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Friday, May 31, 2013

Joyce returns to form with Warner Cup win

   With the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion just 12 days away on this sweltering Saturday, a report from a Golf Association of Philadelphia event is in order.

   Timothy Joyce of Edgmont Country Club saw his handicap rise from 11 to 16 as the 68-year-old Media resident slowly recovered from an injury suffered throwing the baseball around with his grandson two summers ago.
   But it looked like Joyce had his game back on track on the day after Memorial Day as he fought through cold and rainy conditions to post an 80 at Concord Country Club. That was good for a net 62 that easily gave him the overall title in the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Warner Cup (Net) event.
   “It’s pretty exciting,” Joyce said. “Ever since I got injured it’s been pretty frustrating because my handicap has been going up and up. I was trying to compensate for my shoulder the last few years and my swing has gotten really screwed up. I received a couple of injections this year, one in March and another in May and it’s started to feel better.”
   Joyce really got it going on the back nine at Concord, including a stretch of six straight net under-par scores. He made a natural birdie on the 438-yard, par-5 14th.
   “I hit a good drive and knocked a 9-iron over the corner of the dogleg to 70 yards, then I hit my sand wedge to 10 feet,” said Joyce, who moved from The Springhaven Club to Edgmont a couple of years ago. “(Joyce’s playing partner) Jim Barron was just outside my mark on the same line and lipped out. I made it.”
   A couple of Concord members, Tom O’Dea (66) and Len Orlando (68) finished third and tied for fourth, respectively, in the overall scoring. Ron Brunner of Overbrook Golf Club had a 69 that also earned him top honors among those with handicaps between 17 and 27.
   Some other scores posted by golfers from Delco clubs included: Joseph Dayton (70) of  The Golf Course at Glen Mills; John O’Rourke (70) of McCall Golf & Country Club; Robert Murray (71) of McCall; Evan Angel (73) of Edgmont; Vito Caracappa (73) of Glen Mills; John Kyle (73) of Edgmont; Frank Seltzman (75) of Edgmont; Scott Ryan (77) of Llanerch Country Club; Ed Rogers (78) of Concord; William McCabe Jr. (80) of McCall; Andy Mackinnon (80) of Concord; George Hilley (82) of McCall; and Frank Cook Jr. (85) of McCall. 

   Hoping to get to a wrapup of a strong showing by Llanerch in qualifying for the GAP Team Championships next time.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Purdue settles for third behind dominant Southern Cal

   With only 18 days to go until the 2013 U.S. Open tees off at Merion Golf Club’s East Course in the Ardmore section of Haverford Township on this Memorial Day weekend Sunday, a quick look back at the NCAA Women’s Tournament.

