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Friday, June 22, 2012

Perla earns first Section PGA win

   (There was more golf news than could fit on a page of newsprint for Saturday's Golf Notebook in the Daily Times, so here's what didn't get in, which is one of the reasons this blog exists in the first place).

   Radnor Valley C.C. assistant pro Tony Perla earned his first Philadelphia Section PGA victory June 18 as he prevailed in a playoff over veteran Greg Farrow of Deerwood C.C. to take the Conestoga Classic at Conestoga C.C.
   Perla, whose father Tony Sr. has been a very good player in the Section for longer than he or I care to remember,  had six birdies against a bogey on his way to a 5-under 65 that matched  Farrow’s round and forced the playoff.
   Mark Sheftic, the head of instruction at Merion G.C., shared third place with Terry Hatch of Hidden Valley G.C. as each posted 4-under 66s.
   The Philadelphia PGA pros visited the Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort June 15 for the Shawnee Open, an event that had been a PGA Tour event in the 1950s.
   Radnor Valley C.C. head pro George Forster and M Golf Range instructor Stu Ingraham, both senior players, both contended with 2-under 70s.
   Forster and Ingraham settled for a tie for fourth, three shots back of Farrow, who took the title with a 5-under 67.
   The top Section pros were at Whitemarsh Valley C.C. for the Variety Tournament of Champions event June 12 and 13 and Hidden Valley’s Hatch claimed a one-shot victory with rounds of 68 and 74 for a 2-under 144 total.
U.S. Senior Open qualifying

  Ingram and Forster had teed it up in the first Champions Tour major of 2012, the Senior PGA Championship, but their bids to make it into the U.S. Senior Open field came up short in qualifying June 19 at Laurel Creek C.C.
   Only three spots were available in a contentious field trying to get to the U.S. Senior Open, which will be played July 12 to 15 at Indianwood G.&C.C. in Lake Orion, Mich.
   They went to amateurs Peter DeTemple of Callaway, Md. and David Nocar of Millersville, Md. and Bob Lennon, a teaching pro at Wilmington C.C. DeTemple and Nocar shared medalist honors with 68s and Lennon had a 69 over the 6,794-yard, par-71 Laurel Creek layout.
   Ingraham had a 1-over 72 and Forster was at 3-over 74. Amateur Mike Owsik, who owns the M Golf Range where Ingraham teaches, had a 76. Another shot back at 77 was George “Buddy” Marucci, two-time winning Walker Cup captain, including a successful Cup defense at his home course, Merion East, in 2009.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Huntingdon Valley hosts Philadelphia Amateur

   If it’s U.S. Open week, that means the best amateur players in the Philadelphia area will be pursuing the J. Wood Platt Trophy that goes to the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Amateur champion.
   Huntingdon Valley Country Club will host the Philly Amateur for the first time since 1960. But the Montgomery County layout has certainly produced more than its share of Philly Amateur champions. The club has produced a remarkable 13 champions, including William Hyndman III, whose name is affixed to the award that goes to the GAP’s Player of the Year each year.
   The 2011 Player of the Year is Huntingdon Valley member Andrew Mason, but the former Temple standout will not be in the field this week as he is teeing it up in next week’s Sunnehanna Amateur. The Sunnehanna, played in the Johnstown area, is one of the top events on the national amateur schedule each summer.
   The Philly Amateur gets under way with 36 holes of qualifying Tuesday at Huntingdon Valley and Torresdale-Frankford C.C. There are two rounds of match play Wednesday and two more Thursday. The two survivors of that grueling schedule then meet Saturday in a scheduled 36-hole final.
   Little Mill C.C.’s Michael Hyland returns to defend his title. His victory at Manufacturers G.&C.C. came 11 years after his first Philly Amateur victory. Stephen Hudacek III of Glenmaura National G.C. lost in the final to Hyland at Manufacturers and will be in the field this week.
   There will be a strong Delco contingent as has been the case in recent years.
   Merion G.C.’s Michael McDermott, who won the 2008 Philadelphia Amateur title and is a five-time winner of the William Hyndman III Player of the Year award, will tee it up.
Overbrook G.C.’s talented Kania brothers, James Jr. and Michael, also have tee times in Tuesday’s qualifying.
   James Jr. lost in the 2009 Philly Amateur final to Conrad Von Borsig in a meeting of Daily Times players of the year. James Kania Jr. went on to take the Patterson Cup and earn a William Hyndman III Player of the Year award of his own that year.
   Michael Kania, coming off an outstanding junior season with the Villanova golf team, lost in 2010 Philadelphia Amateur final.
   Also teeing it up is the Llanerch C.C. duo of Jeff Osberg and Stephen Seiden, a Strath Haven All-Delco a few years ago. Osberg and Seiden were both U.S. Amateur qualifiers a year ago with Osberg taking the medal in qualifying at Llanerch and Rolling Green G.C. and Seiden making the trip to Erin Hills in Wisconsin and getting into the field as alternate.

