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Monday, December 31, 2012

Merion's Open year is here

  It’s New Year’s Day 2103 and that means it’s just 163 days until the biggest event in golf returns to the Ardmore section of Haverford Township and Delaware County for the first time in 32 years when the U.S. Open tees off at Merion Golf Club’s historic East Course.
   It was spring of 2006 when word started to leak out that the bid by the Merion membership to stage a fifth U.S. Open at a layout seemingly doomed by its shortish length to never host an Open again had suddenly emerged as the frontrunner for the 2013 Open.
   At the time, 2013 seemed far away, but now here we are.
   A lot of the credit for this belongs to the people at Haverford College who were willing to give up a big part of their campus so America’s corporate bigwigs would have a place to hobnob with their fellow wizards. They might not have as much spending money now that it appears their taxes are going up, but I’m sure they’ll be OK.
   It’s been quite a last eight years for golf in Delco. The 2005 U.S. Amateur was staged at Merion and it was widely viewed as a test drive for the beefed-up course. The Grand Dame of the Main Line held up just fine against the top amateur players in the world and less than a year later the United States Golf Association decided to bring its most prestigious championship back to the East Course.
  Then came the Walker Cup at Merion in  2009. It was a wonderful opportunity to see some of the bright young stars of the game. It was also the best chance the average golf fan would have to really get up close and personal with the golf course where Bobby Jones completed the Grand Slam in 1930, where Ben Hogan capped his comeback from a horrific car accident to win the 1950 U.S. Open in a playoff, where Lee Trevino beat Jack Nicklaus in a playoff in the 1971 U.S. Open, where Australian
David Graham pitched the golf equivalent of a perfect game in the final round to win the 1981 U.S. Open.
   If you’re lucky enough to score some tickets to the Open this year, you won’t get to walk the fairways the way you could at the Walker Cup. Of course, Tiger Woods wasn’t playing the Walker Cup in 2009 either.
   Then in 2010 and 2011, the PGA Tour came to town when Aronimink Golf Club hosted the AT&T National while the event’s usual site, Congressional Country Club in suburban Washington D.C., played host to the 2011 U.S. Open,  now widely known as Rory McIlroy’s professional coming-out party.
   It was really a nice treat to see the game’s best players teeing it up at a classic American golf course like Aronimink. And I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see Justin Rose, who won the 2010 AT&T at Aronimink, on the leaderboard at Merion in six months.
   Things are rough right now. The Andy Reid era with the Eagles ended with a 4-12 thud, there are big question marks with the Phillies, the Sixers desperately need Andrew Bynum to get healthy and the Flyers are locked out and on ice.
   But with a U.S. Open coming to town, there is something to look forward to.
   I got my first taste of a U.S. Open as a forecaddie on No. 6 at Merion in 1971. I was in Pittsburgh for a wedding in 1973 and was at Oakmont the day Johnny Miller shot a final-round 63 to win. I covered the 1980 Open at Baltusrol for The Mercury in Pottstown. I had a bag at Merion in the 1981 Open (and I hope it was as memorable a week for Jay Cudd as it was for me, even if he didn’t make the cut). And I crashed with my cousins in Pittsburgh and got to see a lot of the 1983 and 1994 Opens at Oakmont, won by two great champions, Larry Nelson and Ernie Els, respectively.
   Golf history will be made at Merion’s East Course in six months. It is, after all, the U.S. Open. And it is, after all, Merion.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Jaster shines at Polo Invitational

   Managed to sneak a story in Wednesday’s Daily Times print edition concerning two-time Haverford School  All-Delco Scott Jaster’s decision to commit to continue his academic and golf pursuits at Dartmouth College.
   What there wasn’t room for on the printed page was a mention of an outstanding effort by Jaster over the Thanksgiving Day weekend in the American Junior Golf Association’s Polo Golf Invitational played at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., site of the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic.
   Jaster qualified for the Polo after being named an HP Scholastic Junior All-American as was reported on your favorite golf blog earlier this fall. Academics played a big part in that honor, but Jaster showed once again at PGA National that he can play a little, too. Jaster will be fully exempt to play the AJGA circuit in 2013 and he added to that resume at the Polo.
   “It was 36 holes of medal play and I finished in a tie for 12th and the top 32 got into match play,” Jaster said. “I won two matches and the lost on the 18th hole to the eventual champion (Adam Wood). I’ll pick up a lot of (AJGA) points for that.”
   Jaster was the lowest-seeded player to advance to the quarterfinals and he gave Wood all he wanted in the match. Jaster had the Zionsville, Ind. resident 1-down with three to play before Wood won the next two holes and got a half with a par on the 18th for a 1-up victory.
   Along the way, Jaster certainly earned Wood’s respect.
   “He (Jaster) was similar to my first match against Jacob Solomon,” Wood told the AJGA website. “Like Jacob, he hit nothing but straight shots. He played really quality golf and never opened any doors, so I was feeling the pressure a little bit. That kind of pressure was really similar (to the first round), so I guess that gave me a little more confidence that I could pull it out late like I did in the quarterfinals.”
  Wood, who reached the semifinals a year ago, went on to take the title as he made six birdies in a 3-and-1 victory over Scott Scheffler of Dallas. Scheffler was the qualifying medalist and beat four Rolex Junior All-Americans on his way to the final.
   I haven’t been able to track down the exact score, but Jaster said Haverford School beat Episcopal Academy “by  about 12 shots” as the teams squared off on the front nine at Merion Golf Club’s East Course, site of the 2013 U.S. Open, as part of Haverford-EA Day last month.
  “I hit it OB on seven – way OB – and I think ended up with a 39,” Jaster said. “We’ve played there twice now for Haverford-EA Day and a couple of other times, but I think it’s my favorite course.”
   Join the club. And for those of you who are counting the days until the 2013 U.S. Open tees off right here in Delaware County, on this December Monday morning, the countdown is at 186 days.
   One other thing that there wasn’t quite room for in the story on Jaster that appeared in Wednesday’s Daily Times is how Dartmouth has really mined Delaware County for some top talent this fall.
   Joining Jaster in the recruiting class for the Big Green men’s team is Episcopal Academy senior Sean Fahey. Coming off a monstrous summer during which he advanced out of the first round of U.S. Open qualifying, qualified for the Philadelphia Open at the famed Pine Valley Golf Club, and teamed up with his Episcopal Academy teammate Alex Dupre to win the Hussey Memorial at Rolling Green Golf Club, Fahey’s scholastic season was interrupted by a spill he took on a bicycle. But Dartmouth is getting two of the best players in the state’s most talented golf league.
   Another big name headed for the Dartmouth women’s program is Radnor senior Jamie Susanin, the PIAA East Regional champion who led the Red Raiders to the PIAA Class AAA team title. Fahey and Susanin are both members at Overbrook Golf Club.
It’s been quite a year
   Seems like just yesterday I almost fell off the couch when Louie Oosthuizen holed out his second shot on the par-5 second hole at Augusta for a double eagle in the final round of The Masters.
  And it took an equally great shot by Bubba Watson out of the woods in the playoff to beat the sweet-swinging South African in the first major of 2012.
  Did somebody say Woods? It’s been just more than three years since the wheels fell off of Tiger’s marriage and he hasn’t added to his total of major professional championships since winning the 2008 U.S. Open on one leg at Torrey Pines for number 14.
   Woods had some fast starts in majors this year, but the third-round fades are starting to look as inevitable as the victories used to be.
   Having said that, he is a threat to win anytime he tees it up. Four years ago, as Woods rehabbed his surgically repaired leg, you might have thought he’d be approaching, if to ready to surpass, Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 majors by the time he arrived in Delaware County for the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club’s historic East Course.
   It is pretty amazing how much golf history has been writ at Merion East. Maybe it was just meant to be that Woods will finally end his majorless streak there and join the roster of champions that includes Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Nicklaus and Lee Trevino in the process.
   Meanwhile back in 2012, Webb Simpson showed true grit and talent in winning the Open at Olympic. And probably hastened the process of the slow ban that is now under way on his weapon of choice on the greens, the suddenly sort-of outlawed belly putter.
   And Ernie Els added a little to a resume that had already earned him a spot in golf’s Hall of Fame by winning the British. In this case, the belly putter couldn’t prevent the meltdown over the final holes that cost Adam Scott a first major that seemed to be his.
  But the real fun in 2012 started when Rory McIlroy took over the game with another major romp, this time in the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.
   By time the smoke cleared at year’s end,  McIlroy had won the money titles on both the PGA and European tours, matching Luke Donald’s feat of a year ago, and was the unquestioned No. 1 player in the world.
   He got a little help along the way from his new girlfriend, Caroline Wozniacki, the attractive and talented tennis star who spent quite a bit of time as the No. 1-ranked player in the world with nary a Grand Slam title to show for it. She got there by outworking everybody while Serena Williams was hurt and her work ethic has worn off on a noticeably fitter and stronger McIlroy.
  Which brings us to the Ryder Cup.
   The meltdown at Medinah was three days of incredible golf, even if U.S. fans felt like they got punched in the gut at the end. McIlroy certainly added to the intrigue of the final day by nearly missing his tee time for his singles match. Central time, Eastern time. Whatever? It’s the middle of the next day in Malaysia.
  For two days, it was an American lovefest – and the fans in Chicago were as much a part of the show as the players – as the U.S. built a seemingly insurmountable lead.
   Nobody had more to do with the European comeback than that quirky Brit Ian Poulter. He talked a little Ryder Cup last week with Doug Ferguson, who covers golf for The Associated Press.
   For all the angst about how U.S. captain Davis Love III set up the singles pairings and the spirit of Seve Ballesteros and whatever else you want to attribute the U.S. defeat to, Poulter, who had recently seen the Ryder Cup highlights for the first time, said you could narrow it down to two shots – Steve Stricker’s poor chip shot on the 17th hole that enabled Martin Kaymer to get the clinching point on the 18th hole and Justin Rose’s 35-foot bomb of a birdie putt, also on the 17th hole, that squared his match with Phil  Mickelson.
   If Poulter faults DL3 for anything, it was the pin placement on 17. Poulter thinks a pin on the left side would have aided the American players, most of whom favor a right-to-left shot.
  For those of us who enjoy the women’s game just as much as the men, it was  nice to see an American woman – and a gritty, talented American woman at that – finish the year as the LPGA’s best player in 2012 as Stacy Lewis had a rock-solid campaign.
   Yani Tseng, who appeared on her way to dominating the women’s game the way Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa once did, stalled in 2012 and Lewis, among others, was there to fill the void.
  Na Yeon Choi, one of my personal favorites among the many great South Korean players, won the Women’s U.S. Open in dominant fashion. I expect there are more major championships in the future for a player who just goes about the business of trying to beat the golf course every time she tees it up.
   Scott wasn’t the only player to let a major get away in 2012. The major season began with another of the talented South Korean women, I.K. Kim, needing just a tap-in to win the Kraft-Nabisco Championship.
   Her horrified expression when the one-footer caught the edge of the cup and spun out is one  the average golfer knows all too well. Kim would lose the title in a playoff to countrywoman Sun Young Yoo and put a scare into television commentators everywhere who routinely “concede” short putts to the best players in the world.
   Here’s hoping I.K. can get that major that so rudely eluded her sometime soon,  maybe in 2013.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Brown wins Junior Tour stop at Paxon Hollow

