Sunday, July 24, 2016

Nilon, LeBoeuf, Jones, Yenser prove to be a winning team

   When it comes to the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Senior Four-Man Team Championship, the hard part can be putting the team together.
   Philadelphia Country Club’s Michael Nilon, who played on the winning team when the event was held at The Springhaven Club in 2007, enlisted fellow Philly member John LeBoeuf and Buck Jones of the Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association, with whom Nilon has frequently teamed up with in better-ball events.
   As for a fourth, well Jones had an idea and called Jim Yenser, who plays out of Ravens Claw Golf Club and with whom Jones has also partnered with in better-ball events.
   And so the winning 2016 Senior Four-Man Team was born. The foursome put together a two-best-balls-of-foursome total of 9-under 131 over the 6,189-yard, par-70 Philmont Country Club layout Friday.
   Their score was matched by the Wilmington Country Club quartet of Brett Koelle, Donald MacKelcan, Robert Hackett Jr. and Steven Walczak and Team Nilon-LeBouef-Jones-Yenser was awarded the title on a match of cards. The teams tied on a back-nine match of cards, so it became the last six holes and Team Nilon-LeBouef-Jones-Yenser had a 34-36 margin there for the win.
   Nilon saved his best for last, going 1-under 34 on the front nine at Philmont, the second nine as the winners started on the back nine. LeBouef was solid all day, carding a 2-over 72 on his ball. And Jones and Yenser both made birdies on 15 and 18 in what turned out to be the stretch from which the matching of cards would come.
   And Yenser was seeing the course for the first time.
   “The approach shots are difficult, the greens are difficult,” Yenser told the GAP website. “I know about it through some people telling me about the course – it’s a classic Philadelphia course – but the greens ended up playing harder than what people have said.”
   Thomas Hyland of Little Mill Country Club, James Muller of Manufacturers Golf & Country Club, Bryan Marvin of Old York Road Country Club and Bob Arthur of Tavistock Country Club finished third at 8-under 132.
   Two teams – Christopher Clauson of LuLu Country Club, Michael Quinn of the Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association, Steven Lucas of White Manor Country Club and the father-in-law of and former PGA Tour caddy for Sean O’Hair, and Gregory Bulga of Yardley Country Club and the Merion Golf Club foursome of Bill Charpek, Gordon Jameson, J. Kirk Lumley and Robert Wagner – shared fourth place at 5-under 135.
   The ringer team of Neil McDermott of Llanerch Country Club, Carl Everett of Merion, Michael Rose of Talamore Country Club and three-time reigning GAP Super-Senior Player of the Year Don Donatoni of White Manor finished alone in sixth place at 4-under 136.
   Bob Majczan of Lookaway Golf Club, Tom Dicinti of Old York Country Club at Chesterfield, Robert Amen of the Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association and Thomas Bartolacci Jr. of Saucon Valley Country Club finished seventh at 1-under 139.
   Alan Lazzarino and Robert Walters of DuPont Country Club and Rocky Dare and Thomas Alestock of Running Deer Golf Club finished eighth at even-par 140.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Seong rallies past Lee to repeat as U.S. Girls' Junior champion

