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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Osberg grabs another qualifying medal

  Llanerch Country Club's Rick Osberg, just a few days removed from a trip to the U.S. Amateur, fired a 3-under 68 at soggy Philadelphia C.C. Monday to take medalist honors in local qualifying for the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship.
   Osberg had claimed medalist honors in local qualifying for the U.S. Amateur in early August at Llanerch and Rolling Green G.C. Osberg failed to qualify for match play at last week's U.S. Amateur at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis. and was happy to rebound quickly and earn a trip to another USGA event. The Mid-Am will be played Sept. 17 to 22 at Shadow Hawk G.C. in Richmond, Texas.
   "Coming back from the (U.S.) Amateur where I didn't have a good showing, it's nice to qualify for this,"  Osberg told the Golf Association of Philadelphia website. "(The Mid-Amateur) is a lot more of the working-class people as opposed to the college students who are about to turn professional. I just hope to make match play and see how it goes from there."
   The greenskeeping crew at Philly Country had to work overtime to get its course in shape less than 48 hours after Hurricane Irene roared through the region.
   "The course was fantastic," said Osberg, who spent his Sunday helping remove a tree that fell into his girlfriend's house during the hurricane. "I maybe had one ball that had mud on it. What they did here to get the course ready is unbelievable. It doesn't even look like it rained here."
   Osberg got his round going with a couple of two-putt birdies after reaching both par-5s on the front side at Philly in two. He sandwiched birdies at 11 and 13 around a bogey at the par-4 12th on the backside.
   "I just hit it well," Osberg said. "The goal in most of these qualifiers is to just try for even-par. A course like this sets up well for me. I took advantage of some of the shorter holes and just played smart on some of the more difficult ones."
   Michael McDermott, the five-time Hyndman Player of the Year who plays out of Merion G.C., was one of nine players who returned to Philly Tuesday morning in search of the final two qualifying berths and two alternate spots. The players finished in a tie for seventh at 3-over 74 in the battle for the eight tickets to Shadow Hawk.
   But McDermott was unable to survive the playoff. McDermott, the former Haverford High and Saint Joseph's University standout, spent 2010 away from competitive golf. His 2011 season has been marked by solid play, but a notch below the level he displayed as the top mid-amateur player in the region for most of the first decade of the 2000s.
   A couple of Overbrook G.C. veterans, Oscar Mestre and Frank McFadden, had nice showings at Philly C.C., with a 75 and 76 respectively. Pete Moran of Edgmont C.C. was also at 76 and Michael McDermott's younger brother Kevin, a Llanerch member, was at 77.
Philadelphia Section PGAOverbrook G.C. pro Scott Hunter posted an 8-under 134 total to capture the Pro-Am for Wishes event at Penn Oaks C.C., which concluded Aug. 22.
Hunter completed a 2-under round on the first day Aug. 21, although half the field couldn't beat the rain and had to complete the first round the next day.
Hunter ripped off four birdies in a row on the front nine of his second round on his way to a 6-under 65 for a three-shot victory, his first win on the Philadelphia Section circuit.
"It feels great to finally get that first win," Hunter said. "I have been close a few times, especially this year and each time I've learned something new. Becoming more familiar with the players and courses makes all the difference."

Monday, August 22, 2011

Seiden makes trip to U.S. Amateur worthwhile

   Steve Seiden, the Strath Haven All-Delco and former Duquesne standout, was an alternate to make the field at the U.S. Amateur, which got under way Monday in Erin, Wis.
   Seiden had finished fifth in local qualifying at his new home course, Llanerch Country Club, and Rolling Green G.C. earlier this month. But he made it clear after finishing fourth at last week's Golf Association of Philadelphia Patterson Cup that if he had a chance to tee it up in a USGA event, he was going to make the trip to Wisconsin.
   Plus, some USGA folks had let it be known that it didn't appear that the 10 spots in qualifying being held open for members of the Great Britain/Ireland team in next month's Walker Cup Match were likely to be claimed, so Seiden had some hope that his No. 11 spot on the alternate list might make the field.