   The Philadelphia Section PGA’s Junior Tour concluded its extensive 2012 tournament schedule right here in Delaware County Nov. 10 at Paxon Hollow Country Club and, as you might imagine, plenty of Delco juniors took advantage of the unseasonably warm temperatures and teed it up.
   Strath Haven senior Jared Brown had the low round of the day, a 1-over 72, to outduel Springfield High PIAA qualifier Kyle Hakun by three shots and take top honors in the 16-to-18 division. Hakun, also a senior, posted a 75.
Penncrest sophomore Griffin Colvin fired an 82 to finish atop the 13-to-15 division.
   Michael Sydnes of Bryn Mawr was second with an 85 and Broomall’s Alec Kerr, coming off a solid freshman season at Cardinal O’Hara, was third with an 86.
   Joey Del Franco of Broomall finished in a tie for seventh with a 90.
   In the girls 13-to-15 division, Boothwyn’s Caprian Kan finished second with a 95 and Kaitlyn Lees of Bryn Mawr placed fourth with a 99.
   Among the nine-holers, Kevin Smith of Wallingford finished in a tie for third with a 42.
   The weather wasn’t nearly as nice a week earlier when Walnut Lane G.C. was the next-to-last stop on the Junior Tour schedule.
   But Gabriella Kim of Wayne posted an 83 to finish second in the girls 13-to-15 division. Lees of Bryn Mawr was third with an 88 and Boothwyn’s Kan finished fifth with a 95.
   Penncrest’s Colvin also battled the elements to finish sixth in the boys 13-to-15 division with an 80.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Solid finish to fall season for Calamaro, Illinois

   Jackie Calamaro, the 2009 PIAA champion as a senior at Radnor, and her Illinois teammates got a taste of some big-time competition at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational, which concluded Tuesay at the University of Texas Course.
Calamaro, a redshirt sophomore, had steady rounds of 83, 80 and 82 to finish 77th at 245.
   After struggling with rounds of 312 and 317, the Fighting Illini posted their best round of the fall, a 298, which bettered seven teams in the elite field for the day. Overall, Illinois finished last of 15 at 927.
   It was an encouraging finish for Illinois, which was led by sophomore Pimploy Thirati. She finished with a career-best 1-under 71 in Tuesday’s final round to finish 37th at 225.
   The Illini also got strong final-round showings from junior Emily Schuldt and redshirt sophomore and Texas transfer Samantha Postillion, both of whom carded 2-over 74s. Schuldt finished in a tie for 50th at 228 and Postillion finished in a tie for 60th at 232.
   Freshman Michelle Meyer finished 80th at 250.
   Reigning NCAA champion Alabama shared team honors with SEC rival Florida at 863. The two schools also accounted for the two names at the top of the individual leaderboard as the Crimson Tide’s Jennifer Kirby (69-69-70) shared individual medalist honors with the Gators’ Camilla Hedberg (71-67-70) at 8-under 208.
   The Betsy Rawls Longhorn was the final event on the Illini’s fall schedule. They’ll return to action Feb. 3 with the Illinois Challenge in Venice, Fla.
Purdue runs into Sandy

   The Purdue women’s golf team only got in one full round as The Landfall Tradition, held at the Country Club of Landfall’s Jack Nicklaus Course in Wilmington, N.C., had an unwanted guest when Hurricane Sandy started to flex her considerable muscle in the second day of the scheduled three-day event.
   The Boilermakers, ranked 14th in the nation, ended up in a tie for third with a 295 total. Oklahoma State claimed the title with a 293 total with Duke a shot back at 294.
   Purdue was led by senior Kishi Sinha, who finished in a tie for fifth with a solid 71. Freshman Margaux Vanmol was another shot back in a tie for 11th at 72. Senior Paul Reto, who was the individual medalist at The Landfall a year ago, finished in a tie for 31st at 75 and senior Laura Gonzalez-Escallon was another shot back in a tie for 36th at 76.
   Reto’s performance a year ago had led the Boilermakers to the team title at The Landfall. The Country Club of Landfall is also the scene of one of Purdue’s finest moments as it claimed the 2010 NCAA crown at the Pete Dye Course.
   Sophomore Aurora Kan, the three-time Daily Times Player of the Year when she was at Chichester, had a 79 and finished in a tie for 65th. Kan was coming off her best collegiate performance, a tie for seventh at the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Challenge.
   Hurricane Sandy cut short Purdue’s final event of the fall season. The Boilermakers will return to action when they play host at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic Feb. 10 to 12 in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.

Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour

   A couple of up-and-coming players teed it up in a Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour stop Oct. 27 at The Links G.C. in Marlton, N.J.
   Gabriella Kim, whom Radnor coach Andy Achenbach thinks may be joining the lineup of his reigning PIAA Class AAA champion Red Raiders next fall, fired a 91 to finish third in the 13-to-15 age group.
   A shot behind Kim in fourth place with a 92 was Caprian Kan, a Boothwyn resident and younger sister of 2010 PIAA champion Aurora Kan.
   Katie Lee of Ringoes, N.J. took top honors in the division with an 88. Kaitlyn Lees of Bryn Mawr was second with a 90.
Great Valley junior Sawyer Wolfers lost in a match of scorecards for top honors in the boys 16-to-18 division to Gregory Szrom of Egg Harbor Township, N.J. after both carded 77s.
   Garnet Valley sophomore Michael Stanilka finished in a tie for 11th with a 91.
   In the boys 13-to-15 division, Jacob Liberman of Radnor finished in a tie for 11th with a 102.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Radnor girls remember the building blocks

   A few leftovers from a busy week of scholastic golf as the countdown to the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club’s East Course on a Sunday with Hurricane Sandy bearing down stands at 229 days.   There was an interesting dynamic involving the road the Radnor girls team took to what ultimately became this week’s PIAA Class AAA championship.
   The senior co-captains on this year’s team, Jamie Susanin and Allie Ziegler, never failed to mention the seniors who had graduated before them, particularly Jackie Calamaro, who captained the 2009 team, and Caitlin Sullivan, captain of the 2011 team that broke through with a District One title, when they talked about how this year’s team became a state champion.
   Sullivan is in her first year at the Air Force Academy. She has just recently emerged from the communication blackout first-year students there are subjected to, so she was able to get a cellphone message from her former teammates with the good news from Heritage Hills. Before that, though, no cellphones, no texts, no email, no Facebook, no Twitter. What’s a modern-day teenager to do to get the latest news to their former teammate?