   At the NCAA West Regional, it took a miracle – a school-record 63 by freshman Kyung Kim – for Southern Cal to edge Big Ten co-champ Purdue by a shot for the team title.
   Apparently, the Trojans took it as a wakeup call. Firing a ridiculous 12-under 276 team score in the second round, Southern Cal took control of the NCAA Tournament that concluded Friday on its way to a 19-under 1,133 total that bested the field by 21 shots. The 276 was a course record at the 6,372-yard, par-72 University of Georgia Golf Course and an NCAA Tournament record.
   The Trojans were led by their two talented freshmen, eventual NCAA champion Annie Park and Kim. They were particularly strong in that record-setting second round as Park fired a 5-under 67 and Kim posted a 3-under 69.
   Park added an opening-round 70 and rounds of 70 and 71 in the third and fourth rounds, respectively for a 10-under 278 total that gave her a six-shot victory over Duke’s Lindy Duncan.  Park became just the seventh freshman in NCAA history to win the individual title, a list that includes that Annika Sorenstam.
   Southern Cal opened with a 284, pulled away with the second-round 276, then cooled off a little with a third-round 285 and a final-round 288 to finish 21 shots ahead of Duncan and Duke at 2-over 1,154. The Blue Devils went 286, 289, 287 and 292.
   With the team title out of reach, Purdue grinded out a third-place finish behind a third in the individual race for senior Paula Reto and a really strong tie for 15th from sophomore Aurora Kan, the three-time Daily Times Player of the Year at Chichester.
   Purdue opened with back-to-back 289s in the first two rounds, posted a 295 in the third round and put up a 300 in the final round for a 1,173 total that was one shot better than UCLA, eight shots clear of Arizona St. and 10 shots ahead of Auburn. The Boilermakers were a whopping 40 shots behind Southern Cal and 19 behind Duke, but third place was there for the taking and they grabbed it.
   Reto, the native of Cape Town, South Africa, had rounds of 71, 73, 70 and 72 to finish alone in third place at 2-under 286 and cap a great career at Purdue.
   “I’m pretty excited and very pleased with my team and myself,” Reto told the Purdue website. “I think we played pretty solid for the most part. Here and there I had some up-and-down holes, but  I think I did a good job of playing well. I just tried to be patient out there and that’s what kept me going.”
    Kan, the 2010 PIAA and Pennsylvania Women’s Amateur champion, completed a sophomore campaign during which she made huge strides. She opened the NCAA Tournament with back-to-back subpar rounds, a pair of 1-under 71s. She faltered a little with a 77 in the third round before finishing up with a 1-over 73 that left her at 4-over 292 and a in a tie for 15th. That’s a tie for 15th in an incredibly deep and talented NCAA Tournament field while trying to do the best she could to help the Boilermakers have the highest possible team finish.
   Another senior, Lauren Gonzalez-Escallon, a native of Belgium, had rounds of 72, 73, 72 and 77 to finish in a tie for 23rd. But typical of a senior, Gonzalez-Escallon was at her best when third place in  the team standings were on the line for the Boilermakers. She birdied the last two holes to give Purdue its one-shot edge on UCLA for third.
   Also for Purdue, redshirt senior Kishi Sinha, a native of India, had rounds of 75,73, 77 and 79 for a 304 total that left her in a tie for 68th and freshman Margaux Vanmol, like Gonzalez-Escallon a Belgian, had rounds of 80, 72,76 and 78 for a 306 total that left her in a tie for 80th.
   All in all, a pretty nice 2012-13 campaign for Devon Brouse’s Purdue program.
   Purdue made its 14th straight NCAA Tournament appearance and recorded its eighth straight top-10 finish on the big stage. Purdue had an individual finish third for the third year in row and Gonzalez-Escallon and Reto played in the final group for the fourth year in a row.

Friday, May 24, 2013

McDermott wins Mid-Am for a fourth time

   The 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club’s East Course is so close now we’ve even taken up the countdown in the print pages of the Daily Times and, needless to say, yours truly, with a lot of help from Mr. Google, have been providing the Merion factoids that appear with the countdown. Anyway, round 1 it’s just 19 days away.

