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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Kan helps Purdue finish ninth at NCAA tourney

   Aurora Kan, a three-time Daily Times Player of the Year at Chichester, capped a strong freshman season at Purdue with a career-best round on her way to a tie for 51st that helped the Boilermakers finish ninth at the NCAA Tournament, which concluded Friday.
   Kan, the 2010 Pennsylvania Women’s Amateur and PIAA champion, fired a 3-under 69 at the 6,264-yard, par-72 Vanderbilt Legends Golf Club in Franklin, Tenn. in the third round that vaulted her all the way to a tie for 17th and, more importantly, moved the Boilermakers into a tie for third in the team standings.
   But Kan was 10 shots worse in Friday’s final round with a 79. She had opened the tournament with rounds of 77 and 74 and ended up at 299, just missing a top-50 finish.
   Purdue was very consistent with rounds of 293, 295, 295 and 299 for a 1182 total that was just 11 shots back of national champion Alabama. The Crimson Tide ended up at 1171, a shot better than Southern Cal and two shots clear of third-place LSU.
   It was the seventh straight top-10 finish for Purdue in its 13th straight NCAA Tournament appearance under coach Devon Brouse.
   “The first three days, I really take my hat off to the women,” Brouse told Purdue’s sports website. “They competed hard, they did a good job and their preparation to get here, I thought was good. They had a strong performance at NCAA Regionals, you have to commend them on that.
   “This team came a long way. A couple players in particular came a long way. We knew we were going to be young and inexperienced and probably not as strong as we’ve been the last couple of years, but to say we got in the final group the last round and had our chance, there aren’t many programs that can say that.”
   Purdue was led, as it has been all season, by its dynamic duo of juniors, Laura Gonzalez-Escallon and Paula Reto.
   Gonzalez-Escallon fired a brilliant opening-round 67 and rode that blazing start through rounds of 76, 74 and 70 to finish in a tie for third place with a 1-under 287.
   Oklahoma’s Chirapat Jao-Javanil, a sophomore from Thailand, claimed the individual crown with a 6-under 282. Alabama’s Brooke Pancake, who will play on the U.S. Curtis Cup team next month, was four shots back in second place at 2-under 286. Pancake, though, holed a four-foot putt on the final hole that Alabama needed to win the team title.
   Reto matched Gonzalez-Escallon’s final-round 2-under 70 and finished in a tie for 15th at 5-over 293. One of the players in that group at 293 was 2007 PIAA champion Rachel Rohanna of Ohio State.
   Rounding out Purdue’s lineup at the NCAA Tournament, junior Kishi Sinaha tied for 77th at 304 and freshman Vicky Scherer, a native of Germany who joined the program in January, carded a 317 and finished 122nd.
   It was an impressive showing for an all-underclass Purdue contingent that should be a team to be reckoned with again during the 2012-2013 season.
   One other notable finisher at the NCAA Tournament was Baylor freshman Stani Schiavone, one of the three players involved in the playoff with Kan at the 2010 PIAA Tournament. The Bangor product posted a 309 total and finished in a tie for 102nd.

McDermotts tie for third at Philly Mid-Am

   Michael McDermott has been a dominant player on the Golf Association of Philadelphia circuit for more than a decade.
   His younger brother Brian, like Michael a scholastic standout at Haverford High and a collegiate standout at Saint Joseph’s, is starting to catch up.
   The GAP’s major tournament campaign got under way last week with the 29th edition of the Middle-Amateur Championship at Chester Valley Golf Club.
   John Brennan, a 33-year-old teacher at Spring-Ford High School and a member at Philadelphia Cricket Club, captured the title as he got a jump on the field with an opening round of 3-under 67 and then cruised to a four-shot victory over Ben Smith of Little Mill C.C.
   Brennan was a caddy at Chester Valley during his college days and that knowledge helped him solve the tricky 6,547-yard, par-70 Chester Valley layout that once hosted a popular Champions Tour (known as the Senior Tour in those days).
   With winds making the second day quite a challenge, Brennan added a second-round 74 for a 1-over 141 total. Smith followed an opening-round 69 with a 76 to finish at 5-over 145.
   Tied for third at 7-over 147 were the brothers McDermott. Michael, a member at Merion G.C., had rounds of 75 and 72 while Brian, a member at Llanerch C.C., had rounds of 74 and 73.
   Among other names of interest competing at Chester Valley, Michael Quinn of Edgmont C.C. finished in a tie for 17th at 153 (74-79), Doug Fedoryshyn, the senior club champion at Concord C.C., was another shot back in a tie for 26th at 154 (79-75), the Overbrook G.C. father-son duo of Chris Lange (77-78) and Chris Lange Jr. (79-76) and fellow Overbrook member Frank McFadden (80-75) were all at 155 and another Overbrook member, former Radnor and Saint Joe’s standout Bob Cunningham (79-77) was at 156, and yet another veteran from the deep stable of talent at Overbrook, Oscar Mestre (79-78), was at 157.

