Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sutherland's 59 brings back memories of a front-nine 27 by Sigel

   Watching The Golf Channel breathlessly break in to its regular coverage to show Kevin Sutherland’s bid to record the first sub-60 score in Champions Tour history Saturday, I couldn’t help but flash back to the 1998 Bell Atlantic Classic, which was being played for the first time at Hartefeld National after a pretty successful run at Chester Valley Golf Club.
   Jay Sigel, the great amateur champion and Aronimink Golf Club member, had turned pro at 50 to play what was then called the Senior PGA Tour. His third round at Hartefeld that year started with a par. Then he made eagle at the par-5 second hole and followed that with seven straight birdies for a front-nine 27.
   It has stood as a Champions Tour record for nine holes since then. Pretty sure it’s been matched and it was again Saturday when Sutherland birdied seven of the first eight holes, the exception being an eagle at the par-5 fifth, and then parred the ninth hole to stand at 9-under after nine.
   When Sigel made the turn at 9-under that day at Hartefeld National,  the flower of Philadelphia area golf scribes came clamoring out of the press room and climbed the hills of southern Chester County to see if Sigel could be the first senior player to record the magical 59. Alas, Sigel struggled to a back-nine of 1-under 35 – if that can be called struggling – for a brilliant 10-under 62.
   A big difference between Sutherland’s accomplishment and Sigel’s flirtation with a 59 16 years ago is the fact that Sigel won the tournament, although he was forced to a playoff by Jose Maria Canizares.
   It was a very popular victory among the many golf fans in this area who count Sigel as one of the greatest golfers this area has ever produced. He proved it again with the 27 strokes he used to negotiate the front nine at Hartefeld that magical Saturday in May.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Delco dominates at Radnor Valley, Paxon Hollow