   Susanin and Ziegler were able to keep Sullivan informed earlier in the season via the long lost art of letter-writing.
“Pen and paper?” I asked the triumphant duo following their crowning moment.
   “We were writing her letters, letting her know how we were doing,” Susanin said beside a nodding Ziegler.
   “They called Sully and she was excited, and I’m sure they’ll get a hold of Jackie, if they haven’t called her already and she’ll be excited,” Radnor coach Andy Achenbach said.
   It will go down in the books as Radnor’s 2012 state championship team, but in the minds of this year’s captains, everybody that helped build the program could take pride in knowing that they had a hand in making it happen.
   In much the same spirit, it’s worth noting that even though the Red Raiders were able to throw out the 101 posted by junior Julieanne Horgan in Wednesday’s team competition, she is as much a part of the team as the four players whose scores counted. 
   Horgan has been there all along for last year’s District One and East Regional team titles and PIAA runnerup honors and again this fall for the district repeat and finally a state title.
   That's the 2012 PIAA Class AAA champion Radnor Red Raiders with their championship trophy at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in an image provided to T Mac Tees Off by Suzanne Ziegler, mother of Allie. The group includes: From left, head coach Andy Achenbach, Julieanne Horgan, co-captains Allie Ziegler and Jamie Susanin, Julia Curley, Brynn Walker and assistant coach Steve Burns.

Broomall’s Ryan leaves his mark at Heritage Hills

   St. Joseph Prep senior Mac Ryan, a Broomall resident and Overbrook G.C. member, teed it up at Heritage Hills as a member of the District 12 champion Hawks.
   Ryan’s solid 77 was the second-best score posted by the Prep, behind only the 76 carded by Kevin Kramarski. The Prep finished third in the Class AAA team standings at 312.

More from the Inter-Ac Tournament

   Managed to pick up a little more information on the Bert Linton Inter-Ac League Tournament, which was held Wednesday at Sunnybrook G.C.
   We were able to report in the Thursday Daily Times that Haverford School junior Cole Berman had repeated as the Inter-Ac individual champion by matching par with a 72 at Sunnybrook.
   Berman was followed by three of his teammates as two-time All-Delco Scott Jaster was the runnerup with a 76, Jay Losty was third with a 77 and Timmy Brooks had a 78.
   What we didn’t have that night was that Brooks finished in a three-way tie for fourth with Malvern Prep’s Michael Lemond and Germantown Academy’s Jake Niedosik.
   Episcopal Academy’s Joe Chambers was alone in seventh place with a 79. Episcopal senior Sean Fahey, who suffered an untimely injury midway through the fall season, shot an 80 and finished in a tie for eighth at that figure along with Ryan Tetrault of The Haverford School, Chris Dalglish of Springside Chestnut Hill and Brendan Papariello of Malvern Prep.
   Episcopal senior Alex Dupre had an 86.
Villanova finishes fall on a roll

   The first-place finish for former Haverford School standout Michael Kania and for Villanova in the team standings at last weekend’s Lehigh Invitational made the Daily Times as a brief item in the Monday, Oct. 22 edition.
   But the effort deserves to be expanded on. After all, it was the first tournament win for the Wildcats under Jim Wilkes.
   Kania, a two-time All-Delco and two-time Inter-Ac League champion during his time down Lancaster Avenue at The Haverford School, followed up an opening-round 68 at Saucon Valley C.C.’s Grace Course, site of two U.S. Senior Open championships, with a 75 for a 1-under 143 total that gave him his first tournament victory.
   The runnerup finish by Kania’s fellow senior Steve Skurla, who had rounds of 70 and 74 to finish a shot back of Kania, was also a career-best showing for him.
   Cory Siegfried, The Haverford School All-Delco who is using up his eligibility while studying for a master’s degree on the Main Line, finished in a tie for third at 2-over 146.
   And the third member of the Wildcats’ Haverford School connection, sophomore Ted Brennan, a Newtown Square resident, finished sixth at 3-over 147. Brennan’s improved play might be as big a story as any during a fine fall campaign for the Wildcats.
   Villanova followed up a sizzling 284 team total on Day One with a second-round 296 for a 580 total that left the Wildcats 16 shots clear of runnerup Rutgers.
   Villanova will put the sticks away for a while. The Wildcats don’t return to tournament play until early March at the VCU Harmony Golf Invitational in Orlando, Fla.
   Luke Edelman of Bucknell was one of the players who shared third place in the Lehigh Invitational with Siegfried at 146, leading the Bison to a fifth-place finish in the team standings.
   Another Bucknell player who is having a fine fall season is senior Dan Bernard, a Malvern Prep product who is a member at Aronimink G.C. Bernard finished in a tie for 21st at Saucon Valley with a 155 total.
   Bernard’s performance in September earned him Patriot Player of the Month honors.
   Bernard earned his first career tournament victory at the Bucknell Invitational, edging Edelman by two shots. He was Bucknell’s first individual winner at any tournament since Andrew Cohen captured the Lafayette Invitational in the spring of 2010.
   Bernard was also the Bison’s low player in two other September events. He finished tied for fourth at the Cornell Invitational and tied for 10th at the Colgate Invitational.

Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour
Garnet Valley junior Jack Highfill remains active on the Philadelphia Section PGA Junior Tour’s fall swing.
Highfill posted an 85 in a Junior Tour stop at Honeybrook G.C. Oct. 20 to finish sixth in the 16-to-18 division.
   Younger brother Noah finished 13th in the 13-to-15 age group with a 104. Daniel Bullock of Wayne was a shot better than Highfill in 12th place with a 103.
   Great Valley junior Sawyer Wolfers was an impressive winner of that age group with a 3-over 73.
   Among the nine-holers, Jacob Calamaro of Newtown Square finished fifth with a 46.

Forster takes match-play event

   Radnor Valley C.C. head pro George Forster claimed a 1-up victory over Hidden Valley G.C. pro Terry Hatch in the final to claim the Philadelphia Section PGA’s Match Play Championship Wednesday at Little Mill C.C. in Marlton, N.J.
   Forster took a 2-up lead when Hatch lost a hole after declaring a penalty on himself for moving a loose impediment in a bunker. But Hatch battled back by taking the 15th and 17th holes to draw even before Forster won it at the last.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Kan is in the swing at Purdue

   Aurora Kan, a three-time Daily Times Player of the Year at Chichester who is a sophomore at Purdue, had the best tournament of her college career when she finished seventh at the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championships last weekend.
   Kan had rounds of 73, 73 and 70 over the 6,447-yard, par-72 Holston Hills Country Club layout in Knoxville, Tenn. for an even-par 216 total.
   The Boilermakers, ranked 16th in the latest Golfweek poll, were led by senior Paula Reto, who claimed the individual title, her final-round 69 giving her a 5-under 211 total.
   Reto and Kan helped Purdue finish third in the team standings with an 872 total. The Boilermakers improved every day, posting rounds of 293, 291 and 288.
   Penn State was a surprising wire-to-wire team champion with rounds of 291, 289 and 287 for a 3-over 867 total. Host Tennessee finished second, a shot better than Purdue at 871.
  Also for Purdue, senior Laura Gonzalez-Escallon (76-73-75) and redshirt senior Kishi Sinha (75-75-74) were among the players in a tie for 32nd at 224. Freshman Margaux Vanmol finished in a tie for 40th at 226 (74-74-78). Freshman Brooke Beegle competed as an individual and tied for 62nd at 234 (76-76-82).
   Among the players who shared seventh place individually with Kan was Penn State’s low scorer, Ellen Ceresko. It was Ceresko, a North Pocono product, whom Kan beat in the semifinals on her way to the 2010 Pennsylvania Women’s Amateur championship at Whitemarsh Valley C.C. just prior to Kan’s senior season at Chi.
   Earlier this month, Purdue finished 13th in the Liz Murphy Fall Preview, held at the University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Ga. The 2013 NCAA Tournament will be held at the same University of Georgia layout.
North Carolina captured the team title with a final-round 290 that enabled the Tar Heels to finish at 876 and edge reigning national champion Alabama by four shots.
   Purdue was steady, but unspectacular with rounds of 300, 301 and 301 for a 902 total.
   Reto contended for individual honors with a pair of 71s in the first two rounds before falling back with a 76 that left her in a tie for 14th at 2-over 218.
   Gonzalez-Escallon finished in a tie for 45th at 227 (74-79-74), Kan (78-77-76) and Kishi (77-75-79) were among five players in a tie for 66th at 231 and Vanmol (80-78-75) finished in a tie for 75th at 233.
Villanova relying on its Haverford School connection

