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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Kan is solid in Philly PGA Junior Tour 2013 opener

   It wasn’t feeling much like spring, but some Delco golfers made the trek to the Jersey Shore last weekend to tee it up in the Philadelphia Section PGA Junior Tour’s first event of 2013, which included separate stops at Ballamor G.C. in Egg Harbor and the Seaview Hotel and G.C.’s Bay Course in Galloway, which is the site of the LPGA’s ShopRite Classic. For those who competed both days, it also comprised a Junior Tour series event.
    Caprian Kan, a Boothwyn resident and the younger sister of 2010 PIAA champion Aurora Kan, put up a solid 84 at Seaview to earn runnerup honors in the 13-to-15 age group, five shots back Kenaida Mills of Tewksbury Township,  N.J.   Combined with the 90 Kan posted at Ballamor, she easily took series honors with her 174 total.
    Also in the 13-to-15 age group at Seaview, Meghan Fahey of Villanova finished in a tie for fifth with a 105.
   Kan’s younger brother Corey also braved the tough conditions at Ballamor and finished eighth among the nine-holers with a 58.
   Garnet Valley junior Jack Highfill took top honors in the 16-to-18 division at Ballamor with a 78.
   Highfill’s Jaguar teammate, sophomore Michael Stanilka, finished in a tie for eighth in the 16-to-18 division at Ballamor with an 84. Highfill came back for more at Seaview and carded an 89. That gave him a two-day total of 173 that earned him a tie for ninth in the two-day series.
   In the boys 13-to-15 division at Seaview, Cardinal O’Hara freshman Alec Kerr finished 11th with an 86, Jacob Calamaro, younger brother of 2009 PIAA girls champion Jackie Calamaro, finished 20th with a 95, and Daniel Bullock of Wayne was 21st with a 100.
   Calamaro opened the weekend with a 101 at Ballamor and finished 13th in the 13-to-15 division overall in the series. Jacob Liberman of Radnor also teed it up in the 13-to-15 division at Ballamor and finished ninth with a 91.
   Caprian Kan was right back at it the Saturday of Easter weekend in a Junior Tour stop at Hidden Creek G.C., again in Jersey Shore territory at Egg Harbor Township. Kan carded an 87 to finish second in the 13-to-15 age group with Mills of Tewskbury Township, N.J. taking the top spot with an 85. Gabriella Morganti of Havertown finished fourth in the division with a 111.
  The Garnet Valley trio of HIghfill, John Concannon and Stanilka were all among the top six in the boys 16-to-18 age group at Hidden Creek. Highfill, a junior, posted an 82 to finish in a three-way tie for second, three shots behind first-place finisher Brandon Vance of Eagleville. Concannon, a junior, finished alone in fifth another shot back at 83 and Stanilka, a sophomore, finished in a tie for sixth with an 85.
   Calamaro finished 13th in the 13-to-15 division with a 98. Jack Hirsh of Villanova finished in a tie for seventh with an 86.
   Among the nine-holers, Joseph Morganti of Havertown was eighth with a 59 and James Quinn of Radnor was 10th with a 65.
Shattuck tees it up in Delaware’s spring opener
   Braden Shattuck, the 2011-12 Daily Times Player of the Year at Sun Valley, was in the lineup for
Delaware’s first event of the spring portion of the campaign, last weekend’s University of North Carolina-Wilmington (UNCW) Seahawk Intercollegiate.
   Shattuck, a freshman for the Blue Hens, had rounds of 78 and 85 over the 6,877-yard, par-72 Nicklaus Course at the Country Club of Landfall to finish in a tie for 53rd at 163. Fellow freshman Kyle Wright was the low man for the Blue Hens with rounds of 77 and 81 for a 158 total that left him in a tie for 34th.
   Payne  McLeod of host UNCW was the medalist with rounds of 72 and 71 for a 1-under 143 total that was five shots clear of the rest of the field.
   That led UNCW to the team title with a 604 total. Kent State was a shot back in second, Maryland was third at 609, Coastal Carolina was fourth at 612 and Campbell and Davidson shared fifth place at 617.
   Delaware followed an opening-round 313 with a 331 in the second round for a 644 total that left it in 12th place in a very competitive 12-team field.
   Shattuck and the Blue Hens will be the field today and Tuesday as Villanova hosts the Wildcat Invitational at White Manor C.C.
Some U.S. Open tidbits
   On this April Fools’ Day, the opening round of the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club’s East Course tees off in just 74 days and I’ve got one item of interest from an interview with Hank Thompson, the championship director, that I couldn’t fit into the story that appeared in the Saturday (March 30) Daily Times print edition.
