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Lightning Strikes as GOP Hangs on to Roll Call Cup

Mulvaney hits out of the trap. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Lightning cut short the second half of Monday's First Tee Congressional Challenge, leaving the Republican side victorious for the fourth year in a row and retaining possession of the coveted Roll Call Cup.  

Headed by their captain, Rep. Ander Crenshaw of Florida and anchored by the play of fashion twin South Carolinians Trey Gowdy and Mick Mulvaney, the GOP's successful morning of match play was enough to edge their Democratic opponents, 8-4.  

"It's one of the highlights of the year," Crenshaw said. "It's always good to keep the trophy." The Democrats did not go down without a fight, led by their captain John Yarmuth's pair of victories over Reps. Patrick Meehan of Pennsylvania and Rick Allen of Georgia.  

"We either have to do a better job of electing golfers or recruiting players," Yarmuth said of the Democratic team. "We all enjoy the day; we all enjoy the relationships."  

With 23 House members hitting the links at the Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Md., the game was a chance for congressmen to socialize and compete away from the formalities of Capitol Hill.  

Gowdy, left, tosses a ball to DeSantis. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Gowdy, left, tosses a ball to DeSantis. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Mike Doyle puffed a cigar, Mulvaney wore a checkered fedora, and Gowdy sported a purple outfit from head to toe that deviated from the standard red and blue shirts the other players wore.  

"Once again the Democrats and Republicans showed that there is a bipartisan and nonpartisan spirit in golf" said Dan Tate Sr., a lobbyist and volunteer tournament organizer who has worked with the game since its inception.  

Tate noted that this year, the tournament raised just short of $100,000 for The First Tee , an international organization that seeks to build character and instill values in children and young adults through golf.  

While there was plenty of trash-talking among the members, Tate took note of the good sportsmanship as well, pointing to Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., calling a penalty on himself after accidentally nudging a ball, and Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., offering to pay for a golf club he had borrowed from the pro-shop last year and forgot to return.

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