   Speaking of Merion and the U.S. Open, Merion member and Haverford High product and Saint Joseph’s University product (pretty sure he has deserved spots in both schools respective athletic Hall of Fame) Michael McDermott tried to get his game in good enough shape to at least make it through the local qualifying and earn a shot in sectional qualifying to play in a U.S. Open on his home course.
   It didn’t quite work out, but he told the Golf Association of Philadelphia website that maybe some of that early preparation might pay off when GAP’s first major of the season, the Middle-Amateur Championship, teed off this week at Fieldstone Golf Club in Greenville, Del.
   It wasn’t easy, but McDermott, owner of five William Hyndman III Awards that go to the GAP Player of the Year, captured his fourth career Mid-Am title Thursday, beating Peter Barron III of Stone Harbor Golf Club in a four-hole aggregate playoff after they had finished tied at even-par 142 after the regulation 36 holes.
   McDermott immediately fell behind by two shots In the playoff when Barron birdied the ninth hole and McDermott made bogey. McDermott got one of those shots back with a par on the third playoff hole, the 17th.
   Both players found the bunker off the tee at the 523-yard,  par-5 18th, which meant neither was going to reach the green in two. McDermott drilled his third-shot  approach from 146 yards to 12 feet, on the same line as the birdie putt he had an hour earlier that got him in the playoff.
   Barron’s approach from  110 yards caught the front of the green and trickled back into the fairway. A poor pitch left him with a 25-footer for par and he left that putt four feet short. When McDermott knocked in his birdie putt, it was over.
   “It was such a battle for two days,” McDermott told the GAP website. “It’s such a tough golf course. The leaderboard was all over the place all day. There were moments when I was four back of Ray Thompson and he’s just playing perfect golf and I’m figuring he’s going to finish at 2-under and I have to do something miraculous.
   “Then he had his unfortunate stumble. Then I have a feeling I can win it and I end up in a playoff.  The playoff was such a roller coaster. Pete outplayed me. He did everything but win the playoff. And then I make that great birde at the last. I’m very, very excited.”
   McDermott was unaware that he trailed Barron by a shot when he reached the 18th  in regulation. But the 38-year-old still has a little of the power that made him the dominant player in this area in the early 2000s. A big drive left him 240 yards to the hole and he reached the par-5 hole in two with a 4-iron. His first putt went by, but put him on a line that would look very familiar an hour later and he made the birdie putt.
   That gave him a second straight even-par 71 over the 6,638-yard, par-71 layout and a 142 total. Barron followed up an opening-round 73 with a sparkling 2-under 69 to get into the playoff with McDermott.
   McDermott’s last Mid-Am title came in 2008 and was also at Fieldstone.
   In the meantime, family and business have taken their rightful places ahead of golf in McDermott’s priority list. But the Mid-Am victory is proof that McDermott is still a force to be reckoned with on the GAP circuit.
   Third place went to Jeff Osberg, who moved his considerable talent from  Llanerch Country Club to Huntingdon Valley Country Club over the winter. Osberg’s second-round 68 was the lowest score of the day and, combined with an opening-round 76, left him at 2-over 144.
   Chris Lange Jr. of Overbrook Golf Club had rounds of 74 and 72 and ended up in seventh place at 146.
   Shawn Levin (75-72) of Rolling Green Golf Club and Overbrook veteran Oscar Mestre (76-71) were among four players tied for eighth at 147.
   Overbrook’s Thompson, at 61 years young, had an opening-round 71 and, as McDermott alluded to, looked like he was on his way to becoming the oldest to ever win the Mid-Am when he made a pair of double bogeys and a triple bogey on the way home to fall out of contention. Still, he shot 77 and finished among four players in a tie for 12th at 148.
    Also at that figure was Llanerch’s Steve Seiden (72-76), a Strath Haven All-Delco, and McDermott’s young brother Brian (74-74), a Llanerch member, and, like Michael, a former Haverford High and Saint Joe’s standout.
   Michael Quinn of Edgmont Country Club had rounds of 79 and 73 for a 152 total.
   Will Holt (77-78), a former Daily Times sports scribe playing out of Kennett Square Golf & Country Club, and Conrad Von Borsig (78-77), the 2004-05 Daily Times Player of the Year at Strath Haven playing out of White Manor Country Club, both landed at 155. Also at that figure was Edgmont’s Peter Moran, who had rounds of 75 and 80.
   Jon Lavin (79-80) of Rolling Green finished at 159.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Siegfried earns chance for a spot at Merion

   With the 2013 U.S. Open teeing off at Merion Golf Club’s historic East Course for the fifth time in just 26 days, it’s a good time to recap the three local Open qualifiers that have been held over the last week or so at three different courses in Chester County.