  The last time the Open was at Merion in 1981, the USGA was still holding fast to trying to get every player to start at the first tee. The USGA finally relented to a two-tee start about a decade ago, but the 10th tee at the East Course is not really close to the clubhouse.
   Thompson said players will start at the first and 11th tees the first two days of the Open. The 11th tee is a little closer to the clubhouse. It backs up to Ardmore Avenue. Thompson said it was the proximity of the 10th green to the flash-scoring setup that really decided what other tee was utilized.
   But the 11th is an interesting starting hole. It is, of course, the Bobby Jones hole with a plaque at the tee commemorating the hole on which Jones finished off his 8 and 7 victory over Eugene Homans in the final of the 1930 U.S. Amateur that completed the calendar Grand Slam of the day, the U.S. Open, the British Amateur, the British Open and the U.S. Amateur, for Jones, who promptly retired from competitive golf.
   The 11th is a short hole, about 365 yards, but there’s danger all around one of, if not the, smallest greens on the course. A wayward second shot can mean a ball in the water that surrounds the green on three sides. Or worse, at one point, depending on how the course is marked by tournament officials, the water behind the green can actually be out of bounds.
   Thompson, by the way, is the championship director of the Open for the fourth time. He has been on an odd-year schedule beginning with Oakmont in 2007, Bethpage Black in 2009 and Congressional I  2011.
   Thompson began what turned into a career in golf running the various golf tournaments at the Pinehurst Resort in his native North Carolina. He moved up to putting on some of the prestigious North & South championships that Pinehurst stages every year and got on the USGA’s radar when the 1999 U.S. Open was held at Pinehurst.
   Next year both the men’s and women’s Opens will be held at Pinehurst within weeks of each other. Thompson and golf fans everywhere will be interested to see how that works out.
   One last item on the Open agenda.  There will be three local qualifiers for the Merion Open, at Waynesborough Country Club May 12, at Whitford Country Club May 13 and Applebrook Country Club May 16.
   This area got a couple of extra spots in the U.S. Amateur field when that event was held at Merion in 2005.
   It’s a little different with Open qualifying. Even if you survive the 18-hole local qualifying, it only earns you a spot in a 36-hole, one-day sectional qualifier at which you will often run into PGA Tour professionals, top club pros and top amateur players.
   Michael Tobiason Jr., a native of the Wilmington area, was a golf instructor at Applecross Country Club in Chester County when he made the field for the 2011 Open at Congressional, so it can be done.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Purdue takes team title at Insperity Lady Jaguar

   As the winter that won’t end marches on, there are only 81 days until the best golfers in the world tee it up in the opening round of the U.S. at Merion Golf Club’s historic East Course.
   With four top-10 finishers, including a remarkable rally in the final two rounds by senior Paula Reto, Purdue took the team title at the Insperity Lady Jaguar Intercollegiate last Sunday by a shot over Vanderbilt.
   Something about the Forest Hills Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. must agree with the Boilermakers because it was the second time they’ve won the event in three years, taking the title in 2011 with a third-place finish a year ago.
   After opening with an 80, Reto, a South African, fired rounds of 69 and 68 for a 1-over 217 total that left her in second place, two shots back of individual winner Ashley Armstrong (76-69-70—215) of Notre Dame.
   Reto’s final-round 68 led Purdue to a final-round 290 that gave it an 876 total, one shot better than Vanderbilt. Notre Dame was another 11 shots back of Vanderbilt in third at 888.
   Purdue opened with a 295 and then improved to 291 before cutting another stroke off of that total in the final round.
   Freshman Margaux Vanmol added a final-round 73 to her first two rounds of 73 and 75 to finish in a tie for fifth at 221 with teammate and fellow Belgian Laura Gonzalez-Escallon (71-76-74). Another shot back in a tie for ninth was redshirt senior Kishi Sinha, who had rounds of 74, 71 and 77 for a 222 total.
   Sophomore Aurora Kan, the 2010 PIAA champion as a senior at Chichester, saved her best for last with a final-round 75. Combined with her first two rounds of 79 and 77, that left Kan in a tie for 38th at 231.
   Kan saw some of her old friends from the District One and PIAA trail in this event, including the two players that she was the runnerup to at the PIAA Tournament in the 2008 and 2009, respectively, Kennett’s Christine Shimel, who is at Maryland, and Radnor’s Jackie Calamaro, who is a redshirt sophomore at Illinois.