A long day for Radnor girls

   Three members of the Radnor girls team that was a PIAA runnerup last fall and their coach, Andy Achenbach, had a long day at Overbrook G.C. May 21 for the benefit of First Tee of Greater Philadelphia.
Senior Caitlin Sullivan, captain of last fall’s District One and East Region champion Red Raiders, and next fall’s co-captains, juniors Jamie Susanin, a state qualifier as an individual last fall, and Allie Ziegler and Achenbach got in 104 holes between 7:15 a.m. and 6:15 p.m.
   The fundraising effort was modeled on a similar marathon two years ago when Achenbach played with seniors Jin Hwang, runnerup in the 2009 District One boys tourney, and Jackie Calamaro, the 2009 PIAA girls champion, at Walnut Lane G.C.
   The 104 holes this year’s group completed is two more than Calamaro and Hwang managed two years ago.
   Calamaro, coming off her redshirt freshman season at Illinois and Emily Endres, a 2006 state qualifier at Radnor, were among the many well-wishers who came out at the end of the day to encourage the marathoners as they battled fatigue.

Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour

   Jamie Susanin tuned up for the marathon day two days earlier when she carded an 80 to take top honors in the 16-to-18 age group in one of the first Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour stops of the year at Willow Valley G.C.
   In the nine-hole division for boys and girls, John Updike of Wayne finished second with a 41 and Gabriella Kim of Wayne finished in a tie for third with a 43.
   A Junior Tour stop Saturday at Horsham Valley G.C. was cut short by thunderstorms, but not before Springfield junior Kyle Hakun finished third in the 16-to-18 division with a 67, 6-over for 17 holes.
In the 13-to-15 age group. Griffin Colvin of Media and Michael Sydnes of Bryn Mawr were among five players who finished in a tie for 10th with 45s for 10 holes.
   Julia Curley of Wayne led the way in the 13-to-15 age group as she posted a 36 for eight holes.
The 16-to-18 girls division completed nine holes and Abby Sydnes, a junior at Radnor, carded a 53 to take second.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Kan headed for NCAA Tournament

   Aurora Kan, the three-time Daily Times Player of the Year at Chichester, is headed for the NCAA Tournament in her freshman season at Purdue.
   Kan, the 2010 PIAA and Pennsylvania Women’s Amateur champion, saved her best round of the year for the final round of the NCAA Central Regional at Ohio State’s 6,264-yard, par-72 Scarlet Course.
Kan matched par 72 as Purdue fired a final-round 294 that landed the Boilermakers in third place in the team standings with a 902 total. It is the 13th straight season Purdue has qualified for the NCAA Tournament. The Boilermakers won the team title two years ago were the runnerup a year ago.
   Kan struggled in her first two trips around the Scarlet Course layout, carding an 82 and an 81 before breaking through with the final-round 72. Her 235 total left her in a tie for 57th.
   Purdue was led by its dynamic duo, Big Ten Player of the Year Laura Gonzalez-Escallon, who finished in a tie for 10th at 222 (78-73-71), and Paula Reto, who was another shot back at 223 (71-77-75).
Redshirt junior Kishi Sinha finsihed in a tie for 37th at 230 (74-79-77) and freshman Vicky Scherer finished in a tie for 45th at 232 (78-78-76).
   Top-seeded Southern California took the team title with an 874 total, the Trojans posting rounds of 298, 290 and 286. Vanderbilt was second at 899 (308-292-299), three shots ahead of Purdue.
Southern Cal’s Lisa McCloskey shared medalist honors with Florida State’s Maria Salinas at 3-under 213.
   The host Buckeyes, who also earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament with a sixth-place finish, were led by junior Rachel Rohanna, who won the 2007 PIAA championship as a junior at Waynesburg. Rohanna finished seventh.
   Vanderbilt will be the host for the NCAA Tournament beginning May 22 at the Legends Golf Course in Franklin, Tenn.
   Kan will probably run into one of the players she prevailed over in the playoff at the 2010 PIAA Tournament, Bangor’s Stani Schiavone, at next week’s NCAA tourney.
   Like Kan, Schiavone, a freshman at Baylor, used the occasion of the final round of the NCAA West Regional in Erie, Colo. to post her career-best round, a 3-under 69 that helped the Bears finish in a tie for fifth and earn a trip to Tennessee.
   Schiavone, who went 79, 75 in the first two rounds, finished in a tie for 35th. Fellow freshman Hayley Davis, a native of Wimborne, England, finished third at 4-under 212 (69-74-69).