   Somehow managed to fail to include a 2013 U.S. Open at Merion countdown with my last blog post, but with 2012 U.S. Open week upon us, I’ve got 378 days until the 2013 Open tees off in the Ardmore section of Haverford Township.
   It should be closer to 365 days, but I’ll keep checking my math. Maybe that’s why my golf scores are so high.

   It was certainly an interesting weekend of golf leading into Open week with major champions crowned on the LPGA and Champions tours, the largely overlooked Curtis Cup and Dustin Johnson’s sudden return to the winner’s circle after he was missing in action with a back injury.
   There were plenty of big names on the leaderboard at the LPGA Championship in suburban Rochester, N.Y. this weekend. But when the dust cleared it was  the first player from mainland China on the tour, 22-year-old Shanshan Feng, who made her first LPGA Tour win a major.
   Feng fired a final-round 67 while all those big names were falling out of contention around her and ended up with a two-shot victory.
   You can’t help thinking that Feng’s victory might be the same watershed victory for Chinese women’s golf that a young Se Re Pak’s stunning LPGA Championship victory just down the road at the Du Pont C.C. in 1998 proved to be for South Korean golf.
   The short Associated Press report on the Curtis Cup we were able to sneak into Monday’s Daily Times noted that the 10½-9½ loss suffered by the U.S. team means that none of the four major golf Cups — Ryder, Solheim, Walker and Curtis — are in American hands.
   While little attention was paid to the Curtis Cup, which was played in Nairn, Scotland, if you ever had the chance to see such an event up close — as many of us around here were able to do when the Walker Cup Match was played at Merion in 2009 — you come to understand the significance of it. The U.S. arrived in Nairn having won the last seven Curtis Cup competitions.
   The U.S. didn’t send a bunch of stiffs over there, either. Many of the players whose names were found on the leaderboard at the NCAA Women’s Tournament a couple of weeks ago were on the U.S. roster.
   My favorite name in women’s amateur golf, Brooke Pancake, who led Alabama to the NCAA team title, had a good weekend. Playing in the final singles match Sunday, Pancake blitzed Leona Maguire, the Irish U-18 Girls Open Stroke-Play champion, 6 and 5, but by that time Great Britain-Ireland side had already clinched the Cup.
   But there is golf talent all around the world these days. Charley Hull, a 16year-old phenom, brought GBI to the brink of the Cup win with a 5 and 3 victory over Lindy Duncan, the ACC’s top player in her senior season at Duke this spring.
   Of course, there was a bad omen for the U.S. side right from the start when captain Pat Cornett broke two bones in her  left ankle in a golf-cart accident during the first round of matches Friday. 
   In a major event on the Champions Tour, Tom Lehman captured the title at the Regions Tradition for the second straight year. Lehman joined Jack Nicklaus, Gil Morgan and Fred Funk as the only players with multiple Tradition wins.
   Lehman fired a 4-under 68 at Shoal Creek in rainy Birmingham, Ala. to take the title by two shots.
And you might have to add Dustin Johnson to your list of players to watch when the 2012 U.S. Open tees off Thursday at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.
   Playing in only his second event since recovering from a back injury (he’s on my fantasy team, trust me, his injury was painful to me, too), Johnson had weekend rounds of 67 and 66 at TPC Southwinds to take the St. Jude Classic title.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Reilly grabs Philly Section PGA's big prize

   The Philadelphia Section PGA pros convened on the day after Memorial Day at Sunnybrook Golf Club to tee it up in the Haverford Trust Company Classic for the biggest first prize they play for — $50,000.
Philadelphia Country Club pro Sean Reilly went out and grabbed that big prize. Reilly blitzed the 6,839-yard, par-72 layout with an eagle and five birdies against one bogey for a 6-under 66 that left him five shots clear of the field.
   John DiMarco of Laurel Creek C.C. was the only other player under par as he was the runnerup to Reilly with a 1-under 71.
   Overbrook G.C. pro Eric Kennedy matched par with a 72 and was in a group that finished in a tie for third that included Jeff Fraim of the host club, Rob Shuey of Olde Scotland Golf Center and Michael Rushin of Baywood Greens.
   Mark Sheftic, the head of instruction at Merion G.C., was in a group of nine players who finished in a tie for seventh at 1-over 73. Radnor Valley head pro George Forster was one of seven players another shot back in a tie for 16th at 2-over 74.
   Forster was coming off a strong showing at the Champions Tour’s first major of 2012, the Senior PGA Championship, which was held at The Golf Club at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich.
   Forster had rounds of 72 and 76 for a 6-over 148 total that just missed the 36-hole cut, which came at 147.
   Stu Ingraham, the pro at M Golf in Newtown Square, also teed it up at Harbor Shores and had rounds of 78 and 74 for a 10-over 152 total.
   This week the Philly Section pros teed it up at Burlington C.C. in the Burlington Classic and Commonwealth G.C. pro Travis Deibert had rounds of 66 and 68 for a 6-under 134 total that won the title.
Deibert edged Hidden Valley G.C. pro Terry Hatch by a shot. Hatch had opened the tournament with a 7-under 63, but slipped back in the second round with a 2-over 72 to finish at 5-under 135.
   Radnor Valley’s Forster and M Golf’s Ingraham both landed on 1-under 139 and finished in a tie for seventh. Forster had rounds of d 68 and 71 and Ingraham followed up an opening-round 67 with a 72. Merion’s Sheftic (68-73) and Tony R. Perla (73-68), an assistant in Forster’s Radnor Valley pro shop, were among five players who finished in a tie for 11th at 1-over 141.