   In Friday’s Daily Times, I had a story on Braden Shattuck, the 2011-12 Daily Times Player of the Year at Sun Valley, advancing out of the local qualifier at Waynesborough Country Club May 9 with a 1-over 72.
    I also  mentioned that Michael Kania, the two-time Haverford School All-Delco who recently capped an outstanding three years with the Villanova program , lost in a playoff for the last of the seven available spots out of the Waynesborough qualifier.
   I’ll get back to some of the other Delco players who teed it up at Waynesborough.
   This Thursday, the last of the three qualifiers in Chester County was held at Applebrook Golf Club. There, another Haverford School All-Delco who also teed it up this spring for Villanova, Cory Siegfried, was one of four survivors among the eight players who carded 1-over 72s at the 6,810-yard, par-71 Applebrook layout as he parred the third extra hole to earn a shot at the 36-hole sectional qualifying test.
  Siegfried, the 2010 Pennsylvania Amateur champion, was the only amateur to qualify at Applebrook. Among the players he beat in the playoff were another former Haverford School standout, Nelson Hargrove, and Spring-Ford Country Club head pro Rich Steinmetz, one of the Philadelphia Section PGA’s top players.
   Siegfried went to the University of Virginia out of high school and then resurfaced in graduate school at Villanova with a year of eligibility remaining that he put to good use in giving the Wildcats some veteran depth during the 2012-13 campaign that only recently wrapped up.
   “It’s pretty nice,” Siegfried told the Golf Association of Philadelphia website. “It feels good to move on, especially since I’ve never done it. It’ll be interesting to see what the second stage is like. I can imagine it’s a lot harder.”
  Also at Applebrook, James Kania, like younger brother Michael at Waynesborough, just missed with his 2-over 73 a shot out of the playoff that Siegfried survived. James Kania was the 2005-06 Daily Times Player of the Year.
   By the way, James Kania helped Overbrook Golf Club reach the final four of the GAP team matches when he picked up a couple of valuable points in a battle with Huntingdon Valley’s Andrew Mason in a meeting of the respective 2009 and 2011 winners of the William Hyndman Award that goes to the GAP Player of the Year. Philadelphia Cricket Club (with a big boost from Haverford School All-Delco and two-time Inter-Ac League champion Cole Berman) prevailed last weekend to take the title in the GAP team matches.
  Also on the near-miss list at Applebrook was another Overbrook member, Episcopal Academy senior Sean Fahey, who matched James Kania’s 73.
   Billy Stewart, the former Malvern Prep standout who honed his game growing up at Llanerch Country Club, had a 75. At 76 were Overbrook Golf Club veteran Chris Lange and Ted Brennan, the third member of the Haverford School connection at Villanova this season along with Michael Kania and Siegfried.
   Radnor Valley Country Club head pro George Forster was at 77, Anthony List and Merion Golf Club head of instruction Mark Sheftic were at 78, Jason Loehrs of Drexel Hill and Conrad Von Borsig, the 2004-05 Daily Times Player of the Year at Strath Haven, were at 79. Former Haverford High standout Jimmy Pokorny had an 81.
   In the local qualifier held Monday at a chilly Whitford Country Club, Strath Haven All-Delco Steve Seiden, a member at Llanerch, carded a 77, one shot behind the final qualifying cutoff. Seiden was joined at that figure by Mike Ladden, the head pro at Whitford.
   John Allen of Media carded an 80.
   Gettting back to the Waynesborough qualifier of May 9, Eddie Johnson of Havertown was another of the group that included Michael Kania at 74 who failed to survive the playoff.
   Stu Ingrahm, the head instructor  at the M Golf Range in Newtown Square and the reigning Philadelphia Section PGA Player of the Year, was at 75, as were Radnor High All-Delco Carey Bina and Drexel Hill’s Chris Hoyle.
   Michael McDermott, the five-time GAP Player of Year, would dearly have loved to get a shot at qualifying for an Open at his home course, but he posted a 77 at Waynesborough.
   Michael Davis, a member at Aronimink Golf Club and the Inter-Ac League champion as a freshman at Malvern Prep in 2010, had a 79, as did Overbrook veteran Oscar Mestre.
   Among the group at 80 were Radnor High sophomore Paul Yun, Jimmy Johnston, a Wayne resident and another member of the Villanova golf team this season, former Marple Newtown and Philadelphia University standout Ryan O’Donnell and Gerhard Van Arkel Jr. of Haverford.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Southern Cal a little more brilliant than Purdue