U.S. Open qualifying

Radnor golfers raising money for First Tee

   Just a reminder that three members of the Radnor girls team that won District One and East Regional team titles last fall and Radnor coach Andy Achenbach will play a 100-hole marathon Monday, May 21 at Overbrook Golf Club with proceeds benefiting First Tee of Greater Philadelphia.
   Radnor juniors Jamie Susanin, a state qualifier as an individual last fall, and Allie Ziegler, and senior Caitlin Sullivan will tee it up with Achenbach in the marathon day of golf.
   Susanin and Ziegler will captain the Radnor girls team next fall Sullivan was the captain of last fall’s team that finished second in the team chase at the PIAA Tournament.
   You can support the fundraising effort by visiting http://www.thefirstteephiladelphia.org/ and typing in an amount in the Donate box. Then click the donate button and proceed through the Google checkout.
   The countdown to the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club’s East Course is at 394 days, but there is the 2012 Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco to get through first.
   Toward that end, there were two local U.S. Open qualifiers in the area in the last week and while no Delco players advanced to the 36-hole sectional qualifying test, some of them had strong showings.
Jarred Texter, a top scholastic player in Pennsylvania in the early 2000s, claimed medalist honors at the local qualifier at Trump National Golf Club with a 2-under 69.
   The 26-year-old Texeter splits time at Crossgates Golf Club and Conestoga Country Club near his Millersville home along with trips to the Carolinas to play in mini-tour events.
   Also advancing were David Quinn, general manager at Links Golf Club, Christopher Gray, an assistant pro at Old York Road Country Club at Chestefield, Max Marsico, an amateur from Las Vegas, David Sanders, who competes in mini-tours in Florida and Michael Tobiason Jr., an assistant pro at Applecross Country Club in Chester County. Tobiason earned a spot in the field at last year’s Open at Congressional Country Club.
   Council Rock North junior Zach Herr, who has won the last two District One titles, was a shot out of a playoff with a 2-over 73.
   Michael Kania, the two-time Haverford School All-Delco who is coming off a fine junior season at Villanova, carded a 75. He was joined at that figure by fellow Haverford School All-Delco Nelson Hargrove and Villanova teammate Brian Colbert.
   Conrad Von Borsig, the 2004-05 Daily Times Player of the Year at Strath Haven, was at 76. The Golf Association of Philadelphia results listed Von Borsig as an amateur, which might mean the two-time PIAA medalist and former University of Virginia standout, has been reinstated after a brief pro career.
   Another two-time Haverford School All-Delco, Cory Siegfried, was also at 76. Braden Shattuck, coming off a senior season at Sun Valley that featured a Ches-Mont League individual title, was at 77. Radnor’s Bina brothers, junior Carey and senior Kavian, both  PIAA qualifiers last fall, were at 78 and 79, respectively.
   The second local qualifier was held at Back Creek Golf Club in Middletown, Del., Monday and Steven Cuzzort claimed medalist honors with a 4-under 67.
   While listed as being from Grosse Ile, Mich., the 24-year-old pro has just been added to the staff at … Back Creek.
   The only other qualifying berth up for grabs went to Greg Matthias, a senior at Delaware who won the Colonial Athletic Association individual title. Matthias, who plays out of Hartefeld National, edged Eric Onesi, a pro from Bear, Del., in a playoff for the final ticket to the sectional qualifier.
   Just missing out on that playoff was Episcopal Academy junior Sean Fahey, who carded a 1-over 72. Fahey did beat out Billy Stewart, a Philadelphia Amateur champion when he was a member at Llanerch Country Club, for the second alternate slot, although U.S. Open sectional qualifying berths rarely go unused. Stewart also had a 72.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Kan helps Purdue finish second in Big Ten

