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
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.
Scott’s decision to come to America from Queensland, Australia for a summer of
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
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.