   Led by senior captain Michael Kania, a two-time All-Delco, and a couple of other former Haverford School standouts, Villanova has been putting together a solid string of tournament showings heading into its fall finale this weekend at the Lehigh Invitational.
   As was reported briefly in the Oct. 15 print edition of the Daily Times, the Wildcats finished seventh in the team standings at last weekend’s Big 5 Invitational held at Philmont Country Club. Villanova posted a 307 total on Day 1 and 310 the second day for a 617 total.
   That left them a frustrating one shot back of Temple for low-Big 5 in the field as the Owls, led by talented freshman Brandon Matthews, who won the individual title, improved from an opening-round 310 with a 306 to just edge Villanova.
Senior Derek Jones led Villanova with rounds of 75 and 77 for a 12-over 152 total that left him in a tie for 12th.
   Kania, out of the strong stable of Overbrook G.C. players, led the ’Cats’ Haverford School group with rounds of 78 and 75 for a 153 total that gave him a tie for 15th.
   Cory Siegfried, a two-time All-Delco who was a teammate of Kania’s at the beginning of his scholastic career, played the bulk of his collegiate career at the University of Virginia, but had some eligibility left when he started studying for a masters on the Main Line. A member at Philadelphia C.C., Siegfried had rounds of 76 and 79 at Philmont to finish in a tie for 23rd.
   Sophomore Ted Brennan, a Newtown Square resident who was a sophomore with the Fords when Kania was a senior, had rounds of 78 and 79 at Philmont for a 157 total that left him in a tie for 35th. Brennan, like Siegfried, is a member at Philadelphia C.C. Senior Steve Skurla struggled on the tricky Philmont greens with rounds of 80 and 85 for a 165 total that left him in a tie for 71st.
   Senior Jimmy Johnston, a Wayne resident and former Malvern Prep standout, competed as an individual for the ’Cats and finished a shot back of Skurla at 166 (82-84)  in a tie for 80th.
   Another Haverford School All-Delco, Nelson Hargrove, led Brown to a 14th-place finish with a 637 total. Hargrove finished in a tie for 30th with rounds of 77 and 79 for a 156 total.
   Matthews has been a big story in the area with his fast start at Temple. He carded a 1-under 69 in the second round to claim the individual title at 5-over 145.
   Two years ago, Matthews put on a scintillating display in winning the PIAA title as a junior at Pittston. He was a state medalist again last fall at the Heritage Hills Golf Resort.
   And he grabbed one the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s major titles when he won the rain-shortened Patterson Cup at Philadelphia C.C.  in August.
   Another name familiar to followers of Central League golf, former Lower Merion standout Greg Jarmas, finished in a tie for second at Philmont in leading Princeton to a fifth-place finish in the team standings.
   Jarmas, the runnerup at the 2009 PIAA Tournament, had rounds of 71 and 75 for a 146 total. Jarmas also fell in the final of the GAP Amateur Championship to former Villanova standout Brian Colbert in June. Princeton was fifth at 610.
   Jarmas shared second place with Bryce Edmister (73-73—146), who led Binghamton to third in the team standings at 612. 
  Hartford, with an impressive second-day team total of 291 that enabled it to vault past 12 teams it trailed after Day 1, captured the team title at 609, a shot better than Sacred Heart.
   Heading into the Big 5 Invitational, Villanova was coming off a third-place finish in the CHAMPS/Patriot Intercollegiate in Lorton, Va. a couple of weeks earlier.
   Kania had rounds of 71, 72 and 68 and finished in a tie for second in the individual standings at 2-under 211. Skurla also had a big weekend with rounds of 72, 71 and 69 that left him in a tie for fourth at 1-under 212.
   Siegfried (75-75-74—224), Jones (78-74-75—227) and Johnston (86-75-75—236) rounded out the top five for Villanova. Brennan competed as an individual and finished tied for 56th with rounds of 74, 79 and 79 for a 232 total.
   Kania’s performance, combined with his tie for third at the Adams Cups of Newport in Newport, R.I. and a tie for 19th in the season-opening Turning Stone Tiger Intercollegiate, earned him Big East Player of the Month honors.
   It was the first time the two-time Inter-Ac League champion had won the Player of the Month award.
   Also at the CHAMPS/Patriot Intercollegiate, Delaware freshman Braden Shattuck, the 2011-12 Daily Times Player of the Year at Sun Valley, finished in a tie for 19th with rounds of 74, 70 and 76 for a 220 total.
   Senior Ben Conroy finished in a tie for 10th at 215 (73-68-74) to lead the way for the Blue Hens, who finished fifth in the team standings.

Calamaro helps Illini finish in tie for eighth

   Illinois redshirt sophomore Jackie Calamaro, the 2009 PIAA champion as a senior at Radnor, finished 48th in helping the Illini share eighth place with Big Ten rival Iowa at the Hoosier Fall Invitational last weekend.
Calamaro had rounds of 83, 78 and 81 over the 6,119-yard, par-72 Belterra Resort Course.
   For the third time in four tournaments, the Illini were led by redshirt sophomore Samantha Postillion, who had a final-round 79 to finish in a tie for 20th at 231.
   Illinois came into the final round in fifth place after a strong 304 score in the middle round, but fell back to 324 in blustery conditions last Sunday to end up at 938. Illinois opened with a 309.
   Wisconsin posted a final-round 302 and made up a 16-shot deficit to finish at 894, two shots better than Indiana.
Illinois also got solid showings from sophomore Pimploy Thirati (233, tied for 26th), juniior Ember Schuldt (234, tied for 31st), and freshman Michelle Mayer (245, 56th).
   Also teeing it up at the Hoosier was Delaware. Sophomore Amanda Terzian, an Episcopal Academy product, had rounds of 80, 78 and 88 for a 246 total that left her in a tie for 57th. Terzian and the Blue Hens posted a team total of 879, which left them last in the field of 13th.

Jaster completes dominant regular season

   Haverford School senior Scott Jaster, a two-time All-Delco, will be coming off a dominant run through the regular season when he tees it up in the Bert Linton Inter-Ac League Tournament this week.
   The Inter-Ac tourney, which crowns the league’s individual champion, was originally scheduled to be played Monday, Oct. 22 at Philadelphia Cricket Club, but has been moved to Wednesday, Oct. 24 at Sunnybrook G.C. Wednesday’s tournament will be contested at 18 holes.
   But there is no doubt as to the identity of the top individual player during the Inter-Ac’s regular-season run of six mini-tournaments that concluded Thursday with Penn Charter hosting at Huntingdon Valley C.C.
   Jaster carded a 2-over 37 at Huntingdon Valley to share medalist honors with teammates Timmy Brooks, also a senior, and junior Ryan Tetrault. Junior All-Delco Cole Berman was another two shots back at 39.
   Jaster’s record against the rest of the league throughout the six mini-tournaments was a remarkable 269-3-10 and the Inter-Ac may very well be the most competitive golf circuit in the state.
   Twice, when Episcopal Academy hosted at Merion G.C.’s West Course and when the Fords hosted at Gulph Mills G.C., Jaster beat the field. Two other times he shared medalist honors.
   Berman, the 2012 Golf Association of Philadelphia Junior Player of the Year, finished second with an overall record of 246-23-13. Brooks finished third at 234-26-22.
   It was a really remarkable regular season for the Fords. Jake Van Arkel finished sixth, Tetrault seventh, Otis Baker ninth, Max Siegfried 12th and Jay Losty 15th, giving Haverford School eight of the top 15 players in the league.
   Senior Alex Dupre was Episcopal Academy’s top player as he finished eighth in the overall standings.
   Dupre’s pal and fellow EA senior Sean Fahey bounced back from an injury to fire a 38 Thursday at Huntingdon Valley, which gave him a share of fourth that day.
   Overall Fahey finished 20th, despite missing two of the mini-tournaments.

Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour

   With their scholastic seasons ending a little sooner than they had hoped, Garnet Valley teammates Jack Highfill, a junior, and Michael Stankila, a sophomore, took out their frustrations Oct. 13 in a Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour stop at Sussex Pines C.C.
   Highfill fired an 81 to take top honors in the 16-to-18 age group and Stankila was two shots behind him in second place with an 83.
   A younger Highfill, Noah, finished sixth in the 13-to-15 age group wioth a 106.
   Among the nine-holers, Newtown Square resident Jacob Calamaro finished fourth with a 56.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

These girls can really play

   A few leftovers from the District One Tournament and some other scholastic golf notes as a six-pack of Delco golfers — found out about a couple of Archbishop Carroll boys who will be representing the Catholic League and District 12 in Class AA — head for the East Regional Tournament at Golden Oaks Country Club Tuesday.