   The Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour held its final series event of the summer at two Delaware County courses last week and some of Delco’s top junior players took advantage of playing on some familiar layouts to post some solid scores.
   Agnes Irwin freshman Kaitlyn Lees won the Inter-Ac League title as a seventh-grader on Radnor Valley Country Club’s front  nine two springs ago, so it was no surprise to see her finish atop the 13-to-15 division at the same course with an 84 Wednesday.
   Lees came right back to claim her second Junior Tour victory of the summer and third overall with an 80 the next day at Paxon Hollow Country Club. June Kim of Wayne finished fourth in the division at Paxon with an 84.
   Lees was easily the best in the division for the series, her 164 total well ahead of the 198 total (103 at Radnor, 98 at Paxon Hollow) that Chole Niu of Gladwynne posted.
   Merion Golf Club’s Peter Bradbeer and Haverford School senior Jay Losty had big weeks in the 16-to-18 division.
   Bradbeer took divisional honors with a 3-over 73 over the 6,527-yard, par-70 Radnor Valley layout. Matt Kristick of Berlin, Md., was second at 76 and Losty checked in third with an 80.
   Also at Radnor Valley, Ryan Conway of Bryn Mawr finished in a tie for 11th with a 90, the Newtown Square trio of Matthew Deacon (91), Jack Bellwoar (93) and Harry Bellwoar (95) finished 13th, 14th and 15th, respectively, and Jimmy Murray of Springfield finished 16th with a 96.
Losty birdied four of the first 13 holes at Paxon Hollow on his way to top honors Thursday with a sparkling 1-under 70, two shots better than Bradbeer. Marple Newtown junior Joey Del Franco was third with a 74, Bryn Mawr’s Conway was fourth with a 76, Andrew Vetterlein of Villanova was 13th with an  87 and Springfield’s Murray was 14th with an 89.
   Bradbeer and Losty finished 1-2 for the series, Bradbeer’s 145 total giving him a five-shot edge over Losty. Conway finished tied for fifth at 166 and Murray was eighth at 185.
   Michael Sydnes went 3-under on the front nine at the 5,709-yard, par-71 Paxon Hollow layout on his way to a 2-under 69 that gave him top honors in the 13-to-15 division.
Matthew Davis of Newtown Square finished in a tie for second with Luca Jezzeny of Furlong at 2-over 73. Jake Calamaro of Newtown Square was fourth with a 74.
   Other finishers in the division included: Aronimink Golf Club’s Billy Civitella (79, ninth); D.J. Colleran (81, tied for 10th) of Radnor; Frederick Hammer (81, tied for 10th) of Wayne: Aj Aivazoglou (84, tied for 16th) of Glen Mills; Lucas Zhu (99, tied for 20th) of Wayne; Eric McLaughlin (101, 24th) of Media and Matthew Barkann (105, 25th) of Newtown Square.
   Zachary Barbin of Elkton, Md. led the way in the 13-to-15 division at Radnor Valley with a 72. Furlong’s Jezzeny was a shot back in second at 73. Newtown Square’s Davis tied for third with a 78, Calamaro of Newtown Square was sixth with an 81 and Wayne’s Hammer was ninth with an 83.
   Also in the division at Radnor Valley, Davis Rosato of Villanova and Newtown Square’s Barkann were among three players tied for 10th at 84, Jack McKnight of Villanova was 17th with an 88, Radnor’s Colleran was tied for 18th with a 90, David Hurly of Newtown Square and Aronimink’s Civitella were tied for 21st with 92s, Media’s McLaughlin was 23rd with a 93, Will Keane of Newtown Square was 25th with a 96, Glen Mills’ Aivazoglou was 27th with a 100, Frank Rauscher of Wayne was 30th with a 106, Wayne’s Zhu was 31st with a 107 and Ryan Riddell of Broomall was 33nd with a 122.
   Jezzeny’s 146 total was tops in the series, four shots better than the 150 posted by Barbin. Davis was third at 151, Calamaro was in a tie for fifth at 155, Hammer was eighth at 164, Colleran and Civitella finished in a tie for 10th at 171, Aivazoglou finished 13th at 184 and Barkann finished 14th at 189.
   Case Hummer of Glen Mills and Aronimink Golf Club continued his strong play this summer as he took top honors among the nine-holers at Radnor Valley with a 39 for his sixth Junior Tour victory of the season. James Quinn of Radnor was fourth with a 43, Joseph Morganti of Havertown finished in a tie for seventh with a 47, Aronimink’s Kevin Civitella finished in a tie for 10th with a 48, Daniel Curran of Villanova and David Merz of Swarthmore finished tied for 17th at 57, Nicholas Cardow of Wallingford was 19th with a 58 and Charlie Hurchalla of Wallingford was 21st with a 72.
   Ryan McCabe of Media took top honors among the nine-holers at Paxon Hollow in a match of cards after he finished tied with Stephen Lorenzo of Lower Gwynedd at 36.
Glen Mills’ Hummer was third at 38, Radnor’s Quinn finished sixth with a 41, Aronimink’s Civitella finished in a tie for ninth with a 43, Owen Harvey of Havertown finished in a tie for 13th with a 47, Davis Flannery of Radnor finished 17th with a 49, Swarthmore’s Merz, Ryan Harvey of Havertown and Jackson Fields of Glen Mills were among four players tied for 18th at 50, Wallingford’s Cardow was 23rd with a 52 and Wallingford’s Hurchalla finished 24th with a 60.
   Hummer took top honors among the nine-holers for the series at 78, Quinn was third at 86, Morganti finished tied for fifth at 94, Civitella was eighth at 96, Merz was 10th at 114, Cardow was 11th at 116 and Hurchalla was 13th at 144.
   Notre Dame junior Maddie  Keane teed it up at Radnor Valley in the 16-to-18 division and carded a 94 to finish second behind Gilbertsville’s Emily Gilbert, who took top honors with a 92.
   Notre Dame junior Gabby Morganti took top honors in the 16-to-18 division with a 99 at Paxon Hollow, a round that included a birdie at the par-4 10th hole.

Siegfried helps GAP take seventh

   Aronimink Golf Club’s Max Siegfried, a junior at The Haverford School, represented the Golf Association of Philadelphia in the 51st Williamson Cup, which was held last week at Club Laval-sur-le-Lac in Quebec, Ontario.
   Siegfried had rounds of 77 and 82 to finish tied for 21st with three others players, including fellow GAP entrant Connor Goodrich (80-79) of Merchantville Country Club.
   GAP, which was led by Whitford Country Club’s Kevin Conners Jr., finished seventh in the team standings. Conners had rounds of 77 and 79 to finish in a tie for 15th at 156. GAP’s fourth representative, Cole McCook of Applecross Country Club finished in a tie for 27th with rounds of 79 and 83 for a 162 total.
   Golf Quebec, led by Felix Normand, won the team title. Norman had rounds of 77 and 74 to finish in a tie for fifth at 151. Individual honors went to Luke Schaap of the Washington Metropolitan team who had a pair of 73s for a 146 total.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Teesdale falls, Logue, Smith play on at U.S. Amateur

     A few thoughts on some goings-on at the U.S. Amateur, which basically got bumped from Thursday’s Daily Times when Tiger Woods announced he was taking himself out of consideration for the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

