Thursday, June 23, 2016

A near miss for Thompson in U.S. Senior Open qualifier at Applebrook



   Overbrook Golf Club’s Ray Thompson looked pretty ticked off when he failed to make a playoff for match play by a shot on BMW Philadelphia Amateur qualifying day last week at Merion Golf Club’s famed East Course and Philadelphia Country Club.
   So he probably wasn’t too thrilled to come up just short Wednesday in a qualifier at Applebrook Golf Club for the U.S. Senior Open, which will be played Aug. 11 to 14 at Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio.
   The 64-year-old Thompson, a Drexel Hill resident and Overbrook Golf Club member, carded a 1-over 72 over the windswept, 6,795-yard, par-71 Applebrook layout and ended up in a five-man playoff for the final ticket to Scioto. He did not survive the playoff.
   Thompson remains one of the top senior amateur players in the country while playing in the shadow of Chip Lutz, the Reading resident who just might be the best senior amateur player in the world. Lutz is the reigning six-time Golf Association of Philadelphia Senior Player of the Year.
In 2013, Thompson, a Marple Newtown and Florida State product, lost to Lutz in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Senior Amateur at Wade Hampton Country Club in Cashiers, N.C. A year later, Thompson reached the second round of the Senior Amateur at Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach, Calif. Last fall, Thompson again reached the second round of match play before falling in 19 holes at Hidden Creek Golf Club in Egg Harbor Township, N.J.
   Lutz, who plays out of LedgeRock Golf Club, won the U.S. Senior Amateur title at Hidden Creek, adding that crown to his two British Senior Amateur and one Canadian Senior Amateur titles. Pretty sure that U.S. Senior Amateur win gives Lutz a ticket to this year’s Senior Open at Scioto.
   A couple of senior pros with lengthy resumes shared medalist honors Wednesday at Applebrook.
Bobby Gage, who has given up the touring life for a job in the pro shop at Blue Hill Country Club in Canton, Mass., and Lonnie Nielsen, who has two PGA Tour Champions wins to his credit, each carded a 2-under 69 to tie for the qualifying medal.
   The 50-year-old Gage, a veteran of many years on the Web.com and PGA tours, credited his Applebrook looper Lou Topper with keeping him on track on the windy layout.
   The 62-year-old Nielsen, who played six years on the PGA Tour, will be making his eighth trip to the U.S. Senior Open.
   Arnold Cutrell, a 51-year-old amateur from Greensburg, was the survivor of the 5-for-1 playoff. Cutrell rolled in a five-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole at Applebrook to get into the playoff and won the sixth hole of the playoff with a two-putt par on that same hole to earn a trip to Scioto.
Also in that group at 1-over 72 was John Allen, a Media resident and an assistant pro at Huntingdon Valley Country Club.
   Dave Quinn, a pro at the Links Golf Club in Marlton, N.J., carded a 3-over 74.
   Gene Fieger, who dominated the Philadelphia Section PGA as an assistant pro at Overbrook in the 1990s, came home to give the Senior Open qualifier at Applebrook a try and carded a 4-over 75. Fieger, who manages the Hideout Golf Club in Naples, Fla., won the 2013 PGA Senior Professional National Championship at the PGA Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
   He was joined at that figure by Wayne resident and GAP veteran P. Chet Walsh.
   Dave McNabb, the host pro at Applebrook, checked in with a 77. He was joined at that figure by LuLu Country Club amateur Glenn Smerglio, who made it to match play in the Senior Amateur at Hidden Creek last fall.
   Veteran Overbrook amateur Oscar Mestre and Stu Ingraham, the head of instruction at the M Golf Range in Newtown Square, were among the group at 78.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Skean's 72 helps him claim a Junior Tour win at Chisel Creek



