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 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.