Jim and Matt Krass take Father & Son (Middle)

   The Radley Run C.C. pair of Jim Krass and son Matt captured the Golf Association of Philadelphia Father & Son (Middle) title in a playoff with James Blickle and his son Alex of LedgeRock G.C. last week at Allentown’s Brookside C.C.
   The Krasses and the Blickles were tied after both shot 1-over 72s in regulation. Two other teams, defending champions Michael and Jim Johnson of Talamore C.C. and Tony and Tony Jr. DePaul of North Hills C.C., were also tied at the top but didn’t hang around for the playoff.
A par on the first extra hole in the select-drive, alternate-shot competition gave the Krasses of Unionville the title.
   This event is for pairs in which the son is between the ages of 18 and 29. There are Father & Son events in which the son is younger and older. The Father & Son (Older) Tournament is in its 101st year.
   Among the top finishers from Delco clubs were: Jeff B. Klagholz of Applebrook G.C. and Martin Klagholz of Aronimink G.C. at 76; Charles J. Bernard and Dan Bernard of Aronimink at 76; Michael P. Moran and Tom Moran of Overbrook at 76; and David B. MacGregor and Scott E. MacGregor of Merion G.C. at 80.
   Dan Bernard is a former Malvern Prep standout and the older brother of former Notre Dame standout and reigning Philadelphia Women’s Amateur champion Lauren Bernard. Dan Bernard just completed his junior season on the Bucknell men’s golf team while sister Lauren just completed her sophomore season on the Bison women’s team.

Abramski captures Warner Cup

   Bob Abramski of Talamore C.C. fired a net 64 at Whitemarsh Valley C.C. to take the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Warner Cup (Net) title last week.
   Abramski finished a shot ahead of fellow Talamore member Gary Tiller. The 65-year-old Abramski carded a 76 over the challenging Whitemarsh Valley layout that turned into his net 64.
   Among some of the top finishers from Delco clubs were: Ed Rogers of Concord C.C. with a 69; Ed Brzezowksi of Concord with a 70; Scott Ryan of Llanerch C.C. with a 72; Bob Roche of Merion G.C. with a 74; Frank Setzman of Edgmont C.C. with a 75; and Richard Turner of Edgmont with a 79.
   Rogers’ 69 was the best total among players with handicaps of 18 and over. Brzezowski’s 70 was the second among players with handicaps between 8 and 11. Ryan’s 72 shared third place among the players with handicaps between 14 and 17.

                                       Saylor right at home at Coatesville

   Richard Saylor’s 1-over score on the front nine at his home course of Coatesville C.C. this week led to a net Stableford total of 39 points and gave him the Golf Association of Philadlephia Tee It Forward Spring Net Championship.
   Concord C.C.’s Ralph Smith III was third with 36 points and fellow Concord member Edsel Rutenbar was another point back in a tie for fourth with 35 points.

                                   Detweiler, Leaman grab Senior Four-Ball title

   Marlin Detweiler of Lancaster C.C. and Mark Leaman of Honeybrook G.C. used their familiarity with the Heidelberg C.C. layout to fire a 5-under 65 and claim the Golf Association of Philadelphia Senior Four-Ball Stroke Play by two shots.
   Detweiler had four birdies on the back nine of the 6,149-yard, par-70 Heidelberg layout and Detweiler had two birdies on the front side and a couple of crucial par saves on the back. Detweiler and Leaman used to play at Heidelberg as high school teammates at Ephrata back in the day.
   The pair of Merion G.C.’s Carl Everett and Llanerch C.C.’s Neil McDermott were among three times that finished in a tie for fifth at 1-under 69.
   Steven Lucas, a Concord C.C. member who’s done a few loops caddying on the PGA Tour for son-in-law Sean O’Hair, teamed with Roc Irey of Lookaway G.C. for a 1-over 71.
Rolling Green G.C.’s Robert Billings teamed with Peter Dilullo of Waynesborough C.C. to post a 4-over 74.
   Everett and McDermott finished second in the net scoring, their 64 leaving them three shots back of overall champions Deteiler and Leaman.