Newcomer joins three-time winner as champs
WIESBADEN, Germany - A new freshman phenom joined a still-rolling former one in the DODDS-Europe golf winner’s circle Thursday at Rheinblick Golf Course.
Jordan Holifield, a Patch freshman and recent stateside transfer, successfully tracked down defending champion Everett Plocek in a stunning back-nine comeback to claim the individual boys championship.
Wiesbaden junior Jenna Eidem, meanwhile, won her third European girls title in as many prep seasons.
Holifield and Plocek came into Thursday’s second and final round locked in a 50-50 tie under the tournament’s modified Stableford scoring system. Plocek, the experienced senior, pulled two points ahead through the day’s first nine.
But the younger contender didn’t even notice his deficit. Holifield said he didn’t feel any pressure and was simply enjoying his afternoon “just playing golf.”
“I wasn’t aware of it,” Holifield said. “I knew I had to be down a couple with the way I was playing.”
Over the decisive final nine holes, the trajectory of the round became apparent. As Plocek found frequent trouble, Holifield settled in and finished off a “solid” round, beating Plocek 98 to 95.
“I started hitting some greens, making some putts,” Holifield said. “I started gaining momentum. The tide kind of switched.”
While new arrival Holifield played the game free and easy, Plocek lugged the burden of expectation around Rheinblick along with his golf bag. As a senior defending champion, Plocek had something very different in mind for his final lap around the DODDS-Europe links.
“I finished extremely poorly. Everything kind of deteriorated,” Plocek said. “It’s not the way I wanted to end my golf career at Ramstein.”
Plocek struggled to detail precisely what caused his late swoon, instead offering a more philosophical explanation.
“The game of golf happened,” Plocek said. “Things that haven’t been happening in a long time started occurring. I did everything in my power to try to stop it, it just didn’t go my way.”
The other incumbent champion had more room for error. Eidem rested on the comfortable cushion she crafted Wednesday, carrying a six-stroke lead into the final 18. But she took a maximum score on two early holes, a maddening pet peeve for Eidem, and lost a point of her lead to pursuing Ramstein sophomore Dametrah Lewis in the process.
Finishing second to Lewis on the day’s first nine holes “sparked” Eidem. For all her respect and admiration for Lewis, Eidem was appalled at the setback.
“You do not get beat,” Eidem recalled telling herself. “You are Jenna Eidem.”
Jenna Eidem recovered for a runaway victory with 79 points to Lewis’ 62.
“On the back nine I was like, ‘What is wrong with you? Come on, just work a little harder,’” Eidem said. “So I started working harder and attacking the green.”
With Rheinblick’s front nine unavailable, the competitors circuited the back nine twice each day to complete the 36-hole tournament.
Ramstein swept both team titles. Royals Lewis and Michelle Turner comprised half of the girls’ four-player field, while Plocek and third-place finisher Joshua Davis piled on points for the Ramstein boys in a 263-195 win over runner-up Kaiserslautern.