   Calamaro struggled a little with rounds of 79, 89 and 82 for a 250 total that left her in a tie for 88th. Calamaro’s teammate, junior Ember Schuldt, had an outstanding tournament with rounds of 75, 73 and 74 for a 222 total that left her in a tie for ninth.
   Among the other Illini who teed it up at the Lady Jaguar, redshirt sophomore Samantha Postillion (85-77-74) finished strong to end up in a tie for 50th at 236, Pimploy Thirati (80-83-81) finished in a tie for 75th at 244 and Crystal Smith (88-89-86) finished 97th at 263.
   Illinois had rounds of 319, 322 and 311 to finish 15th in the competitive 18-team field at 952.
   Shimel had rounds of 80, 80 and 84 to finish in a tie for 75th at 244. One of her Terrapin teammates, Emily Gimpel, another of the former District One standouts out of Mount St. Joseph, was a shot better than Shimel in a tie for 73rd at 243 after rounds of 81, 83 and 79.
    Maryland finished 13th in the team race with rounds of 317, 315 and 317 for a 952 total.
There’s a new sheriff in town
   It might have been lost in the madness of March, but American Stacy Lewis ascended to No. 1 in the world with a victory in the LPGA’s Founders Cup last Sunday.
   Cristie Kerr had briefly been No. 1, but it has been tough for any American to break the stranglehold foreign players have had on the top spot dating back to the glory days of Swede Annika Sorenstam and continuing with the rise of Mexico’s Lorena Ochoa and the sudden run to the top by Taiwan’s Yani Tseng.
   But Tseng’s game hit a rough patch last year and she is still not quite the dominant player she was in 2011.
   And Lewis has barged right into the picture. Lewis was born in Ohio, but raised in Texas and it shows in the toughness she has shown in dealing with scoliosis, a congenital back problem. A spinal fusion that hopefully was going to allow her to play golf left her in a back brace just as she was about to embark on her college career at the University of Arkansas. Eventually the procedure proved successful. But there were a lot of dark days before that was assured.
   Lewis honed her game the way many young Americans – and many foreign women as well – do these days, playing Division I golf and becoming an NCAA champion with the Razorbacks. She isn’t big, 5-5 is all, but she has a huge heart and is very, very competitive.
   Lewis trails Beatriz Recari of Spain by four shots going into today’s final round of the Kia Classic, but she is becoming a threat to win every time she tees it up.
   The first women’s major of the year is a little more than a week away and Lewis made the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship the first major in her trophy case. She might be looking for a second major win in two Sundays.
   Speaking of the Kraft Nabisco, the player who should have won that event a year ago, I.K. Kim, is also in contention at the Kia Classic this weekend. Kim fell asleep on a tap-In that would have given her the title at the Kraft Nabisco a year ago and then lost a playoff. Redemption for I.K. at the Kraft Nabisco would be poetic justice indeed.
   Speaking of No. 1 in the world, don’t look now, but that Woods fella is leading at Bay Hill going into the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational and should he win, he will be back atop the men’s World Rankings, a place he is very familiar with.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Villanova takes its best shot over busy spring break

   As St. Patty’s Day dawns, there are just 89 days until the opening round of the 2013 U.S. Open tees off at the historic East Course at Merion Golf Club.

   It was a busy spring break for the Villanova golf team, three members of which are recent Haverford School standouts. We’ve managed to sneak a couple of mentions into online and print versions of the Daily Times, but it’s a worth a recap to put all of the events together.
   This past week, Villanova teed it up in the Pinehurst Intercollegiate played over the 6,382-yard, par-71 No. 6 Course at the Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina. The Wildcats finished 15th in a competitive field of 16 with a 936 total.
   The scoring was very high in the middle of the three rounds, which, this time of year, usually means the wind got up and the temperature went down.
   The Wildcats were tied for second with a solid opening-round 291 before falling back to a tie for 11th with a 338 total in the second round before a final-round 307 dropped them back to 15th.
   Villanova was led by senior co-captain Steve Skurla, who sandwiched outstanding rounds of 71 and 70 around a second-day 88 for a 229 total that left him in a tie for 31st.
   Senior Michael Kania, the two-time Haverford School All-Delco, followed up an opening-round 73 with rounds of 80 and 82 to finish in a tie for 54th at 235. Senior Derek Jones (75-85-77) was another four shots back of Kania in a tie for 70th at 239.