   Aurora Kan, the three-time Daily Times Player of the Year at Chichester, matched her career-best collegiate round and helped Purdue finish second at the Big Ten Tournament which concluded Sunday at the Donald Ross Golf Course at French Lick in French Lick, Ind.
   Kan, a true freshman who had a rough day to open the tournament with an 84, carded a 2-over 74 in Sunday’s final round as the Boilermakers posted a tournament-low round of 291 to finish at 895, 10 shots back of Big Ten champion Michigan State.
    Junior Laura Gonzalez-Escallon, a native of La Hulpe, Belgium, ran Purdue’s streak of Big Ten individual champions to five straight as she fired back-to-back 69s in the last two rounds to offset an opening-round 78 for an even-par 216 total. Gonzalez-Escallon, who won the title as a freshman in 2010, finished one shot ahead of Michigan’s Yugene Lee.
Ohio State’s Rachel Rohanna, who won the PIAA title at Waynesburg as a junior in 2007, was among four players who finished in a tie for third at 2-over 218.
   The Boilermakers found out Monday night that they will be participating in the NCAA Central Regional Tournament May 10 to 12, which Ohio State will host at its Scarlet Course.
   Illinois finished fifth at the Big Ten Tournament and received an invite Monday to the West Regional Tournament,  being hosted by Colorado at the Colorado National Golf Club in Erie, Colo.
   Jackie Calamaro, 2009-10 Daily Times Player of the Year at Radnor, is a redshirt freshman at Illinois, but did not make the trip to the Big Ten Tournament. Calamaro was in the mix for all of Illinois’ events this season.
   Kan, the 2010 PIAA champion as a senior at Chichester, got better every day at French Lick, following that opening-round 84 with a 78 and then the final-round 74. Her 236 total left her in a tie for 40th with seven other players, including teammate Kishi Sinha (80-77-79), a junior.
   In addition to Gonzalez-Escallon, Purdue got strong showings from junior Paula Reto (76-75-72), who finished in a tie for 10th at 7-over 223 and freshman Vicky Scherer (76-73-76), who finished in a tie for 14th at 9-over 225.
   Rounding out the Purdue contingent, freshman Kendall Dusenberry (84-84-95) finished 71st at 263.
   Michigan State was the model of consistency with rounds of 298, 292 and 295 in taking the team title with an 885 total.      
   After opening the tournament with a disappointing 310 total that left them in eighth place, the Boilermakers surged to a runnerup finish with rounds of 294 and 291.

Strong finish for Kania, Villanova men   The basics of Villanova’s third-place finish in the Big East Tournament and the third-place finish for junior Michael Kania in the individual chase appeared in Wednesday’s Daily Times, but it’s worth expanding on a nice season for the Wildcats.
   Villanova got it under par with its 3-under 285 in the final round over the 7,089-yard, par-72 Watson Course at the Reunion Resort in Orlando, Fla. Combined with their first two rounds of 293 and 292, the Wildcats’ 870 total left them just two shots behind runnerup Louisville and 18 shots back of Big East champion Notre Dame. Villanova’s best finish at the Big East Tournament is third, which it’s accomplished two years in a row.
   “I’m proud of the way that we stayed patient all week,” head coach James Wilks said on Villanova’s website. “They didn’t worry about things that were out of their control, especially (Tuesday) when we had an under-par performance. To have all five guys finish in the top 25 is something special and I’m very proud of them.”
   Kania, the two-time Haverford School All-Delco and Golf Association of Philadelphia Amateur Championship runnerup last summer, capped off a strong junior season by matching par with a final-round 72.
   Kania started off with back-to-back 2-under 70s and his 4-under 212 total left him just two shots back of Big East champion Max Scodro of Notre Dame. The tie for third was Kania’s second-best finish this spring, behind only his title at the Pinehurst Invitational. It was his third top-10 finish of the year.
   Junior Derek Jones finished 13th as he fired a final-round of 2-under 70 for a 2-over 218 total. Junior Steve Skurla finished in a tie for 15th at 4-over 220 after a final round of 1-under 71.
   Two seniors rounded out the scoring in their final events at Villanova. Bret McGaughey matched par with a final-round 72 and ended up in a tie for 17th at 5-over 221 and Brian Colbert had a final round of 2-over 74 and finished in a tie for 23rd at 7-over 223.

