston); (75) Marian Ramage (Clinton), Mary Tomkins-Walker (Seabrook Is.) and Nancy Klock (Seabrook Is.)

Well done, Team South Carolina!