   Sophomore Ted Brennan, another Haverford School product who was the Golf Association of Philadelphia Junior Player of the Year in 2010, sandwiched rounds of 72 and 78 around a second-round 90 for a 240 total that left him in a tie for 74th. Rounding out the scoring for Villanova was junior Vince Boyle, the 2009 Catholic League champion while at Archbishop Ryan. Boyle followed up an opening-round 78 with a pair of 83s for a 244 total that left him in a tie for 84th.
   The third member of ’Nova’s Haverford School Connection, graduate student Cory Siegfried, competed as an individual and tied for 82nd with a 243 total.
   Led by individual winner Tyler Merkel, Ball St. captured the team title with rounds of 293, 310 and 282 for an 885 total, three shots better than Virginia Commonwealth. Merkel had rounds of 70, 73 and 71 for a 214 total that was one shot clear of VCU’s Adam Ball (73-73-69).
  In between tournaments, Villanova traveled to St. Simon’s Island, Ga. to take on NAIA foe The College of Coastal Georgia in a dual match at the Sea Island Golf Club.
   Kania paced the Wildcats with a sparkling 69, but they fell, 292-297, to their hosts, who are ranked 11th in the country in NAIA. Jones added a 73, Brennan posted a 76 and Skurla had a 79.
   Villanova also battled some tough conditions while finishing in sixth place at the Harmony Golf Preserve Invitational in Orlando, Fla. The Wildcats posted rounds of 305, 300 and 317 over the 7,208-yard, par-72 course for a 922 total.
   Villanova was led by Kania, who finished in a tie for 15th with rounds of 74,72 and 79 for a 225 total, and Skurla, who finished in a tie for 17th with an opening-round 74 followed by a pair of 76s for a 226 total.
   Jones (78-76-83) finished a tie for 26th at 237, Brennan (83-76-81) finished 29th at 240, Siegfried (81-81-81) finished in a tie for 33rd at 243 and Boyle (79-84-81) finished 35th at 244.
  Richard Donegan of Florida Atlantic claimed individual honors with rounds of 70, 71 and 754 for a 1-under 215 total.
  Marco Iten (70-74-72—216) and Anthony Bradley (74-69-74—217) finished second and third, respectively, while leading Austin Peay to the team title.
   Villanova will play the host when the Wildcat Invitational tees off at White Manor Country Club April 1 and 2.
Playing the host, Purdue finishes third
   The Purdue women’s golf team was the host for the Purdue Mount Vintage Invitational in North Augusta, Ga. last week and finished third.
   Purdue had rounds of 313, 298 and 302 for a 913 total that left the Boilermakers three shots back of team champion Coastal Carolina (306-294-310—910) and two shots behind runnerup Iowa St. (305-301-305—911).
   Sophomore Aurora Kan, the 2010 PIAA champion as a senior at Chichester, improved every day with rounds of 81, 78 and 76 for a 235 total that left her in 13th place.
   The Boilermakers were led by Laura Gonzalez-Escallon, a senior from Belgium who finished in a tie for second with rounds of 73, 76 and 74 for a 7-over 223 total. That left her four shots back of individual champion Casey Kennedy of Augusta St., who carded a 3-over 219 total with rounds of 74, 72 and 73.
   Paula Reto, a senior from South Africa, finished in a tie for fifth at 226 after rounds of 79, 73 and 74. Margaux Vanmol, a freshman who, like Gonzalez-Escallon, hails from Belgium, also had a solid showing, finishing 11th at 231 with rounds of 81, 72 and 78.
   Finishing a shot back of Kan at 236 in a tie for 14th was Kishi Sinha, a redshirt senior from India, after rounds of 80, 77 and 79.
   Freshman Brooke Beegle, competing as an individual, had rounds of 81, 89 and 85 to finish in a tie for 27th at 255.
   Also teeing it up at the Purdue Mount Vintage Invitational was Delaware, which finished fifth at 1,007 with rounds of 350, 333 and 324. Sophomore Amanda Terzian, a former Episcopal Academy standout, finished 19th in the individual race with rounds of 87, 78 and 77 for a 242 total.

Illinois struggles in Arizona
  Jackie Calamaro, the 2009 PIAA champion as a senior at Radnor, and her Illinois teammates had a few rough days at the Clover Cup, hosted last week by Notre Dame at at the Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Ariz.
   Calamaro, a redshirt sophomore, had rounds of 81, 84 and 86 over the 6,209-yard, par-72 layout and finished in a tie for 92nd at 251 with, among others, teammate Michelle Mayer, who had rounds of 81, 86 and 84.
   Illinois posted rounds of 321, 321 and 324 and ended up last in the field of 16 at 966.
