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Monday, April 29, 2013

Purdue women earn share of Big Ten title

   After 884 golf shots, you wouldn’t expect that two teams would end up in a tie, but that’s exactly what happened over the weekend as 2010 PIAA champion Aurora Kan out of Chichester and her Purdue Boilermakers shared the Big Ten team title with Northwestern.
   There was no denying Purdue’s Paula Reto, the senior from South Africa, the individual title as she tamed the 6,121-yard, par-72 Donald Ross Golf Course at French Lick, Ind. with rounds of 71, 71 and 70 for a 4-under 212 total that was seven shots clear of the field.
   Reto helped the ninth-ranked Boilermakers put up team scores of 293, 294 and 297 as they made up a five-shot deficit on the Wildcats in the final round.
   In the tense final three holes with the title on the line, Reto had two pars and a birdie and Kan, redshirt senior Kishi Sinha and freshman Margaux Vanmol parred out to enable the Boilermakers to secure their piece of the title.
   Sinha, a native of New Delhi, India, finished in a tie for seventh with rounds of 73, 73 and 77 for a 223 total. Kan, a sophomore and three-time Daily Times Player of the Year at Chichester, continued her strong play this spring as she was a shot back of Sinha in a tie for ninth with rounds of 74, 76 and 74. Vanmol, a freshman from Belgium, had rounds of 76, 74 and 76 for a 226 total that left her in a tie for 16th.
   It was a bit of a disappointing weekend for Laura Gonzalez-Escallon, the senior from Belgium who was the defending individual champion. She had rounds of 75, 77 and 81 for a 233 total that left her in a tie for 35th. Freshman Brooke Beegle, out of Fishers, Ind., had rounds of 84, 76 and 83 for a 243 total that left her in a tie for 59th.
   Don’t be surprised to see Gonzalez-Escallon bounce back in a big way as the Boilermakers head west after learning Monday night they will be the fourth seed at the NCAA West Regional May 9-11 at the Stanford Golf Course at Stanford University.
   Jackie Calamaro, the 2009 PIAA champion at Radnor, had a decent wrapup of her 2012-13 campaign as a redshirt sophomore at Illinois at the Big Ten Tournament.
   Calamaro had steady rounds of 79,  83 and 80 for a 243 total that left her in a tie for 59th.
   The Illini were led by junior Ember Schuldt (78-76-75—232, tied 32nd), redshirt sophomore Samanatha Postillion (77-80-79—237, tied 45th) and sophomore Michelle Mayer (77-81-83—237, tied 45th) as they ended up in 12th place with rounds of 311, 318 and 317 for a 946 total.

Shattuck ends up tied for 14th at CAA tourney

   Braden Shattuck, the 2011-12 Daily Times Player of the Year at Sun Valley, wrapped up a strong freshman season at Delaware with a tie for 14th at the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament at the 7,069-yard, par-72 Reserve Club course at St. James Plantation in Southport, N.C.
   Shattuck faltered in the final round with an 82 after opening the tournament with rounds of 74 and 75. Shattuck saw his streak of four straight top-10 finishes snapped.
   The Blue Hens were by senior captain Ben Conroy, who saved his best for last, a final-round of even-par 72 enabling him to finish in a tie for 10th at 228.
   Conroy also helped Delaware post a final-round 305, which, combined with its first two rounds of 309 and 311 enabled it to finish fifth in the team standings at 925.
   Led by individual champion Payne McLeod (73-67-75—215), UNC-Wilmington claimed the team title with rounds of 305, 283 and 300 for an 888 total.