   In 2000, when there was no regional tournament, Radnor’s Lauren Eveland posted a 167 total in the District One Tournament at Wyncote Golf Club and earned a spot in the PIAA Tournament field.
   Since then, the talent level in District One among the girls has surged and last week’s district tournament provided ample evidence of that fact.
   It was pretty astounding when Isabella Dilisio of Mount St. Joseph fired the first shot on Day 1 of the girls tournament Tuesday at Gilbertsville Golf Club when she posted a remarkable 5-under 66.
   Conditions were wet over the Red and White nines, which measured 5,119 yards. Players were allowed to lift, clean and place their balls all over the golf course. But 66 is 66.
   And then 15 minutes later, another 66, this one by talented Pennsbury sophomore Jackie Rogowicz, went up on the board.
   And neither one of these girls was Erica Herr, who had won this event the past two years, denying eventual 2010 PIAA champion Aurora Kan of Chichester a fourth straight district title in Herr’s freshman year.
   All Herr did Tuesday at Gilbertsville was shoot a 1-over 72, a figure that was matched by her little sister, freshman Madeline Herr.
   Erica Herr, Rogowicz and Dilisio finished 1-2-3, respectively, at the PIAA Tournament at the Heritage Hills Golf Resort a year ago, so it wasn’t a total shock that they would be ahead of the pack.
   Surely at a longer Turtle Creek for Day 2 Wednesday with the wind starting to blow as it often does at the Turtle, the scores would be significantly higher.
   Higher, yes. Significantly? Not really.
   Dilisio fired a 1-under 71 to take the title at 6-under 137. Rogowicz matched par at 72, despite a quadruple bogey nine on the 18th hole — her ninth of the day — to finish a shot back of Dilisio at 5-under 138. Rogowicz was 4-under on the back nine — again her first nine holes — until she dumped two balls in the water on the 18th.
   Two-time defending champion Erica Herr couldn’t make up the big first-round deficit, but had the low round of the day, a sparkling 2-under 70 to finish alone in third place at 1-under 142. Little sister Madeline fell back with an 81, but still claimed fourth place alone at 153.
   Radnor senior Jamie Susanin, who led the Red Raiders to the district team title on Day 1 at Gilbertsville, claimed fifth all alone at 155 (74-81) and her freshman teammate Brynn Walker was alone in sixth place at 159 (76-83).
   Walker is friendly with the Herr sisters from playing with them at AJGA and other junior events. But she also made it sound as though she feels she can compete with them.
   Garnet Valley sophomore Annika Vandayar, who is a very nice player, was the most obvious victim of the vast improvement on the girls scene. Vandayar posted an opening-round 79 at Gilbertsville, but her second-round 86 at the Turtle left her outside the eight regional qualifiers at 165. Again, 12 years ago that 165 gets her a top-five district finish and a trip to states.
   The other remarkable thing about Dilisio’s opening-round 66 was that the Radnor girls were able to overcome that score and still beat Mount St. Joe to  win their second straight district team crown by four shots.
   In addition to Susanin’s 74 and Walker’s 76, the Red Raiders got a solid 79 from sophomore Julia Curley and an 81 from senior Allie Ziegler — a co-captain along with Susanin. As Ziegler pointed out after the waiting was over, the Red Raiders improved 32 shots from their title-winning score from a year ago at Gilbertsville and it almost wasn’t good enough.
   Golf is such an individual endeavor, it doesn’t always lend itself to a team dynamic. But the Radnor girls play better for each other than they do for themselves.
   As Curley lamented her second-round 92 on Day 2 at Turtle Creek, Ziegler threw an arm around her and said, “Yeah, but you were there when we needed you (Tuesday).”
Carroll sends Henry, McCarthy to regionals

   The introduction of another classification in PIAA golf, Class AA, didn’t seem to make much difference on the Delco scholastic scene. Or did it?
   Glen Mills golf coach Steve Natalie, who does a super job running the district tournament each year, informed me that Archbishop Carroll would be representing District 12 in a Class AA subregional three-time tournament Friday at Turtle Creek.
   The field would include the Patriots, District One champion New Hope and Notre Dame (Green Pond) from District Eleven.
   Notre Dame edged New Hope by two shots, 338-340, to earn the berth in the state team competition. Carroll was a ways back at 393.
   But in corresponding with Carroll coach Kevin McCarthy, I discovered that two of his players, senior Sean Henry and sophomore Mike McCarthy, had earned individual berths in Tuesday’s East Regional Tournament at Golden Oaks.
   Carroll’s other players who teed it up in Friday’s PIAA subregional were senior Sean Monahan, junior Steve Truitt and sophomore Matt Burns. Rounding out the squad that was crowned the Catholic League’s Class AA champion are seniors Ryan Burkitt and Adam Baer and freshman James O’Toole.
Jaster, Haverford School remain hot

   Haverford School played host to Inter-Ac League mini-tournament No. 4 Monday at Gulph Mills Golf Club and two-time All-Delco Scott Jaster remained red-hot, taking medalist honors for the day with a 34.
   Jake Van Arkel added a 35, All-Delco Cole Berman and Max Siegfried posted 38s, Ryan Tetrault had a 39 and Timmy Brooks and Jay Losty each had 40 as the Fords’ 224 total was 19 shots clear of runnerup Malvern Prep (243).
   With senior Sean Fahey out of the lineup with an injury, Episcopal Academy settled for third place at 252. Senior Alex Dupre led the way for the Churchmen with a 37.
   Malvern Prep was scheduled to host mini-tournament No. 5 Tuesday at Waynesborough C.C., but those results have yet to be posted. The sixth and final mini-tournament is scheduled for this Thursday, Oct. 18, with Penn Charter playing host at Huntingdon Valley C.C.
   The Bert Linton Inter-Ac League Tournament is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 22 with the league’s top players teeing it up at Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Militia Hill course.

Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour

   Springfield senior Kyle Hakun tuned up for the District One Tournament with a third-place finish in the 16-to-18 division in a Philadelphia Section PGA Junior Tour stop Oct. 6 at Green Valley C.C.
  Hakun carded an 81 in windy conditions over the 6,611-yard, par-71 Green Valley layout. The preparation paid dividends when the Central League champion battled back from an opening-round 77 with a second-round 74 at Turtle Creek to earn one of the 16 qualifying berths to this week’s East Regional Tournament at Golden Oaks C.C.
   In the 13-to-15 division, Penncrest sophomore Griffin Colvin finished second with a 78.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

McDermott back in form at Crump Cup

   Michael McDermott, the five-time winner of the Hyndman Trophy that goes to the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Player of the Year, took a planned break from competitive golf in 2010 to give his young family and his work the attention they deserved.
   He took another break this year, but this one was not planned. A digestive illness landed him in the hospital and kept him off the golf course for six weeks.
   The illness cost him a chance to compete in this summer’s Philadelphia Open at the famed Pine Valley Golf Club in South Jersey. McDermott is a member at Merion Golf Club, site of the 2013 U.S. Open, but like many top amateur players in this area, he maintains a membership at Pine Valley as well, so he had to be disappointed to not be able to tee it up in one of the few events on the GAP circuit that he has yet to win.
   But last weekend the 37-year-old, who starred scholastically at Haverford High and collegiately at Saint Joseph’s University, got the next best thing. He won the 88th edition of the Crump Cup, an annual event at Pine Valley that draws top amateur players from all over the country.
   McDermott downed Kevin Marsh of Henderson, Nev., 2 and 1, in the final after going to the 19th hole to edge Gene Elliott of West Des Moines, Iowa in the semifinals.
   The story of the early part of the tournament was the play of Mike McCoy, who took the qualifying medal with record-shattering scores unseen around the difficult Pine Valley layout that is carved out of the pine barrens.
   The 49-year-old McCoy, like Elliott a resident of West Des Moines, Iowa, has been one of the country’s top amateur players for years. He broke the competitive course record with an opening-round 64 and then added a second-round 65 for a 129 total that broke the Crump Cup qualifying record by seven shots. McDermott was the qualifying runnerup, a distant 13 shots back of McCoy.
   But after winning two matches, the magic suddenly wore off for McCoy, who was dusted, 7 and 6, by Marsh in the semifinals.
   That set the stage for McDermott to beat Marsh for the title. If there were any doubts that McDermott can still play the game at a high level, they were answered last weekend.

Haverford School sweeps again

   The Haverford School put its talent and depth on display again as the Fords swept the field in the Inter-Ac League’s third mini-tournament of the season Sept. 27 at Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Militia Hill Course. Springside Chestnut Hill Academy hosted the mini-tournament.
   That makes the Fords 3-for-3 halfway through the six mini-tournaments that determine the league champion. Haverford School is gunning for a third straight Inter-Ac League crown.
   Seniors Scott Jaster and Timmy Brooks and junior Cole Berman led the way with 37s. Max Siegfried and Jay Losty checked in with 39s and the Fords could take their pick for the final counter on their team total from one of the three 40s posted by Jake Van Arkel, Ryan Tetrault and Otis Baker.
   It added up to a 229 total, 13 shots clear of Episcopal Academy and Malvern Prep, which shared second place at 242.
Episcopal was led by seniors Sean Fahey and Alex Dupre and sophomore Joe Chambers, each with 40.
Germantown Academy’s Lane Udis captured medalist honors for the day with a 36.
   A look at the individual player records through three mini-tournaments shows more evidence of the Fords’ depth. All-Delcos Jaster and Berman are 1-2 with Jaster’s record at 132-3-6 and Berman at 123-11-7.
   As was noted at the top of the last blog post, Jaster was recently named a member of the AJGA’s 2012 HP Scholastic Junior All-America team.
   The Fords have seven players among the top 17 with Baker fourth, Brooks sixth, Siegfried 10th, Tetrault 14th and Van Arkel 17th.
   The Inter-Ac took a break last week. The players get back in action with back-to-back mini-tournaments, the first hosted by The Haverford School at Gulph Mills G.C. Monday (Oct. 8) and the second hosted by Malvern Prep at Waynesborough C.C. Tuesday (Oct. 9).

Pellegrini one of The Citadel’s stalwarts

   Erica Pellegrini, a two-time All-Delco and two-time PIAA medalist at Garnet Valley, has been occasionally spectacular in the fall part of her junior season with the Bulldogs.
   The Citadel was close to home for last week’s South Carolina State Bulldog Invitational held at Patriots Point in Charleston, S.C.
   Sophomore Kellie Anderson paced the Bulldogs with a 237 total to finish 20th.
   Pellegrini was just a shot back at 238, a total that featured an opening round of 2-under 70 over the 5,799-yard, par-72 layout. Pellegrini ballooned to a 90 in the second round before recovering with a final-round 77.
   Anderson and Pellegrini led the Bulldogs to a 953 total (310-323-320) that enabled them to finish fifth in the team standings. Wofford, The Citadel’s Southern Conference rival, won the team title with an 884 total. Wofford was followed by Bethune-Cookman (895), host South Carolina State (931) and Towson (952), which was just a shot better than the Bulldogs.
   In mid-September, Pellegrini had another 70, again a 2-under total, over the 5,932-yard, par-72 Waynesville Inn, Golf Resort and Spa layout in Waynesville, N.C., on her way to a 24th-place finish in the Great Smokies Intercollegiate.
Pellegrini’s 70 came after an opening-round 79 and she was The Citadel’s top finisher in the event, leading the Bulldogs to a tie for 13th in the team standings at 627 (320-307).
   Morehead State captured the team title with rounds of even-par 288 and 1-under 287. Tournament host Western Carolina was the runnerup, seven shots back of Morehead State at 582.