   Eun Jeong Seong will be bringing a lot of match-play momentum when she arrives at Rolling Green Golf Club for the U.S. Women’s Amateur next week.
   The 16-year-old from South Korea rallied from 5-down to capture her second straight U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship with a 4 and 2 victory over 17-year-old Andrea Lee of Hermosa Beach, Calif. Saturday at Ridgewood Country Club, an A.W. Tillinghast classic in Paramus, N.J.
   Seong is the first repeat winner of the U.S. Girls’ Junior since Hall of Famer Hollis Stacy won the last of her three in a row in 1971. And she did it against a very tough opponent. Lee, who will join the powerful Stanford program next month, was a member of the U.S. team that fell to a very strong Great Britain-Ireland team in the Curtis Cup Match in Ireland.
   Lee had six birdies during the morning round of the scheduled 36-hole final and twice held a 5-up lead. But Seong started battling back and won the 18th with a par to cut Lee’s lead to 3-up heading into the break.
   Seong then came out firing in the afternoon round, winning the 19th, 22nd and 23rd holes to even the match.
   The match see-sawed until Seong sank a seven-foot birdie putt on the 29th hole to take a 1-up lead. On the 30th hole, Seong’s shot with a 60-degree wedge from 42 yards away found the bottom of the cup for an eagle and a 2-up lead.
   Seong was on her way to hoisting the Glenna Collett Vare Trophy for the second year in a row.
   “It’s a little bit different feel than last year,” Seong told the USGA website. “Last year, it was a little bit hard.  But I trusted myself today and I have confidence. This morning was so hard because I was losing 5-down, but it’s OK because I had a lot of holes (left).”
   Meanwhile, Min Woo Lee, a 17-year-old from Perth, Australia, survived a couple of weather delays to pull out a 2 and 1 decision over Noah Goodwin, a 16-year-old from Corinth, Texas in the U.S. Junior Amateur final at The Honors Course in Ooltewah, Tenn. Saturday.
   Lee is the younger brother of LPGA Tour player Minjee Lee, who won the 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior, making them the first brother and sister to win the USGA’s junior events.
   Lee, who fought back from 2-down deficits three different times during the scheduled 36-hole final over the 7,326-yard, par-72 Pete Dye design, was 1-down to Goodwin when the first weather delay hit after they had hit their tee shots on the on the 32nd hole of the match, the par-3 14th.
   When they returned, both players drained their birdie putts and they halved the next hole. But Lee turned the tables on Goodwin as he won the 33rd hole with a par and the 34th hole with a birdie to take a 1-up lead with two holes to go.
   As Lee lined up a three-and-a-half foot birdie putt on the 35th hole to win the match, another weather delay hit. After a short delay, Lee came back and holed the putt to take the title.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Seong, Lee will square off in U.S. Girls' Junior final

   Eun Jeong Seong and Andrea Lee may be only 16- and 17-years old, respectively, but when they arrive at Rolling Green Golf Club for the U.S. Women’s Amateur in a little more than a week, they will be two of the most match-play tested players in the field.
   First things first, though. Saturday at Ridgewood Country Club, an A.W. Tillinghast classic in Paramus, N.J., Seong of South Korea and Lee of Hermosa Beach, Calif. will meet in a scheduled 36-hole final for the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship. Seong will be seeking to become the first player to repeat as the Girls’ Junior winner since Hall of Famer Hollis Stacy won three straight titles from 1969 to 1971.
   For her part, Lee will be trying to be the first player to represent the United States in the Curtis Cup Match and win the Girls’ Junior on the same year since Peggy Conley did it in 1964.
   Lee will join the Stanford golf team next month, but think about that for a second. She hasn’t played a college tournament yet, but she has already represented her country in an international match played in Dublin, Ireland.
   While Seong cruised to a 4 and 3 victory over fellow South Korean Yujeong Son in the semifinals Friday, Lee had her hands full with yet another South Korean, Hye-Jin Choi, the tournament co-medalist and the low amateur at the U.S. Women’s Open at CordeValle.
   Lee found herself 1-down with two holes to play, but relying on her match-play experience, she birdied the last two holes to win the match.
   Seong and Lee met in the quarterfinals of the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur quarterfinals at Nassau Country Club with Lee claiming a 2 and 1 victory. Lee fell to eventual champion Kristen Gillman in the semifinals.
   FS1 will broadcast the final beginning at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
   The U.S. Junior Amateur title will also be decided in a scheduled 36-hole final Saturday at The Honors Course, a Pete Dye design in Ooltewah, Tenn.
   Noah Goodwin, a 16-year-old from Corinth, Texas will take on Min Woo Lee, a 17-year-old from Australia.
   Goodwin gutted out a victory on the 20th hole over John Pak of Scotch Plains, N.Y. in one semifinal Friday. Lee earned his ticket into the final with a 1-up win over Eugene Hong of Sanford, Fla. in the other semifinal.