   If not, he said, he would root on fellow Llanerch member Jeff Osberg, who had won the qualifying medal at Llanerch and Rolling Green with two spectacular rounds, including a 2-under 69 at a Llanerch layout that was playing very tough.
   Well, Seiden did get his ticket punched Monday and outperformed Osberg by seven shots in carding a 1-over 71 at the easier of the two qualifying sites, the 6,622-yard, par-70 Blue Mound G.&C.C. Once match play begins, it will be held at the monstrous 7,760-yard, par-72 Erin Hills layout and Seiden will get his crack at that course in round 2 today.
   Seiden even finished a shot better than Andrew Mason, the Temple product who swept to the Philadelphia Open, Pennsylvania Amateur and Patterson Cup crowns in a month of brilliant golf on the local amateur scene.
   Mason had a 2-over 72 at Blue Mound and will also get his crack at Erin Hills today. Mason was the captain at Temple this spring in his final year of eligibility. He has another semester of school to complete at Temple, but the Huntingdon Valley C.C. member made it pretty clear after his Patterson Cup victory last week that he intends to remain an amateur golfer.
   Osberg struggled to a 77 at Blue Mound and he will tackle Erin Hills today.
   Holy Ghost Prep senior Chris Crawford fired a 6-over 78 at Erin Hills Monday. Crawford might not find the pressure of the scholastic postseason as daunting this fall after seeing the bright lights of the U.S. Amateur to kick off his senior season.
   The top 64 finishers after today's second round of qualifying advance to match play. Seiden is in a tie for 95th and this U.S. Amateur field is being touted as one of the most talented in recent memory.
   So while it might be a long shot for the 29-year-old to make it to match play, at least he's there to experience it and very much be a part of it. And he's sitting on a pretty good lead over Osberg when Llanerch bragging rights are discussed in the grille room over the next few months.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thompson, Owsik headed for U.S. Senior Amateur Championship

   A couple of local seniors battled the elements on a rainy Tuesday at Commonwealth National Golf Club to earn a trip to the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship.
   Ray Thompson, the ageless Drexel Hill resident and Overbrook G.C. member, claimed medalist honors with a 3-under 68 over the 6,629-yard, par-71 Commonwealth National layout.
   He finished two shots ahead of Mike Owsik, owner of M Golf Range in Newtown Square who posted a 1-under 70. Both Thompson and Owsik have been standout players for decades, dating back to their scholastic days at Marple Newtown and Archbishop Carroll, respectively.
  Both are headed for Kinloch G.C. in Manakin-Sabot, Va., where the U.S. Senior Amateur will be held Sept. 10 to 15.
Thompson pulled away from the field with three birdies on the back nine, including the par-3 12th hole, where he nearly holed his choked-down 5-iron shot, and the par-4 15th, where he rolled in a 35-foot putt.
  "I was really patient," the 59-year-old Thompson told the Golf Association of Philadelphia website. "I hit the ball really well on the back nine. That’s probably as good as I’ve hit it all year."
   It’s the second straight trip to the U.S. Senior Amateur for Thompson, GAP’s 2007 Senior Player of the Year. He qualified for match play a year ago. He also qualified for the U.S. Open in 1977 and ’78.
   The 56-year-old Owsik returned from each of three weather delays by making birdie. The first one was at the par-5 first, where he wedged his approach to 10 feet, then at the par-4 fourth, where he ripped a 5-iron to 12 feet and then at the par-5 11th where his wedge finished 16 feet from the hole.
   "My putting was tremendous," Owsik, a four-time winner of the Philadelphia Open Amateur at Cobbs Creek over the years, told the GAP website. "I made every putt that I looked at. When I putt well, I score well."
   It will be Owsik’s sixth USGA event, his previous five times being berths in the U.S. Men’s Amateur Public Links Championship.
   One of Thompson’s fellow Overbrook senior standouts, Frank McFadden, lost out in a playoff for the final two qualifying berths after carding an even-par 71 to finish in a tie with Duke Delcher of Bluffton, S.C. and Joe Viechnicki of Bethlehem. 