Lutz upset at U.S. Senior Amateur

   Chip Lutz, the reigning Canadian and British Senior Amateur champion from Reading, looked like he had designs on adding the U.S. Senior Amateur crown to his trophy case.
   Lutz had a pair of 70s in qualifying at the 6,745-yard, par-71 Mountain Ridge C.C. layout in West Caldwell, N.J. for a 2-under 140. That left him in a tie for fourth place, just four shots back of medalist Jim Holtgrieve, the U.S. Walker Cup captain who led the qualifying with a pair of 68s for a 6-under 136 total.
   But Jim Knoll of Sunnyvale, Calif., knocked Lutz out with a 1-up victory in the opening round of match play.
   George “Buddy” Marucci, the winning U.S. Walker Cup team captain in 2007 and again in 2009 at his home course, Merion G.C.’s famed East Course, missed the cutoff for match play with rounds of 78 and 74 for a 10-over 152 total. The cut fell at 7-over 149.
   Marucci won the U.S. Senior Amateur title in between his Walker Cup captaincy years in 2008. It was the first USGA title for Marucci, who lost to that Tiger Woods fella in the 1995 U.S. Amateur final.
   Don Donatoni of Malvern also missed match play. He opened with a solid 2-over 73, but fell back in the second round with a 78 to finish at nine-over 151.

Philly seniors settle for second

   The 24th Senior Challenge Matches were held Tuesday at Whitemarsh Valley C.C. and the Golf Association of Philadelphia squad finished second.
   Overbrook G.C.’s Ray Thompson, Saucon Valley C.C.’s Tom Bartolacci Jr. and Lancaster C.C.’s Martin Detweiler led the GAP team as each fired a 76 over the Whitemarsh Valley layout that was once home to a regular PGA Tour stop.
The GAP team compiled a 468 total that left them seven shots back of the Maryland State Golf Association team.
Donatoni, just back from his U.S. Senior Amateur appearance, chipped in with a 77 for Team GAP. The 82 posted by Overbrook’s Frank McFadden also counted. The Springhaven Club’s Rich Thon had an 83.
   Speaking of Merion’s East Course, the countdown until the 2013 U.S. Open tees off right here in Delaware County is at 250 days.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Jaster makes Scholastic Junior All-America Team

   Two-time Haverford School All-Delco Scott Jaster, a senior, has been named an HP Scholastic Junior All-American.
The honor was announced last week by the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA), which has recognized 12 boys and girls who demonstrate the ability to excel both on the golf course and the classroom since 1988.
   To be eligible to apply for the HP Scholastic Junior All-America Team, boys must have placed in the top 10 of an AJGA open regional championship or invitational. The selections were based on grade-point average, class rank, standardized test scores, community service and writing ability. Candidates were required to submit an essay no longer than 500 words on an original topic relating to golf.
   The HP Scholastic Junior All-America Team will be honored at the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet Nov. 18 at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The awards banquet will coincide with Polo Golf Junior Classic, which will be held at PGA National’s Champion and Fazio courses Nov. 17 to 23.
   Jaster has led The Haverford School to two straight Inter-Ac League titles. The first came at the end of his sophomore season, the last season the Inter-Ac competed in the spring. A few months later, at the beginning of his junior year, Jaster again helped the Fords claim the Inter-Ac title, this time in the circuit’s first fall campaign.
   Jaster finished in a tie for fifth in the Inter-Ac Tournament as a sophomore and in a tie for sixth last fall as a junior.
Jaster and the Fords appear well on their way to a third straight title with dominant performances in the first two mini-tournaments that determine the league champion.
   Jaster finished third in the 2012 Deutsche Bank Partners for Charity Junior Shoot Out, giving him three top-five performances in AJGA events. He scored 2,240 on the SAT and has achieved a weighted grade-point average of 4.7 in his first three years at The Haverford School.
   He is a memer of the varsity debate team and is president of the school’s Community Awareness Program.

Dupre at his best at Merion East

   As a member at Rolling Green G.C., Episcopal Academy senior Alex Dupre knows a thing or two about fast greens.
That knowledge undoubtedly came in handy when the Churchmen battled Catholic League powerhouse La Salle Wednesday at Merion G.C.’s historic East Course, site of the 2013 U.S. Open, and home to some pretty tricky green complexes.
   Dupre fired a 3-over 38 to lead the Churchmen to a 251-257 victory over the Explorers. Also scoring for Episcopal were senior standout Sean Fahey (41), Joe Chambers (42), Andrew Janetta (42), Trey Croney (44) and Cole Testaiuti (44).
  By the way, the countdown to the opening round of the 2013 U.S. Open teeing off in Delaware County stands at 257 days on this Ryder Cup Sunday.

Calamaro helps Illini take third

   Redshirt sophomore Jackie Calamaro, the 2009 PIAA champion at Radnor, got into the top 25 to help Illinois move up into a tie for third place in the team chase at the Wolverine Invitational that concluded last Sunday.
   A young group of Illinois players had struggled the first two times they teed it up this fall, but the Illini showed a lot more consistency and their final-round team total of 304 Sunday was the low team round of the tournament.
   Host Michigan and Florida International shared the team title at 930. Illinois ended up in a three-way tie for third with Xavier and Eastern Michigan, three shots back of the co-winners at 933.
   The Illini were led by junior Ember Schuldt and sophomore Michelle Mayer, who were among six players who finished in a tie for sixth at 232. Schuldt fired a final-round 72 and Mayer ended up with a 74, her best collegiate round.
   Samantha Postillion, like Calamaro a redshirt sophomore, had a final-round 77 to finish another shot back at 233 and alone in 12th place.
   Calamaro started off strong with a 76 and added an 80 and an 82 to finish in a tie for 23rd at 238 and sophomore Pimploy Thirati finished alone in 40th at 245.
   A couple of other local players teed it up at the Wolverine. Bucknell junior Lauren Bernard, a Notre Dame product and the 2011 Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia Amateur champion, finished alone in 61st place with rounds of 86, 81 and 86 for a 253 total.
   Delaware sophomore Amanda Terzian, an Episcopal Academy product, was another shot back of Bernard in a tie for 62nd at 254 after rounds of 79, 93 and 82.
   Bernard’s Bison were last in the field of 14 with a 1,004 total while Terzian’s Blue Hens finished 12th at 991.

Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour

   The Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour is still getting in some events in between a busy scholastic schedule and St. Joseph’s Prep senior Jim Callahan, a Springfield resident, fired a 75 to finish second in the 16-to-18 division in a stop at the short — just 4,494 yards —  par-66 Willow Valley G.C. near Lancaster Sept. 22.
   In the girls 13-to-15 division Gabriella Kim of Wayne carded an 83 to share the top spot with Phoebe Brinker of Wilmington, Del. Caprian Kan of Boothwyn finished fourth with a 92, Kaitlyn Lees of Bryn Mawr was fifth with a 95 and Yana Ilieva of Newtown Square was sixth with a 109.
   In the girls 16-to-18 division, Rada Ilieva of Newtown Square finished second with a 102.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ingraham captures Philly Section title

   Stu Ingraham is 52, but he’s not getting older, he’s getting better.
   The teaching pro at the M Golf Range in Newtown Square drained a 25-foot birdie putt on the third hole of sudden death at White Manor Country Club Friday to claim the Philadelphia Section PGA championship for the second time in his career.
   Ingraham had bogeyed the final hole of regulation to finish in a tie for first place with another of the Section’s super seniors, 60-year-old Greg Farrow, the head pro at Deerwood C.C. at 4-under 138.
   The tournament was originally scheduled to be a 54-hole event with players alternating between White Manor and St. Davids G.C. the first two days. But Tuesday’s drenching rains left St. Davids unplayable. So half the players got in their first round Wednesday, then waited while the other half of the field played Thursday. The field was then cut and the tournament concluded Friday.
   And it was Ingraham who got the job done, winning the title and all the perks that go with it, especially the $7,500 top prize. Ingraham followed up opening-round 70 with a 3-under 68 Friday to earn his place in the playoff with Farrow.
Ingraham will also lead 12 players from the section to the PGA Professional National Championship — the National Club Pro as it is commonly referred to — which will be held June 23 to 26 at the Sunriver Resort’s Crosswater and meadows course in Oregon.
   The top 20 finishers in that event, which carries a hefty $550,000 purse, will earn at spot in the PGA Championship, the last major of the year. The PGA will be held Aug. 8-11 at Oak Hill C.C. in Rochester, N.Y. Ingraham has followed that path to the PGA Championship six times in his career, most recently in 2010 when he earned a trip to Whistling Straits.
   Overbrook G.C. pro Eric Kennedy closed strong Friday with a 4-under 67 for a 3-under 139 total that left him in a tie for third. John Bierkan, the head of instruction at Aronimink G.C., was another two shots back at 1-under 141 in a tie for seventh. He had a 2-under 69 Friday.
   That means Kennedy and Bierkan will also be headed for the National Club Pro. Merion G.C. head of instruction Mark Sheftic finished at 3-over 145 and was just outside the top 12 who qualified for the National Club Pro, although he is one of the three alternates.
   Radnor Valley C.C. head pro George Forster Jr. finished at 5-over 147.
   Delco’s own Ed Dougherty is a past champion of the National Club Pro, representing the Philadelphia Section when he won.
   The other qualifiers for the National Club Pro included Rich Steinmetz, the Spring-Ford C.C. head pro who was going for three straight Philly Section titles, but came up a shot short of the playoff, Jake Gerney, Barry Dear, Travis Deibert, Terry Hatch, Brian Kelly, Dave McNabb and Rich Hughart.
Jaster powers Haverford School

