Six teams to compete for Leader Cup

Published 8:33 am Friday, May 6, 2016


The six golf teams that Leader Publications covers in its newspapers see each other every now and then, but rarely do they get together on one day on one course.

That will all change Monday when they head to Orchard Hills Country Club to compete in the Leader Cup.

Sponsored by Leader Publications, host Buchanan, Brandywine, Niles, Cassopolis, Dowagiac and Edwardsburg will battle it out for bragging rights on the challenging 6,052-yard, 18-hole course located between Niles and Buchanan.

“We support our student-athletes and look forward to a spirited competition,” Michael Caldwell, publisher of Leader Publications said. “We are hoping our six core schools will enjoy competing against each other and this will be a tournament they look forward to playing in for years to come.”

Buchanan golf coach Amelio Rodriquez was the brainchild of the tournament.

He looked at several ideas, including having the six coaches team up with a player to compete against each other before settling on a team tournament.

“The idea of the Leader Cup actually came about last season when I wanted to host an 18-hole tournament at Orchard Hills Country Club,” Rodriguez said. “I had been trying to figure out how many teams to invite, when the idea hit me about using the six schools that Leader Publications covers for high school sports.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t act on the idea and it never happened. This year as I was looking at the golf schedule and was trying to fill it with matches, the idea once again popped into my head and I acted on it by contacting the newspaper to see if they would be interested.”

The format for the Leader Cup, which begins at 1:30 p.m. Monday, is nine holes of scramble and nine holes of alternate shot, which would give the tournament a Ryder Cup feel.

“I wanted to use the six teams that Leader Publications covers because it would be good for the newspaper to spark some friendly competition between the schools. And because some of the schools don’t get to play against one another during the season, so it was a good opportunity for that as well,” Rodriquez said. “I wanted it to be fun, something the teams would look forward to every year, without the pressure of a conference match or the state tournament.

“Just something to allow the kids to go out, play golf, meet some kids with whom they might not normally get to play golf and have a chance to take home a trophy and some bragging rights.”