PGA Junior Tour
   Sam Soeth continued a strong summer leading into his sophomore season at Marple Newtown by firing a 1-over 72 in a Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour stop at Waynesborough C.C. Aug. 11.
   That left Soeth, an All-Delco as a freshman last season, in second place in the 13-to-15 division behind Vinay Ramesh of Newtown. Ramesh had the day’s best round in any age group with a 3-under 68.
  Also in the 13-to-15 division, Robert Olseski III of Wayne finished in a tie for seventh with an 81, Penncrest sophomore Ethan Heller finished in a tie for 10th with an 82, Christopher Chizauskie of Thornton finished 13th with an 85, Alec Kerr of Broomall finished 17th with a 91, Griffin Colvin of Media finished 18th withi a 94 and Ryan Garrity of Upper Chichester finished in a tie for 21st with a 98.
   In the 16-to-18 division, Mac Ryan, the St. Joseph’s Prep junior and Broomall resident, carded a 78 to finish in a tie for sixth.
   Sitting atop the girls 13-to-15 division was Garnet Valley’s Annika Vandayar, who tuned up for her trip to the Pennsylvania Women’s Amateur with a solid 77 at Waynesborough.
  Garnet Valley senior Erica Cornacchia finished in a tie for second in the 16-to-18 division with an 86. Delco Christian junior Emma Schaafsma finished sixth with a 12 and Abby Sydnes of Radnor finished seventh with a 119.
Among the nine-holers, Michael Sydnes of Bryn Mawr finished in a tie for second with a 45.
  Springfield All-Delco Michael Kelley, who will be starting at La Salle soon, settled for second place in a match-of-scorecards playoff in a Junior Tour stop Thursday at Willow Brook C.C. in Moorestown, N.J.
   Kelley carded an 81 at Willow Brook, but Artemis Christou of Mount Laurel, N.J. won the 16-to-18 division in the match of cards after he also posted an 81.
Bernard falls in second round
  Lauren Bernard, the Aronimink G.C. member and Notre Dame product who won the Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia Amateur Championship earlier this summer, teed it up at the Pennsylvania State Women’s Golf Association’s Amateur Championshp this week at the Country Club of York.
  Bernard earned a spot in match play by finishing ninth in qualifying with a 79 and cruised to a 4 and 3 victory over Ann Colligan of Kittanning C.C. in the opening round of matches.
   It looked like Bernard might have caught a break in the quarterfinals when she faced Shannon Gramley, a high school junior from Avalon G.&C.C. who had knocked off University of Maryland junior and 2008 PIAA champion Christine Shimel, 3 and 1, in the opening round. Shimel was the medalist in qualifying with a 73.
   But Gramley, who had grabbed the final berth in match play, stopped Bernard, 2 and 1, to reach the semifinals.
   Aurora Kan, the three-time Daily Times Player of the Year at Chichester, won the 2010 Pennsylvania Women’s Amateur championship. But Kan had to report to Purdue University for her freshman season with the NCAA runnerup Boilermakers and was unable to defend her crown.
  Catherine Elliott, also a Notre Dame product and a Merion Golf Club member, fell in the final to Kan a year. But Elliott struggled in qualifying and her 85 landed her in the first-flight bracket.
   Elliott defeated Danielle Dalessandro of Glenmaura National G.C., 3 and 2, in the opening round of the first flight before falling, 1-up, to Brynn Walker of St. Davids G.C. in the quarterfinals.
  Vandayar, the Garnet Valley resident and Applecross C.C. member, continued her strong play this summer with an 87 in qualifying that earned her a berth in the second-flight bracket.
  Vandayar, who has been playing solid golf on the Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour, got a bye into the quarterfinals and then knocked off Amanda Ploener of Kennett Square G.&C.C., 4 and 3, to reach the semifinals, where she fell, 3 and 2, to Ann Vanzant of Valley Brook C.C.
  Kelli Pry of Coatesville C.C. captured the Pennsylvania Women’s Amateur crown Friday by holing a 35-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for a 1-up victory over Kate Scarpetta of Glenmaura National G.C.
   Pry is a senior at the University of South Florida and Scarpetta is a recent Princeton graduate.