   Senior Scott Jaster, Haverford School’s two-time All-Delco, took medalist honors for the day with a sparkling even-par 35 at Merion Golf Club’s West Course as the Fords again cruised to team honors in an Inter-Ac League mini-tournament hosted by Episcopal Academy Wednesday.
   Haverford School’s depth was on display again as junior Cole Berman, another returning All-Delco, struggled — if you can call it that — with a 4-over 39. Still his score counted, along with a pair of 36s registered by Timmy Brooks and Otis Baker, a 39 by Max Siegfried and a 41 by Jake Van Arkel.
   Brooks, a senior, and Baker, a sophomore, shared second place individually.
   That gave the Fords a 226 total, 10 shots better than Malvern Prep, which finished second at 236. Brendan Bacskai led the way for the Friars with a 37. He shared fourth individually with Penn Charter’s J.B. Bradbeer.
   Episcopal finished third at 242 with senior Sean Fahey and junior Andrew Janetta leading the way with 38s. Rounding out the scorers for the Churchmen were Alex Dupre with a 40, Austin Helms with a 43 and Trey Croney with a 44.

Kan, Purdue off to strong start

   Aurora Kan, the 2010 PIAA champion at Chichester and the 2010 Pennsylvania Women’s Amateur champion, finished 24th to help the Purdue women’s golf team open its season with a seven-shot victory at the Mary Fossum Invitational, which concluded Sunday.
   Kan, a sophomore on a very talented Purdue team that is ranked No. 22 in the Golf World/NGCA Preseason Coaches’ Poll, had rounds of 78, 74 and 76 for a total of 12-over 228 at the 6,236-yard, par-72 Forest Akers West Golf Course. The tournament was hosted by Michigan State.
   Kan helped Purdue post an 11-over 875 total that matched the 54-hole record for the Mary Fossum. The Boilermakers opened with a 288 and a 290 in Saturday’s first two rounds and finished up with a 297 total in Sunday’s final round.
Senior Paula Reto and freshman Margaux Vanmoi finished in a tie for fourth at 3-over 219 to lead the way for Purdue. Reto and senior Kishi Sinh were tied for first after two rounds with Reto firing rounds of 69 and 73 and Sinh posting a pair of 71s.
   Reto fell back with a 77 to share fourth with Vanmoi, the freshman from Belgium who was the 2011 British Junior Girls Amateur champion. Vanmoi had a final-round 73 after opening up with rounds of 74 and 72.
   Senior Laura Gonzalez-Escallon finished in a tie for sixth at 220 (74-75-71) and Sinh fell back to eighth at 221 with a final-round 79. Kan’s 24th-place finish gave Purdue five players in the top 25.
Freshman Brooke Beegle competed as an individual and had three straight 84s to tie for 88th at 252.
   The host Spartans took runnerup honors with an 882 (297-289-296) total. Notre Dame was another five shots in third place at 887 (298-290-299) in the 17-team field.

Pennsylvania settles for fourth
   Three players who finished in the top seven when the Pennsylvania Amateur was held at Rolling Green G.C. this summer represented the state at the USGA State Team Championship, which concluded Friday at Galloway National G.C., just outside Atlantic City, N.J.
   Andrew Mason, the former Temple standout who won his second straight state amateur title at Rolling Green, teamed with Nathan Smith, who recently won his fourth U.S. Mid-Amateur title, and Oakmont C.C. veteran Sean Knapp to finish fourth, eight shots back of team champion New York.
   The two lowest scores of the three-man teams count each day of the 54-hole event.
   Pennsylvania stood in third place, just three shots behind New York, heading into the final round following outstanding second-round scores of 71 by Smith and 73 by Knapp over the 6,963-yard, par-71 Galloway National layout.
   Knapp came in with a final-round 72, but Smith, who had to be running out of gas after successfully defending his U.S. Mid-Am title less than two weeks earlier, had a 76 and Mason couldn’t pick the team up as he posted a 78.
New York was led by 20-year-old Mike Miller, who fired a final-round 68 to lead the Empire State to a 428 total. Miller is a former Penn State player, but left the program making him eligible for this competition.
   Iowa finished second at 434, followed by Tennessee in third at 435 and then Pennsylvania in fourth, another shot back at 436.
   Smith, whose fourth U.S. Mid-Am title earlier this month was accomplished at Conway Farms G.C. in Lake Forest, Ill., is a truly remarkable story. The 34-year-old seemed something of an odd choice by George “Buddy” Marucci as the U.S. team’s “veteran” pick to fill out a roster filled with college standouts for the Walker Cup Match contested at Merion G.C.’s East Course in September of 2009.
   The Pittsburgh native did have a U.S. Mid-Am title to his name then, but he has certainly validated Buddy’s pick. First, he more than held his own in helping the U.S. retain the Walker Cup that week at Merion.
   Then a few weeks later, he added his second Mid-Am title and hasn’t looked back, taking two more Mid-Ams and again being picked to represent in the U.S. in the Walker Cup Match in 2011. His match-play record in eight U.S. Mid-Am appearances is 32-4.
   Oh yeah, and he did lead Pennsylvania to the State Team Championship title in 2009.
Smith has to be mentioned among the great amateur golfers this state has produced, including two-time U.S. Amateur champion and nine-time U.S. Walker Cupper Jay Sigel and Carol Semple Thompson, owner of seven USGA titles and 12 times a member of the U.S. Curtis Cup team.

Golf Association of Philadelphia

   A couple of notable accomplishments from GAP events last week as its 2012 schedule winds down.
   First, Mike Vassil of The Country Club of Scranton claimed the GAP’s Senior Amateur title when he made a birdie on the first hole of sudden death to beat two-time British Senior Amateur champion Chip Lutz.
   Again, Tuesday’s rains wreaked havoc with this event, shortening it to 18 holes at Wilmington C.C.’s South Course. Vassil fired a 1-under 70 to get in the playoff opposite Lutz, who has already secured the GAP Senior Player of the Year award. The 57-year-old Reading resident is very simply one of the top senior amateur players in the world.
   Frank McFadden matched par with a 71 to finish third and claim low-Overbrook honors, no easy feat with all the talented seniors who populate that membership.
   Overbrook’s Ray Thompson shared fourth place with Michael Quinn of Edgmont C.C. at 1-over 72. Rich Thon of The Springhaven Club finished in a tie for 11th with a 76 and Overbrook’s Chris Lange was another shot back in a tie for 16th at 76.
   Among those in that tie for 16th was Robert P. Billings of Rolling Green G.C.
   Billings got a bigger thrill a couple of days earlier when he teamed with his son, Robert A. Billings, to capture the Father & Son (Older) title at Whitford C.C. for the elder Billings’ first GAP victory.
   The older Billings, a 62-year-old Newtown Square resident, and his son, a 42-year-old Cherry Hill, N.J. resident, posted a 77 to match the total put up earlier in the day by Matthew Finger and Jon Finger.
   Dad picked up son when the younger Billings left him a challenging eight-footer for par to win it on the third playoff hole. But dad drained it to earn the Billingses the victory.
   Team Klagholz, Martin of Rolling Green and Marty of Aronimink, finished in a tie for fourth with an 82.
   The Super-Senior title went to Llanerch C.C.’s Neil McDermott, patriarch of Delco’s top golfing family and a past GAP president, and son Kevin.
   Neil, 65, of Newtown Square and Kevin, 35, of Conshohocken, posted a 3-over 75 to claim Super-Senior honors.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A centennial celebration at Merion