   Christopher Skean of Kennett Square had the day’s best round, a 2-over 72, to capture top honors in the 13-to-15 division in a Philadelphia Section PGA Junior Tour stop at Chisel Creek Golf Club in Landenberg Wednesday.
   Skean had four birdies, two on each nine, to finish two shots clear of Aj Aivazoglou of Glen Mills and Morgan Lofland of Paoli, each of whom carded a 4-over 74.
   Mac Costin of Bryn Mawr and Jaden Weisman of Malvern finished tied for fourth at 3-over 75. Owen Heffernen of New Hope, Samuel Walker of Radnor and Ryan McCabe of Media shared sixth place at 78. Connor Young of Dover, Del. finished ninth with a 79 and Richard Kline III of Kennett Square rounded out the top 10 with an 80.
   Kaden Kinard of New Castle, Del. won the 16-to-18 division in a match of cards with Liam Ward of Malvern after they both carded 6-over 76s. Kinard had two birdies on the back nine, which helped him win the scorecard playoff. The highlight of Ward’s round was an eagle on the par-5 10th hole.
   Matthew Davis of Doylestown finished alone in third place with a 77, a round that included the shot of the day as Davis’ 8-iron on the 145-yard eighth hole found the cup for a hole-in-one.
   Hunter Tollinger of Chesapeake City, Md. finished alone in fourth with a 78. Four players – Chuckie Sisler of Oxford, Bryan Donato of Chester Springs, Ryan Tall of Collegeville and Andrew Brown of Wilmington, Del. – finished in a tie for fifth at 80.
   Rounding out the top 10 were Adam Motovidlak of Harvey’s Lake and Nathan Potts of Wilmington, Del., who shared ninth place at 82.
   Casey Oppenheimer of Conshohocken won the girls 16-to-18 division with an 87. Elise Glauser of Newark, Del. was the runnerup with a 93.
Lily Yang of West Chester claimed the top spot in the 13-to-15 division with an 82. Grace Enright of Doylestown was the runnerup with an 87. Lily Byrne of Downingtown finished third with an 89 and Caitlyn Hagerty of Glen Mills was fourth with a 113.
   Jack Davis of Newtown Square had birdies at the third and fifth holes to top the field among the nine-holers with a 3-over 38. Evan Barbin of Elkton, Md. was the runnerup with a 40.
   Matthew Homer of Wilmington, Del. finished third with a 45, Henry Stone of Kennett Square was fourth with a 46, Anthony Ciconte of Wilmington, Del. was fifth with a 48 and Jeffrey Homer of Wilmington, Del. was sixth with a 51.

Fahey comes close in U.S. Girls' Junior Amateur qualifier at Silver Creek



   Meghan Fahey, a senior at the Academy of Notre Dame who won the Inter-Ac League title last month, just missed earning a spot in the U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur in a qualifier held Wednesday at Silver Creek Country Club in Hellertown.
   The qualifier drew a field that included some of the top junior players in the country and some international standouts as well.
   Fahey, a member at Merion Golf Club and Overbrook Golf Club, carded a 4-over 76 over the 6,084-yard-par-72 Silver Creek layout to miss the final qualifying berth by a shot.  She did earn first-alternate status for the U.S. Girls’ Junior, which will be held July 18 to 23 at Ridgemont Country Club in Paramus, N.J.
   Medalist honors went to Youngin Chun of Cedar Park, Texas who matched par with a 72. The 16-year-old earned her third trip to the U.S. Girls’ Junior.
   Valery Plata of Colombia finished second with a 2-over 74. The 15-year-old earned her second straight berth in the U.S. Girls’ Junior.
   Two other high-powered juniors, Kyra Cox of South Salem, N.Y. and Elizabeth Wang of San Marino, Calif., earned the last two tickets to the U.S. Girls’ Junior, each carding a 3-over 75.
   Cox, a 16-year-old junior at John Jay High School, finished third in the 14-to-15 division in the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals, which kicked off Masters week at Augusta National Golf Club in April.
   Wang, a 16-year-old junior at San Marino High School, qualified for the U.S. Girls’ Junior for the fourth straight year. She is coming off a tie for sixth in last weekend’s American Junior Golf Association Rolex Girls Junior Championship in Rochester, N.Y.
   Wang also teed it up in the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer at the Jersey Shore earlier  this month, earning a spot in the event with her victory last summer in the Junior PGA Championship.
   Conestoga sophomore Samantha Yao also had a strong showing at Silver Creek with a 5-over 77. Agnes Irwin junior Kaitlyn Lees, the runnerup to Fahey at the Inter-Ac tourney, carded an 80. Brianna Marmorstein, a junior at Notre Dame who, along with Fahey, helped the Irish claim their eighth straight Inter-Ac title, had an 82. Radnor senior Gabriella Kim, who won the PIAA Class AAA East Regional title and helped the Raiders claim the PIAA Class AAA team title, posted an 84.