Terzian finishes tied for 21st at CAA tourney

   Speaking of Delaware, the CAA women’s tourney was held a week earlier at the Reserve Course at St. James Plantation and Episcopal Academy product Amanda Terzian, a sophomore with the Blue Hens, finished in a tie for 21st with rounds of 82, 85 and 79 for a 246 total.
   Delaware was led by freshman Nathalie Filler (81-85-79) and sophomore Baralee Theinthong (77-80-88), both of whom finished in a tie for 17th.
   Another shot back among the players tied for 21st at 246 with Terzian was Delaware freshman Vimonthip Benjasupawan (77-82-87).
   Delaware had rounds of 316, 331 and 328 to finish fifth at 975.
   Led by individual champion Shabril Brewer (76-68-81—225), James Madison captured the team title with rounds of 321, 298 and 323 for a 942 total.

Cox, Kim are winners on Junior Tour

   The Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour was in Berks County Saturday at Galen Hall Golf Club and Dalton Cox made quite an impression among the nine-holers by finishing first with a 47.
   Gabriella Kim, headed for the Radnor varsity next fall, topped the 13-to-15 age group with an 88. Kaitlyn Lees of Bryn Mawr was second with a 92 and Caitlin Bullock of Wayne finished sixth with a 122.
  In the boys 13-15 division, John Updike of Wayne finished second with an 87. Jacob Liberman of Radnor was  ninth with a 94.
   Robert Olseski III of Wayne finished third in the 16-18 division with an 89.

   A little later in the week, we’ll be back at it with a wrapup of the Villanova men at the Big East Tournament and a few thoughts from the U.S. Open Media Day Monday at Merion. My playing partner was none other than Chris Berman of ESPN fame and while I played horribly, the company was good and Boomer didn’t play badly at all.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Villanova hopes to heat up at Big East tourney

   The college golf scene is heading for a big conference tournament weekend as the countdown to the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club’s historic East Course reaches just 50 days to go.

    If the players aren’t thawed out yet, a trip to Orlando, Fla., for the season-ending Big East Tournament should do the trick for the Villanova men’s golf team.
   The Wildcats survived winter-like conditions at Penn State last weekend to finish ninth in the team standings at 914 in the Rutherford Intercollegiate.
   Villanova was led, as it has been all spring, by its senior co-captains, two-time Haverford School All-Delco Michael Kania and Steve Skurla.
  Kania had rounds of 76, 73 and 79 and Skurla had rounds of 75, 75 and 78 on Penn State’s Blue Course as the two landed on the same 228 total in a tie for 30th. Playing 36 holes with temperatures hovering around 40 and the wind howling Saturday could not have been much fun.
   Villanova posted team totals of 303, 301 and 310 for a 914 score that left it a shot back of a Georgetown and 14 shots back of sixth-place Connecticut, two teams the Wildcats will run into at the Big East Tournament.
   Binghamton, with rounds of 302, 301 and 287 and an 890 total, won the team title by five shots over Xavier. Host Penn State shared third place with Big Ten rival Minnesota at 896.
   Xavier’s Tanapol Vattanapisit (73-73-70) won the individual title in a playoff with Penn State’s JD Dornes (73-69-74) after the two finished tied at 3-over 216.
   Rounding out the scoring for Villanova were sophomore Teddy Brennan (77-77-76), a Haverford School product, and senior Derek Jones (75-78-77), who were among three players who finished in a tie for 34th at 230; and grad student Cory Siegfried (77-76-80), the third member of the Wildcats’ Haverford School Connection, who finished in a tie for 44th at 233.