   Sunday dawns with 271 days to go until the 2013 U.S. Open tees off at Merion Golf Club’s East Course in the Ardmore section of Haverford Township.    Speaking of Merion, the Grand Dame of the Main Line officially turned 100 Friday. The occasion was the subject of a very nice piece in Golf World penned by Jeff Silverman, who says in the article he was commissioned by Merion to write its new club history.
   Silverman focuses a lot on the timelessness of Hugh Wilson’s architecture. Wilson was technically an amateur when he designed Merion. Sort of like the 14-year-old kid who teed it up in the first big event at Merion, the 1914 U.S. Amateur — that would be Bobby Jones — was technically an amateur golfer.
   Silverman also touches on the hysteria that has so often greeted the announcement that the East Course is going to be the site of the U.S. Open.
   The 2013 Open will be Merion’s fifth, but its first since 1981.
   I can clearly recall the run-up to the 1971 Open, when I was a 16-year-old looper at the club. One of the Philly papers, pretty sure it was the Bulletin, picked up a column by the great Jim Murray, who is on the short list of greatest sportswriters to ever pound a typewriter and/or keyboard.
   But Murray got this one wrong. The Cliff’sNotes version of the column was that Merion East was too short. A pitch-and-putt course, he sniffed. The modern pros would have their way with the old girl.
Didn’t happen. A couple of guys you may have heard of, Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino, ended up in an 18-hole playoff after finishing tied at even-par 280.
   Personally, I thought they overdid it with the rough in ’71, but the USGA liked its rough back in those days.
   Still, a 21-year-old Wake Forest senior out of Butler, Pa., the late Jim Simons, held the lead as an amateur after three rounds. He was “the kid,” as in, “how’s the kid doing?” that U.S. Open week. His college teammate, Lanny Wadkins, described Simons as the ultimate technician, the best at managing his game that he ever saw.
   And that’s what it takes to play well at Wilson’s creation. Hit every fairway and hit every green, as David Graham did in one of the most underrated final rounds in U.S. Open history, and you can score at Merion.
   It was Graham’s 7-under 273 total in 1981 that scared the USGA away from one of its favorite golf courses.
  But a few extra yards were found — ironically a lot of those yards were added at the par-4 fifth and the par-4 18th holes, which were already two the East’s toughest already — Haverford College graciously worked out a deal to allow some of its property to be utilized for those all-important corporate suites and the Open was back.
   Silverman reported that the big centennial observation at Merion will come in two weeks, around the Sept. 29 date that may be the most historical of all at Merion. That, of course, was the date in 1930 when Jones, 16 years older than when he first made national headlines as a 14-year-old at Merion, completed the Grand Slam by wining the U.S. Amateur.
He then promptly retired from competitive golf and went and built that golf course in Georgia where they have that other big tournament every April.
   Walk the fairways of the East Course a 1,000 times or so — as I did as a looper there from 1969 until the second round of the 1981 U.S. Open — and the history becomes a part of you, as if by osmosis.
   Silverman’s piece makes it clear that people who know about these things are confident that even with the advances in both golf clubs and balls, Merion will hold its own at the 2013 Open, just as it always has.
   Silverman digs up a quote by the legendary architect Pete Dye concerning the East Course in which Dye says: “Merion is not great because history was made there. History was made there because Merion is great.”
   He’s definitely onto something there.

Pellegrini, Calamaro tee off

   A couple of All-Delco performers in their scholastic days, Garnet Valley’s Erica Pellegrini and Radnor’s Jackie Calamaro, got their collegiate seasons started last weekend.
   Pellegrini, a junior at The Citadel, led the way for the Bulldogs as they placed 12th at the Terrier Intercollegiate held at Spartanburg C.C. in Spartanburg, S.C.
   Pellegrini, a two-time All-Delco and two-time state qualifier when she was with the Jaguars, fired a second-round 77 to go with her opening-round 82 for a 15-over 159 total that earned her a tie for 40th in the individual chase.
   The Citadel’s two-day team total was 651. UNC-Pembroke captured the team title with a 595 total. UNC-Pembroke was two shots clear of Gardner-Webb (597), which was led by individual winner Mark K. Donovan, who posted a sparkling 1-under 143 total.
   Calamaro, a redshirt sophomore at Illinois, flashed the kind of talent that made her the 2009 PIAA champion and 2009-10 Daily Times Player of the Year with a 1-under 71 in the middle round of Colonel Wollenberg’s Ram Classic, held at the 6,302-yard, par-72 Ptarmigan Course in Fort Collins, Colo.
   Calamaro’s inexperience — she is part of a very young Illinois group — was evident in the other two rounds as she flanked that 71 with an opening-round 81 and a final-round 86. Her 248 total left her in a tie for 69th with, among others, teammate Pimploy Thirati, a sophomore. The Illini were led by redshirt sophomore Samantha Postillion, a transfer from Texas who had rounds of 76, 77 and 76 for a 229 total that left her in a tie for 52nd.
   Illinois’ final-round 320 total left them in 16th place with a score of 935.
   Texas Tech was the runaway winner in the team chase, finishing 27 shots better than runnerup Baylor. New Mexico’s Manon DeRoey was the individual winner with rounds of 69, 68 and 70 for a 9-under 207 total.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hammond earns Bill Strausbaugh Award

   Maybe the PGA of America thought it would wait until he slowed down a little before it decided to give its Bill Strausbaugh Award to PGA Master Professional Harry Hammond.
   Apparently, the guys at Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., threw up their hands and realized slowing down is not on the agenda for a guy who has been serving the game of golf in Chester County and influencing it throughout the Philadelphia area for 49 years.
   It was recently announced that Hammond, 73 years young, was named the recipient of the 2012 Bill Strausbaugh Award, established in 1979 in tribute to the late Middle Atlantic PGA Master Professional who excelled in both leadership and service to a PGA Section and to the PGA of America. Strausbaugh died in 1999.
   “To be recognized for your work is wonderful, but that is not why you do the work,” Hammond said on the PGA of America website. “The purpose of your efforts is to grow the game and that has been my effort since I started in golf. I met Bill Strausbaugh and, like so many others that knew him, found him an exceptional person.”
   Exceptional is a pretty fair description of Hammond. He “retired” after being director of golf at Whitford C.C. for 38 years. 
   Of course, if the current Whitford director of golf needs some advice, he can always call his father-in-law, Harry Hammond, as Michael Ladden is married to Hammond’s daughter Laura, a PIAA champion at Unionville and one of the top amateur players in the Philadelphia area.
   Hammond is the director of golf at Penn Oaks Golf Club, of which he is also part-owner.
   In his spare time, Hammond is in his fourth season as the head coach at West Chester University. Last spring, his Rams qualified as a team for the NCAA Division II Regional Tournament for the first time since 2004.
West Chester grabbed the team title at last weekend’s Hal Hansen Invitational, hosted by Clarion University at Clarion Oaks G.C.
   Hammond has begun junior golf programs at numerous clubs and courses around Chester County. In 1999, he was named PGA of America Junior Golf Leader and is president of the Greater Philadelphia PGA Junior Golf Foundation.
   Hammond is just the third Philadelphia Section pro to win the Strausbaugh Award, following John Poole of West Chester in 1993 and Doug Ritter of Lancaster. Hammond will be honored during the PGA of America Awards ceremony Jan. 24 during the 60th PGA Merchandise Show at the Orange County Convention Center’s Chapin Theater in Orlando, Fla.
Haverford School tops tourney field

   The Inter-Ac League apparently is sticking to its mini-tournament format for the regular season, at least partially.
Chestnut Hill hosted a tournament Wednesday at Sunnybrook G.C. and two-time defending champion Haverford School dominated the proceedings.
   All-Delco Cole Berman and teammate Otis Baker shared medalist honors, each carding a 36. Two-time Haverford School All-Delco Scott Jaster was among four players who tied for third at 37. That group included a pair of Episcopal Academy players, senior Sean Fahey and freshman Austin Helms.
   In addition to the showings by their top three, the Fords’ depth was on display. Max Siegfried, Ryan Tetrault and Jay Losty had 40s and Timmy Brooks and Jake Van Arkel had 41s.
   The 41s weren’t even needed in the Fords’ winning team total of 229, but obviously there wasn’t much of a dropoff in the Haverford School lineup.
   Episcopal finished second in the team standings at 242. In addition to Fahey and Helms, the Churchmen got a 40 from Alex Dupre, a 41 from Matt Robinson and a 42 from Joe Chambers.
   Paris Sterrett, who helps with the Episcopal program, reports that Fahey and Dupre led a contingent of Churchmen who teed it up at Kiawah Island in South Carolina in August, which means they were there either right before or right after the PGA Championship was played there.
   Playing the same Ocean Course that Rory McIlroy won his second major championship on, Fahey had a 77 on a course measuring nearly 8,000 yards from the tips. Fahey, whom Sterrett reports is headed for Dartmouth next year, was even-par through nine. Dupre, Fahey’s fellow senior co-captain, had an 85. Fahey is a member at Overbrook G.C. and Dupre plays out of Rolling Green G.C.
More scholastic updates

   We received some results from two teams that I was unable to dig up anything on for the season preview that ran on the blog last week.
   Chichester fell to Glen Mills, 267-282, Wednesday at Rock Manor G.C.
   Cassan Fields and Joe Cantu were the low men for the Eagles with 50s. Other scores that counted for Chichester were recorded by Steven Perez (53), Quran McLendon (56) and Chad Lee (58).
   The Sacred Heart girls teed it up against Catholic Academies foe Villa Maria Tuesday at Paxon Hollow C.C. and dropped a 232-268 decision to the Hurricanes.
   The Lions were led by Shannon Mann and Katie Honebrink, both of who had 52s. Mimi Warniki added a 53, McKenna Schneider had a 54 and Colleene Gentile had a 57.