   Temple senior Matthew Teesdale saw his U.S. Amateur bid halted in the first round of match play with a 6 and 5 loss to Ollie Schniederjans, a Georgia Tech senior who is the top-ranked amateur player in the world, Wednesday.
   Still, it’s been a very good summer for Teesdale, the former Hatboro-Horsham standout, who won the Philadelphia Open last month and reached the semifinals of the Philadelphia Amateur earlier this summer.
   And he did a good job making match play at the Atlanta Athletic Club, outshining his more decorated Temple teammate, Brandon Matthews, who was the 2010 PIAA champion at Pittston. Teesdale has a very good chance of succeeding Matthews as the winner of the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s William Hyndman III Player of the Year award.
   In fairness to Matthews, though, he was playing on the national amateur circuit this summer, as a player of his caliber should.
   Another guy who made match play in Atlanta was Will Betts, the Hartford junior who was a co-medalist in the local U.S. Amateur qualifier at Stonewall. A resident of the Pittsburgh area, Betts had a conflict with the western Pa. qualifier and drove to Stonewall and got in and then got into match play. Betts fell, 3 and 2, Wednesday to Eli Cole, a former TCU standout from Los Angeles.
   A survivor of that Stonewall qualifier who is still very much alive, though, is Isaiah Logue, the two-time PIAA Class AA champion from Fairfield in District Three. Two-time as in the last two times for the recently graduated senior who is headed for Liberty University.
   Not only did Logue earn a spot in match play, Wednesday he knocked off Sam Horsfield, 2 and 1. The 17-year-old Horsfield is a Florida recruit who moved to the Sunshine State from England at age 4 and has become one of the top junior players in the country.
   Which brings us to Nathan Smith, the western Pennsylvanian who has become the Jay Sigel of his time. Smith has won four U.S. Mid-Amateur titles and has played on the U.S. Walker Cup team three times, helping captain Buddy Marucci retain the Cup on his home course, Merion Golf Club’s East Course, in 2009.
   Smith won the 1994 PIAA title as a sophomore at Brookeville High School in a four-man playoff which included Haverford High’s Kevin McDermott.
   Smith has never had much luck in the U.S. Amateur. But maybe that’s about to change. He survived a 17-for-4 playoff to get into match play then rallied from 1-down on the 18th tee to oust co-medalist Lee McCoy on the 19th hole.
   “It was a long day,” the 36-year-old financial adviser told The Associated Press. “That was a lot of fun. You know I think it was one of those, I was so excited to be there. Kind of nothing to lose and I just got lucky.”
   I can remember wondering why Marucci chose Smith to be the veteran to round out that 2009 U.S. Walker Cup team. But Smith keeps proving over and over again what a wise choice it was.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Updike lights up Fieldstone with a 68

   John Updike of Wayne may be only heading into eighth grade, but he has been playing some serious golf on the Philadelphia PGA’s Junior Tour this summer.
   The Junior Tour stopped at Fieldstone Golf Club in Delaware Monday and Updike lit up the 6,341-yard, par-71 layout with a sizzling 3-under 68 to capture top honors in the 13-to-15 division. Updike’s round featured four birdies against a lone bogey.
Another rising star, Wallingford’s Kevin Smith, only a seventh-grader, finished fourth in the division with a 78.
   Other finishers in the division included: Evan Brown (80, tied for seventh) of Chadds Ford; Jack Niemkiewicz (84, tied for 13th) of Chadds Ford; David Hurly (98, 26th) of Newtown Square; and Andrew Curran (99, 27th) of Media.
   Penncrest senior Griffin Colvin made a strong bid for the top spot in the 16-to-18 division, but came up just short with a 3-over 74. Ryan Bree of Kennett Square won the division with a 2-over 73.
   Also in the division, Strath Haven senior Jeff Painter finished 11th with an 82, Garnet Valley senior Michael Stanilka finished in a tie for 17th with an 88, Haverford School junior Ryan
Brennan finished 22nd with a 90, Patrick Lyons of Glen Mills was 23rd with a 92, Jimmy Murray of Springfield was 24th with a 97, and Ryan Conway of Bryn Mawr finished in a tie for 25th with a 98.
   Chichester sophomore Caprian Kan easily won the 13-to-15 girls division with a 78. Kan limited her mistakes and made a birdie on the tough par-4 seventh hole to earn her fourth Junior Tour win of 2014.
   Samantha Yao of Berwyn topped the field in the 16-to-18 division with an 82. Dominique Marchese of Media finished third with a 100.
   Case Hummer of Glen Mills, coming of his victory in the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s  Junior-Junior Championship, continued his strong play as he bested the field of nine-holers with a 38. Andrew Damico of Havertown finished 14th with a 68.