  In the state Senior Amateur Championship final, Connie Shorb used her home-course advantage as a C.C. of York member to defeat Carol Semple Thompson, the legendary 22-time state amateur champion, 3 and 2. 
Ingraham takes senior crown
   Stu Ingraham, the teaching pro at M Golf Range in Newtown Square, posted a 36-hole total of 8-under 136 Wednesday and Thursday at The ACE club to capture the Philadelphia Senior PGA championship.
   Ingraham will head a nine-man contingent who will represent the Philadelphia Section PGA at the 23rd Southworth Senior PGA Professional National Championship Oct. 6 to 9 at Creighton Farms and River Creek Club in Virginia.
  "I have been playing some really great golf over the last five weeks," Ingraham told the Philadelphia PGA website. "I never thought that at age 51 I’d be able to compete in both groups (regular and senior divisions). I hope I’m able to continue this through the season and into the fall."
   The top 35 finishers at Creighton Farms and River Creek will earn a spot in the Senior PGA Championship, a Champions Tour major, May 24-27, 2012 at The Golf Club at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor Mich.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sheftic takes Pennsylvania Open

   For the first time in three years, Mark Sheftic, the head of instruction at Merion Golf Club, did not earn a berth in the PGA Championship.
    That left him free to tee it up in the Pennsylvania Open, which was held Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at Moselem Springs Golf Club in Fleetwood off Rotue 222 between Reading and Kutztown.
   And considering Sheftic missed the cut at Hazletine in 2009 and Whistling Straits a year ago, the $10,000 check he took home by winning the Pennsylvania Open made his trip to Berks County a lot more profitable than his forays into major championship golf did.
    Sheftic had rounds of 69, 65 and 71 over the par-70 Moselem Springs for a 54-hole toal of 5-under 205. Sheftic finished a shot ahead of Kevin Sheilds, a club pro at Sewickly Heights G.C. outside of Pittsburgh, although a double bogey by Sheftic on the final hole made the margin a little closer than it was throughout the final round.
  Stu Ingraham, the teaching pro at the M Golf Driving Range Newtown who also qualified for the 2010 PGA at Whistling Straits, earned a share of third place with a 1-under 209. Ingraham had rounes of 71, 68 and 70. He was joined at that figure by Nathan Sutherland, an amateur from Wyomissing.
   Conrad Von Borsig, the Daily Times Player of the Year at Strath Haven in 2004-05, had rounds of 73, 69 and 72 for a 4-over 214 total that left him in a tie for 18th. Billy Stewart (71-73-71), who won a Philadelphia Amateur title while he was a member at Llanerch C.C., was another shot back in a tie for 22nd at 5-over 215.
Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour
   Penncrest sophomore Ethan Heller used the occasion of a Junior Tour stop at Honeybrook G.C. Wednesday to post the first sub-70 score of his career, a 3-under 67 that easily gave him the top spot in the 13-to-15 age group.
   Paul Yun of Broomall finished in a tie for seventh with a 78. Other finishers included Minwoo Kwok (80) of Bryn Mawr, Stefan Troilo (89) of Haverford and Ryan Garrity (95) of Upper Chichester.
   Recent Delco Christian graduate Brandon Weidemann finished in a tie for fifth in the 16-to-18 division with a 76.
   Annika Vandayar of Garnet Valley was the top finisher  in the 13-to-15 division with a 79.
Among the nine-holers, Radnor's Chris Austen finished fifth with a 44, Wayne's Kim was another shot back in sixth with a 45 and Jacob Calamaro of Newtown Square finished ninth with a 50.

   Garnet Valley's Cornacchia carded an 84 to finish in a tie for fourth at the 10th annual Harry Hammond Invitational at Penn Oaks G.C. Aug. 5.
   The event is named for one of the region's biggest supporters of junior golf, PGA Master Professional, Penn Oaks Director of Golf and - in his spare time - West Chester University golf coach Harry Hammond Jr.
Scholarships are awarded to the top three finishers among the boys and girls with the funds coming from the Greater Horsham Valley Junior Golf Foundation.