Purdue the runnerup at Lady Buckeye

   It probably wasn’t appreciably warmer at the 6,268-yard, par-72 Scarlet Course at the Ohio State University for the Lady Buckeye Invitational, but No.-10 ranked Purdue fought through the chilly conditions to finish second in the team standings behind the effort of individual champion Laura Gonzalez-Escallon, the senior from Belgium.
   Gonzalez-Escallon tuned up for the defense of her individual title at this weekend’s Big Ten Tournament in French Lick, Ind. by firing rounds of 73, 73 and 75 for a 5-over 221 total that was three shots clear of Amy Meier of the host Buckeyes.
   The Boilermakers again got a solid supporting effort from sophomore Aurora Kan, the 2010 PIAA champion at Chichester, who shared fifth place with teammate Paula Reto, the senior from South Africa. Kan had rounds of 77, 74 and 76 to finish tied with Reto (80-73-74) at 227.
   Purdue had the low team round of the tournament, a 295 total in the middle round. Combined with an opening-round 310 and a final-round 306, it left the Boilermakers at 911, seven shots back of Michigan State, a team they will see again in French Lick.
   Purdue’s other scorers included redshirt senior Kishi Sinha (80-75-81), who finished in a tie for 26th at 236, freshman Brooke Beegle (81-78-86), who finished 48th at 245 and freshman Margaux Vanmol (84-79-83), who finished in a tie for 49th a shot back of Beegle at 246.
   Kan’s old rival on the high school postseason trail, Jackie Calamaro, who won the PIAA title in 2009 as a senior at Radnor, also teed it up with Illinois at the Lady Buckeye.
   Calamaro, a redshirt sophomore, had rounds of 86, 84 and 80 and finished in a tie for 56th at 250. The Illini were led by another redshirt sophomore, Samantha Postillion (78-80-78) and junior Ember Schuldt (77-79-80), who were among the nine players, including Purdue’s Sinha, in the group tied for 26th at 236.
   Illinois had rounds of 315, 320 and 321 for a 956 total that left them in 11th place. The Illini, too, will be headed for French Lick.

Shattuck continues to shine

   Delaware freshman Braden Shattuck, who was the 2011-12 Daily Times Player of the Year as a senior at Sun Valley, again paced the Blue Hens with his seventh-place finish at the Navy Spring Invitational, helping them finish seventh in a stacked 21-team field.
   Shattuck matched par over the 6,611-yard, par-71 Naval Academy Golf Course in Sunday’s second round to go along with an opening-round 77 to finish in a tie for seventh at six-over 148. It was Shattuck’s sixth top-10 finish of the season and his fourth straight, the longest run of top-10s by a Blue Hen since Justin Martinson had five straight in the spring of 2010.
   Delaware’s second-round 303 was three shots better than its opening-round 306 and left it at 609. Virginia and Penn shared the top spot at 599.
   Shattuck and the Blue Hens will be in action at the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament this weekend at St. James Plantation in Southport, N.C.
   Bucknell senior Dan Bernard, a Malvern Prep product who plays out of Aronomink Golf Club, had rounds of 73 and 86 to finish in a tie for 63rd at 159. The Bison, after an impressive opening-round 304, fell back with a second-round 331 to finish 16th at 635.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Holt has strong showing in GAP Mid-Am qualifying

   Will Holt spent a couple of years helping us out in the Daily Times sports department before realizing that working at a newspaper wasn’t helping his golf game.
   Then he spent some time working in the golf business as an assistant pro at a couple of clubs, including Rolling Green. That was another job that wasn’t conducive to lowering your scores.
   He is a reinstated amateur now and last Saturday he fired a 4-over 76 at Downingtown Country Club to finish In a five-way tie for second in qualifying for the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s first major championship of the year, the Middle-Amateur Championship, which will be played May 22-23 at Fieldstone Golf Club.
  Holt plays out of Kennett Square Golf & Country Club and has won two club championships. Followers of my Golf Notebook that appears in the Daily Times print edition in the summer may recall that Holt won the club championship two years ago in a match that was interrupted when Holt realized all the fire engines he heard blaring were headed to his townhouse near the course to put out a small fire.
   When the all clear was issued, Holt returned to the course and finished off the victory.
   The qualifying medal went to Overbrook Golf Club’s Chris Lange Jr., a Newtown Square resident and son of legendary GAP competitor Chris Lange. Lange, a commercial real estate broker at Binswanger, fired a 1-over 73. Lange was coming off a 3-under 67 at Overbrook.
   “I went out confident,” the 28-year-old Lange told the GAP website. “I didn’t try to press the issue because the greens were aerated and the wind was blowing, so I just kind of let it go.”
   Lange couldn’t swing a club for four months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff.
   “It bothered me all last summer and I got an MRI in September,” Lange said of the offending shoulder. “My body feels healthy for the first time in a while. With all of the work I did on my shoulder, I feel more stable. I had four months of physical therapy, so my swing feels different.  My misses aren’t as bad because I’m a little bit stronger than I was.”
   Also earning spots at the GAP  Mid-Am were Robert Good of Merion Golf Club with a 78, Tom Spano of Llanerch Country Club with a 79 and Shawn Lavin of Rolling Green Golf Club with a 79. The cut fell at that 7–over 79 figure.