   The Illini were led by Samantha Postillion, like Calamaro a redshirt sophomore. Postillion had rounds of 80, 77 and 79 for a 236 total that left her in a tie for 66th. That was one shot better than teammate Crystal Smith (79-77-71), who finished in a tie for 68th at 237. Sophomore Pimploy Thirati finished 85th with rounds of 82, 83 and 80 for a 245 total.
   Oklahoma, led by individual runnerup Chirapat Jao-Javanill (212), took team honors with a 2-under 862 total. The No. 3 Sooners posted a blistering 7-under 281 in the opening round.
  Tulsa’s Kristina Merkle took the team total as her final-round 66 gave her a 6-under 210 total.
   A couple of familiar names – the two players Chichester’s Kan beat in a playoff for her 2010 PIAA crown – showed up on the leaderboard at the Clover Cup.
   Bangor’s Stani Schiavone, who started her collegiate career at Baylor, but transferred to Mississippi, finished alone in eighth place with rounds of 73, 71 and 72 for an even-par 216 total. West Chester East product Gabriella DiMarco, a sophomore at Kansas, had rounds of 82, 81 and 74 to finish in a tie for 68th at 237.
   Delco’s two female state champions, Calamaro and Kan, are in the field at this weekend’s Lady Jaguar Invitational as Kan and the 15th-ranked Boilermakers return to the Augusta, Ga. neighborhood (they have the first major professional men’s championship each year in that neighborhood, little get-together called The Masters Tournament) for the second straight weekend.
   The tournament concludes today and there will be a full report in next TMac Tees Off entry.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Calamaro helps Illini go low

  It’s still pretty chilly around these parts on the first Sunday of March, but we are closing in on the final 100 days – it’s 103 days to be precise – until the 2013 U.S. Open tees off at Merion Golf Club’s famed East Course in the Ardmore section of Haverford Township, Delaware County USA.
   Jackie Calamaro didn’t win a PIAA Championship and two Pennsylvania Junior Girls crowns without taking it low every once in a while.
   The Illinois redshirt sophomore who was the 2009-10 Daily Times Player of the Year as a senior at Radnor, flashed a little of that ability in the final round of last week’s Westbrook Spring Invitational in Peoria, Ariz.
   After rounds of 76 and 78, Calamaro fired a 1-under 73 in the final round, a total matched by sophomore teammate Pimploy Thirati as the Illini posted a team total of 295, their best score of  the 2012-13 campaign.
   Calamaro and Thirati finished in a tie for 26th at 11-over 227. Samantha Postillon, like Calamaro a redshirt sophomore, was another shot back in a tie for 31st with rounds of 77, 76 and 75. Sophomore Michelle Mayer saved her best for last, a 2-over 74 in the final round that enabled her to finish in a tie for 48th at 233 and Ember Schuldt finished in a tie for 61st at 237.
   Senior Crystal Smith competed as an individual and outdid all her teammates, stringing together rounds of even-par 72, 76 and 77 that enabled her to finish in a tie for 20th overall at 9-over 225.
   The team’s final round 295 moved them up a spot in the final team standings to 11th place. The Illini opened the tournament with rounds of 310 and 309 before their impressive final-round surge.
Kan helps Purdue take fifth
   Calamaro’s old scholastic rival, 2010 PIAA and Pennsylvania Women’s Amateur champion Aurora Kan, was also in action last week with Purdue, which entered the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate Tournament in New Orleans as the 10th-ranked team in the country.
   Kan, a sophomore who was the 2010-11 Daily Times Player of the Year at Chichester, helped the Boilermakers finish fifth with a 591 total in an event shortened to 36 holes by torrential rains Monday.
   Kan had rounds of 75 and 78 over the 6,105-yard, par-72 English Turn Golf & Country Club layout that landed her with two of her teammates among the group tied for 51st at 153.
   Senior Laura Gonzalez-Escallon fired a 2-under 70 in the final round that gave her a 1-over 145 total as she finished in a tie for 11th. Senior Kishi Sinha had a pair of 73s and finished in a tie for 13th at 2-over 146.
   Joining Kan at 153 were senior Paula Reto (78-75) and freshman Margaux Vanmol (72-81).
   Purdue had rounds of 295 and 296, to finish 11 shots back of Los Angeles rivals UCLA and top-ranked Southern Cal. The Trojans then took the title by beating the 23rd-ranked Bruins on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff.
  No. 3 Duke took third at 583 and host Tulane was fourth at 589 in the elite 18-team field.
   Baylor’s Hayley Davis fired a 4-under 68 in the second round to take individual honors at 4-under 140