Hirsh has strong showing in the Poconos

   The Philadelphia PGA’s Junior Tour held its Oakley Poconos Series over three days last week and Jack Hirsh of Villanova finished fourth overall with a 240 total, picking up an individual win along the way.
   Hirsh fired a 77 on Day 1 of the series at Huntsville Golf Club in Dallas and claimed top honors in the 16-to-18 division in a match of cards with Thomas Dzwonczyk of North Abington Township, who also had a 77.
   On Day 2 at Valley Country Club in Hazleton, Hirsh posted a 79 to finish fifth.
   Hirsh wrapped up the series on Day 3 at Jack Frost National in Blakeslee with an 84 that left him in a tie for seventh. Harriton senior Erik Reisner, the reigning Central League champion, also teed it up at Jack Frost National and finished in a tie for fifth with an 83.
   Top honors in the 16-to-18 division for the series went to Austin Renz of Danville, who had a 78 at Huntsville, a 75 at Valley and a 78 at Jack Frost for a 231 total. He was third behind Hirsh and Dzwonczyk at Huntsville and lost in a match of cards after tying for first at both Valley and Jack Frost. Dzwonczyk was second in the series as he added a 75 at Valley and an 82 at Jack Frost to the 77 he posted at Huntsville for a 234 total.
   Paul Fedele of Easton took top honors in the 13-to-15 division for the series as he had an 81 at Huntsville, an 84 at Valley and a 74 at Jack Frost for a 239 total. His 74 topped the division at Jack Frost.
   Davis Flannery of Radnor made the trip for Day 1 at Huntsville and bested the nine-holers with a 41. His 3-over total was sparked by a birdie at the par-5 first hole.
   Flannery also teed it up on Day 2 at Valley and finished second among the nine-holers with a 50. William Pabst of Roaring Brook Township topped the nine-holers with a 43.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Mullen, Schroer a winning team in Deeg Sezna

  The Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Deeg Sezna Memorial proved to be the perfect opportunity for the Aronimink Golf Club pair of Ryan Mullen and Douglas Schroer to team up and play some winning golf.
   The Deeg Sezna is a truly unique event that pairs a mentor with a younger player and it is played in memory of Davis “Deeg” Sezna Jr., who was a recent graduate of Vanderbilt University who was in his sixth day on the job on the 104th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. He was a mentor in golf and in life to his two younger brothers, Teddy and Willy.
    There must be a minimum age difference of 10 years between players and the younger played must be 21 or younger. For the first time this year, the format switched from better-ball to select drive-alternate shot.
   And that proved to be perfect for Mullen, 19, of Wayne and a sophomore at Cabrini, and Schroer, 48, of Malvern. They fired a 4-under 68 over the 6,287-yard, par-72 Whitford Country Club layout Thursday for a four-shot victory over the formidable team of Tom Gravina of Aronimink and Merion Golf Club’s Michael McDermott, the five-time William Hyndman III GAP Player of the Year.
   “Communication was key,” Mullen told the GAP website. “We decided from the beginning that I would tee off first and whenever the doglegs would be safe, he would just go all out with the big dog driver. That was one of the strategies we had. I went first pretty much every shot and he would trail behind me on the tee.”
   “We settled into a routine where I stuffed it and he made it,” Schroer said. “Other than cleaning up, I only putted three times.”
   Mullen drained a 12-foot birdie try on the first after a solid approach by Schroer. At the third, Mullen knocked his approach to 15 feet and Schroer holed the birdie putt. Schroer stiffed a wedge to two feet at the sixth and Mullen converted that putt.
   On the par-5 ninth, Mullen reached the green in two with a 6-iron and dropped in a seven-foot birdie putt after Schroer was long with a 20-foot eagle try. The only blemishes on the front side were a pair of three-putt bogeys  at four and eight.
   Schroer again knocked in close for a tap-in birdie at the 10th and Mullen dropped in a bomb, a 25-footer, for birdie at the par-5 12th.
   “That’s one of my favorite memories from today,” Mullen said. “That’s where communication played a big part. I didn’t see as much break as he saw and I went with him. I hit the line a little firm, but I hit the line, that’s for sure.”
   Mullen hit it to six feet at the par-3 13th hole and Schroer converted that for the pair’s final birdie of the day that got them to 5-under. That turned out to be plenty of cushion as they bogeyed the last to end up at 4-under.
   The event always draws plenty of Delco entrants and this year was no different.
   Tom Spano of Llanerch Country Club teamed with Brendan Hallinan of Applebrook Golf Club to card a 73, a shot back of the Gravina-McDermott pairing, in a tie for third.
   The Llanerch pair of Jeff St. Amour and Jack McClatchy was tied for sixth at 77. The Edgmont Country Club duo of Peter Moran and Ryan Moran finished alone in 10th at 80. And another Llanerch team, J.J. Bernato and Jack St. Amour, finished tied for 11th at 81.
   A Rolling Green Golf Club entry of Peter Mark and Kathleen Mark was unopposed in winning the male-female division with a 92.
   Mullen, who sometimes caddies for Schroer at Aronimink, was asked if he considers Schroer a mentor and Mullen’s reply summed up the spirit of the day and the event.
   “He’s a great guy and a great player,” Mullen said. “He tells you how he thinks of it. All of the good things you can imagine.”