  With just 33 days until the 2013 U.S. Open tees off at Merion Golf Club’s East Course (and the 2011-12 Daily Times Player of the Year from Sun Valley Braden Shattuck has put himself in position to get a shot at being in the field, a story I’ll be working on this week), it was a big weekend on the NCAA women’s golf front.

   Aurora Kan, the 2010 PIAA champion as a senior at Chichester, and her Purdue teammates will be taking a lot of momentum to the NCAA Tournament May 21-24 at the University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Ga., after a strong second-place finish to top-ranked Southern California at this weekend’s West Regional Tournament.
  It took something of a miraculous finish by the Trojans to edge the Boilermakers by a single shot, 859-860, for the team title.
   All Southern Cal needed was a school-record 8-under 63 from freshman Kyung Kim and a 3-under 68 from freshman Annie Park, which enabled her to share individual honors with Purdue senior Paula Reto.  Kim was a prize recruit for the Trojans, but all she did Saturday was rattle off nine birdies, including four straight from holes 14 to 17, to give Southern Cal its fourth straight reigional crown.
   There were plenty of heroes for Purdue, led by Reto, the native of South Africa. Reto flashed her talent with a final round of 5-under 66 that included five birdies and  no bogeys over the 6,267-yard, par-71 Stanford Golf Course in Stanford, Calif. Combined with her first two rounds of 71 and 69, it gave Reto a 7-under 206 and a share of first place with USC’s Park, who had rounds of 67 and 71 before her final-round 68.
   Reto’s total broke her own school record for a 54-hole event by a shot.
   Reto led the way as Purdue put up rounds of 291, 285 and 283 for its 859 total. Going into the final day, Purdue had held a one-shot edge on Vanderbilt  and led USC by two shots. Led by Park and Kim, the Trojans made up the difference with a final-round 280. Purdue certainly didn’t blow this tournament, USC had to be very, very good to beat the Boilermakers.
   Purdue’s freshman phenom, Belgian Margaux Vanmol, was at her best at Stanford with steady rounds of 74, 72 and 70 for a 3-over 216 total that gave her a share of 10th place.
   Redshirt senior Kishi Sinha, a native of India, was also solid with rounds of 74,72 and 73 for a 219 total that left her in a tie for 22nd. Senior Laura Gonzalez-Escallon, like Vanmol, a native of Belgium, finished in a tie for 33rd with rounds of 72,76 and 74 for a 222 total.
   Kan, a sophomore and a three-time Daily Times Player of the Year at Chichester, rounded out the Purdue contingent in a tie for 39th, a shot back of Gonzalez-Escallon. Kan had rounds of 75, 73 and 75 for a 223 total.
   Vanderbilt couldn’t keep up with the torrid pace established by USC and Purdue, but easily earned third with a final-round 291 for an 869 total.
   The top eight teams earned spots in the NCAA Tournament and after the top three, the qualifiers were South Carolina (874), host Stanford (875) and Arizona, Oregon and San Jose St., all of whom finished in a tie for sixth at 889.
   Purdue will be joined at the NCAA Tournament by fellow Big Ten teams Michigan St.,  Northwestern and Wisconsin. Northwestern, which shared the Big Ten Tournament team title with Purdue, finished sixth in the East Regional Tournament. Wisconsin and Michigan St. were seventh and eighth, respectively, at the Central Regional Tournament.