Walsh will captain Team GAP

   P. Chet Walsh, the Philadelphia Country Club member who, in a former life, coached the Archbishop Carroll boys basketball team, will serve as team captain as the top GAP players take on the best the New Jersey State Golf Association has to offer in  the 52nd Compher Cup at Galloway National Golf Club Wednesday.
   “it makes you feel good that you’re selected to play on  any of the honorary teams,” the 46-year-old Walsh, a Wayne resident, told the GAP website. “I think it’s a goal that a lot of people set each season – to play well enough to be considered for it.”
   Among the six rookies on the GAP’s Compher Cup roster is Stephen Dressel, a 24-year-old Wayne resident and a former Conestoga standout.
   “It’s certainly an honor to be selected,” Dressel told the GAP website. “I’m definitely looking forward to the event – playing a very tough golf course from my understanding in Galloway. It will be nice to play in a team atmosphere.”
  Llanerch Country Club will be represented by Brian McDermott, of the golfing  McDermott family out of Haverford High and Saint Joseph’s, and Jeff Osberg, who not only qualified for the 2012 U.S. Amateur, but made it to match play and was ousted by the eventual champion, Steven Fox.

Perla is in the swing

  The Philadelphia Section PGA teed off its 2013 tournament campaign with the Callaway Golf TPD Championship at the Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Militia Hill course Monday.
   Radnor Valley Country Club assistant pro Tony Perla racked up 24 points in the modified Stableford scoring system to take runnerup honors behind Dave McNabb, the Applebrook Golf Club pro who took the title with 28 points.
   Perla had five birdies and 11 pars on his way to his 24-point total.
   Perla’s boss, Radnor Valley head pro George Forster, finished third in the senior division with 18 points.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

1997 U.S. Junior produces a second Masters champion

   With the U.S. Open at Merion’s historic East Course just 57 days away, we now know who will arrive in the Ardmore section of Haverford Township with the only chance to achieve the calendar Grand Slam and that would be …
   Adam Scott, as you were reminded a few times, became the first Australian to wear the Masters green jacket when his 12-foot birdie putt in the gathering darkness rolled in to defeat a tough cookie in two-time major champion Angel Cabrera.
   Scott, though, is the second Masters champion to emerge from the field of the 1997 U.S. Junior Amateur, which was held right here in Delaware County at Aronimink Golf Club. The first, of course, was South African Trevor Immelman, the 2008 Masters champion.
   I searched through that Delco history book that is the Daily Times electronic library and found a nice feature story on the then 17-year-old Scott from the U.S. Junior Boys from Aronomink penned by Bob Lentz, who went on to bigger and better things at The Associated Press after leaving the Daily Times.
   Lentz chronicled Scott’s decision to come to America from Queensland, Australia for a summer of junior golf.
   Just went it looked like his stay would not include a trip to Aronomink after an opening-round 72 in qualifying at Los Coyotes Country Club in Buena Park, Calif., Scott offered a glimpse into the kind of potential he had when he ripped off a second-round 62 to win the qualifying medal by three shots.
   Then it was off to Aronimink, where Scott had rounds of 70 and 72 at the Donald Ross gem in Newtown Township to reach match play.
   “The chipping and putting is so different on this side of the world,” Scott told Lentz that summer day nearly 16 years ago. “There is a lot of different grasses. It’s a lot easier back home, I think. But the greens here (at Aronomink) are similar to what I’m used to.”
   The library entries skip Scott’s elimination from match play. Immelman reached the final before losing to Jason Allred, a player who has knocked the door of the PGA Tour, but never quite made it.
  Immelman reached the final with a semifinal victory over a 15-year-old phenom named Sean O’Hair. Maybe some day O’Hair, who lives in West Chester, but who became an adopted son of Delco when he  married Sun Valley All-Delco Jackie Lucas, will join that Aronomink/U.S. Junior Class of ’97 as a Masters champion.
   One more note on the Aussie Masters champion. It was mentioned on a few of the post-Masters telecasts, but the winner of the last U.S. Open at Merion in 1983 was another Australian great, David Graham, in  what this long-time Merion watcher considers one of the most underrated final-round U.S. Open performances in the whole dang history of the tournament.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The late Danny Hearing and his impact on Eastern golf