   The scholarship award winners among the girls were Amanda Ploener of Chadds Ford with a 77, Gabriella DiMarco, the recent West Chester East graduate who was the runnerup at the PIAA Tournament as a senior, with a 79 and Kelsey Sloan of Lumberton, N.J. with an 81.
   Megan Chizauskie of Thornton finished 10th with a 96.
   The scholarship winners among the boys were Ben Cooley of Rydal, who defeated Nino Rosal of Camden, Del. on the first hole of sudden death after both carded 72s, and Ryan Fogel of West Chester, who was third with a 74.
   Other top finishers included Episcopal Academy product Bobby Svigals, who ended up in a tie for 14th with a 79, Ryan of Broomall and the Prep who tied for 30th with an 83, Springfield junior Jim Callahan, who was in a tie for 46th with an 88 and Radnor's Kleiman, who was 48th with an 89.
Golf Association of Philadelphia
   Overbrook G.C.'s Oscar Mestre carded a 1-under 71 over the Philadelphia Cricket Club's 6,792-yard, par-72 Militia Hill Course to finish in a tie for fourth in the Marston Cup Aug. 4.
   Steve Lubin of Five Ponds G.C. was the Marston Cup winner with a 5-under 67.
   Other top Delco finishers were Llanerch C.C.'s Mark Fuessinger (74, tied for 11th), Concord C.C.'s Doug Fedoryshyn (75, tied for 15th), Edgmont C.C.'s Peter Moran (77, tied for 26th) and Concord's John Donnelly (78, tied for 37th).
Cimina makes the grade   Kevin Cimina, a 2010 Marple Newtown graduate, recently passed his PGA Playing Ability Test, a 36-hole event held at Moccasin Run G.C.
   Completing the PAT is an important step on the road to becoming a PGA professional. Cimina is enrolled in Penn State's PGA Golf Management Program. He is interning this summer in the White Manor C.C. pro shop.
Patterson Cup leftovers
   In addition to crowning a Patterson Cup champion in Andrew Mason at White Manor C.C., the Golf Association of Philadelphia also handed out the Silver Cross, which goes to the stroke-play champion. The winner is determined with the combined scores from the 36 holes of qualifying for the Philadelphia Amateur and the 36-hole Patterson Cup scores.
   Mike Meisenzahl of Little Mill C.C. captured the Silver Cross with a four-shot advantage over Mason, who admitted thoughts of adding the Silver Cross to what would become a Patterson Cup crown almost cost him the Patterson victory Friday.
   Meisenzahl had a solid even-par 71 at White Manor Friday  for a 284 total in the Silver Cross race. Robert Galbreath Jr. of  Huntingdon Valley C.C. and his soon-to-be Villanova teammate James Kania Jr. shared third place with a 289 total, a shot back of Mason. Merion G.C.'s Michael McDermott, the five-time Hyndman Player of the Year, finished in a tie for seventh with a 290 total.
   Jeff Osberg of Llanerch C.C. finished in a tie for 14th in the Patterson Cup with rounds of 76 and 72 and can now turn his thoughts to the U.S. Amateur in a little over a week at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis.
    Steve Seiden, Osberg's fellow Llanerch member, will also make the trip to Wisconsin. He was the first alternate in qualifying at Rolling Green G.C. and Llanerch at which Osberg was the medalist in dominating fashion.
   "The USGA told me I'm the 11th alternate overall," Seiden said after his fourth-place finish in the Patterson Cup Friday. "They also said there are 10 spots being held for the British Walker Cup team, but they don't think they're coming. We'll see, but I think if you have a chance to play in a USGA event, you have to take it.
   "And if I don't get in, I'll just hang around and root for Jeff."
   The Walker Cup, retained by the United States right here in Delaware County at Merion G.C.'s historic East Course by the Rickie Fowler-led and Buddy Marucci-captained U.S. team in 2009, will be contested this year at Balgownie Links of Royal Abeerden Golf Club in Scotland. Which is why it would seem unlikely that the Great Britain-Ireland squad would feel a need to tee it up at Erin Hills.