Radnor golfers raising money for First Tee

   Three members of the Radnor girls team that won District One and East Regional team titles last fall and Radnor coach Andy Achenbach will play a 100-hole marathon Monday, May 21 at Overbrook Golf Club with proceeds benefiting First Tee of Greater Philadelphia.
   Two years ago, Achenbach was joined by his top boys and girls player from the previous fall, All-Delco Jin Hwang and 2009-10 Daily Times Player of the Year Jackie Calamaro, in a similar marathon at Walnut Lane Golf Club. They played 102 holes and raised in the neighborhood of $10,000 for First Tee of Greater Philadelphia.
   Radnor juniors Jamie Susanin, a state qualifier as an individual last fall, and Allie Ziegler, and senior Caitlin Sullivan will tee it up with Achenbach in the marathon day of golf.
   Susanin and Ziegler will captain the Radnor girls team next fall Sullivan was the captain of last fall’s team that finished second in the team chase at the PIAA Tournament.
   You can support the fundraising effort by visiting https://mail.journalregister.com/owa/redir.aspx?C=IVS6WvXwFkG158Qw8tFpAPvM-e3G-84ITnmJywwahZntWMfD-uZssDT4NI-YPUUayKAqMp3rOIM.&URL=http%3a%2f%2fwww.thefirstteephiladelphia.org and typing in an amount in the Donate box. Then click the donate button and proceed through the Google checkout.

Toughening up Merion East

   The countdown to the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club’s East Course in the Ardmore section of Haverford Township has reached 408 days amid news that the USGA is at work toughening up the Grand Dame of the Main Line for her fifth U.S. Open.
   Mike Davis is the executive director of the USGA, but he is best known as the guru of Open setups and he is already at work on the East Course, which many golf “experts” feel isn’t tough enough to stand up to today’s bashers.
It appears Davis is planning to do away with the intermediate cut of rough, although he plans to round off the entry to the rough. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but it does sound like the rough is going to be rough for the 2013 Open.
   “That step cut, the members at Merion wanted to get rid of it and we supported that as long as it didn’t result in something unfair, which is why we are rounding off the entry to the rough,” Davis told GolfWorld magazine. “But bottom line, we always try to look at what’s unique about a golf course whether it’s Pinehurst No. 2 with the sandy areas or Oakmont with the fast greens. With Merion, even going back to Ben Hogan’s time, it has always been about the rough. The rough’s brutal. People will think we made it that way because (the course is) so short, but that’s the history of the course. I’m not going to go away from that.”
   Davis also told the magazine he wants the shortish East to look tough.
   “It’s what we want, absolutely, we want it to look intimidating,” he said. “We want players to feel that pressure to keep the ball in play. It’s going to be under 7,000 yards and, frankly, we want that. We think it will be neat to have that kind of yardage in this era.”
   Architect Tom Fazio renovated two of the fastest greens on the course, the 12th and 15th. Merion’s members felt the severe pitch of those two greens had limited the pin positions.
Fazio is the nephew of George Fazio, the Norristown native who was part of the three-way playoff along with Ben Hogan and Lloyd Mangrum, in the battle that resulted in Hogan’s epic comeback victory in the 1950 U.S. Open at Merion.
   When the Open returned to Merion in 1971 for the first time since Hogan’s 1950 win, the rough was indeed its major defense.
   How would I know that? Well, I was there. As a 16-year-old Merion caddy I was the forecaddie on the par-4 sixth hole at the 1971 Open. The rough was so deep in 1971, had I not been manning my station, they might still be looking for some of the balls that ended up missing the sixth fairway.
   In the days leading up to the 1971 U.S. Open, Merion East was almost unplayable for the average golfer. If a ball was hit over a hill and into the rough, the odds were maybe 40 percent it would be found.
   Merion was considered too short to hold an Open 40 years ago, although the critics were quieted when Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino finished tied at even-par 280 after 72 holes.
   In the aftermath of the U.S. victory in the 2009 Walker Cup Match at the East Course, Rickie Fowler, when asked if he thought the golf course was tough enough to hold a U.S. Open on, said, “They can make this golf course as tough as they want to.”
   And that came after a week of heavy rain had softened the course up considerably. So we shall see in, oh, about 404 days, won’t we?