  With the Masters drama building and the countdown to the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club’s East Course at 61 days (since today is April 13 and the Open tees off June 13, I think you can get away with saying it’s two months away), a nice little golf story out of Eastern University in Radnor Township.
   Dan Mouw, the sports information director at Eastern (and women ‘s soccer coach because sometimes at a small university you have to wear more than one hat), reported that the Danny Hearing Golf Facility was officially dedicated this week.
   The room in Gough Hall will serve as the year-round nerve center for the men’s and women’s golf programs at Eastern.
   The facility includes two hitting bays, a putting surface with surrounding turf for chipping and lockers at which team members can store their sticks and gear. The room will allow Eastern golfers to work on their games all year round. Considering winter lasted until last weekend around these parts, that’s no small thing.
   Each hitting bay is equipped with a Foresight GC2 Simulator, a sophisticated camera and computer system that gives players feedback on their swings. The simulator is able to evaluate ball spin, speed, and trajectory and is the type of technology you can find in the corporate and VIP fitting studios of major club manufacturers like Cobra/Puma, Cleveland Golf, Adams Golf and Fujikura as well as the research and developments labs of TaylorMade and Ping.
   Eastern freshman Ryan Torrison demonstrated the power of the simulators with several shots. When players are working in the hitting bays, other players can work on chipping and putting on the multi-tiered putting surface. The surface rolls at 10.5 on a Stimpmeter.
    Brad Fields, director of athletics at Eastern, also announced that nearby St. Davids Golf Club has agreed to be the official home course for Eastern golf. Finding a home course has been a priority for Fields since he arrived at Eastern. Dave Jones, the associate athletic director at Eastern, did a lot of the detail work in making the Danny Hearing Indoor Golf Facility a reality.
   Fields sees the room, which was funded entirely by private donations, as the kind of facility that can be a centerpiece for recruiting the kind of players who can take Eastern golf to the next level in the region and even nationally.
   Maybe the coolest part of the whole story is the facility’s namesake, Danny Hearing.
   Hearing was trained as an electrician, served in the U.S. Navy and spent his life in heavy industry and commercial plant operations. Not exactly a country-club guy.
   He and his wife Charlene had two sons and were youth sponsors and mentors to countless teens in their church.
   Hearing loved hunting, fishing and a day on the golf course with his children and grandchildren. When asked how a round of golf went, his reply always included the phrase “needs practice” because that meant it wouldn’t be long before he was back enjoying another day on the links.
   Hearing had no direct connection with Eastern, but one of his children does and decided it would be a worthwhile tribute to Hearing to provide funding  for a facility that would make a positive impact on the men and women who tee it up for the Eagles. After all, even a good golfer, “needs practice.”
   Hearing died in June 2011, but his sprit will live on in the Indoor Golf Facility at Eastern that bears his name. Which just shows you, you don’t have to be a pro or even a great golfer to give back to the game.