As the 2013 U.S.
Open approaches (the countdown is at 37 days until the best players in the
world tee off at Merion Golf Club’s East Course), I’ve often thought of Chris
Lange, the veteran Overbrook Golf Club standout who is the only player in the
117-year history of the Golf Association of Philadelphia to have won all four
of its major championships (Amateur, Mid-Amateur, Open and Patterson Cup).
A whole bunch of
local college players, including three-time Daily
Times Player of the Year Adam Cohan of Radnor, and, in the case of Malvern
Prep’s Cole Wilcox, a high school player, earned berths in the 2005 U.S.
Amateur at Merion.
The one exception
was Lange, who is the same age as me, which means he turned 50 that year. They
gathered all the local qualifiers at Merion for
Media Day and I’ll always remember the impassioned plea Lange made to
bring the Open back to Merion.
He said when he was
driving in the neighborhood of the East Course, he would often take a detour
down Golf House Road and admire the 14th and 15th holes
that border the road, just because he loved the course so much.
“Give Merion its
Open,” Lange said that day. I guess somebody was listening.
Lange came to mind
with news last week that he took his game out of mothballs and fired a 1-under
70 at White Manor Country Club to capture GAP’s Warner Cup (gross) event. The victory came on the heels of a 2012
campaign during which Lange kept the sticks in the shop for most of the year,
citing a bit of golf burnout.
“I’ve been chasing
tournaments for 50 years,” the 58-year-old Lange told the GAP website. “It’s
nice to shoot a good score in competition. This was a surprising round. I
haven’t been playing that well. I have an ear infection, so I wasn’t sure if I
was going to come out and get it in.
“You feel OK once
you start making birdies. It puts a different perspective on things. Today I
had two thoughts that worked: A thought with the long game and a thought with
putting and I was like a different guy out there. My rolodex is getting very
Birdies on the
third, sixth and seventh holes enabled Lange to
make the turn in 32. He struggled a little on the inward nine, but when
a six-foot par putt hung on the lip and then tumbled in, he completed his tour
of the 6,626-yard, par-71 White Manor layout under par.
Overbrook’s stable of senior standouts, Ray Thompson, finished in a tie for
third with a 2-over 73.
proprietor of the M Golf Range in Newtown Square (and a fellow Class of ’73 Archbishop
Carroll product of mine), was at 78. Merion’s Gordon Jamieson and Aronomink
Golf Club’s Martin Klagholz were at 78 and Edgmont Country Club’s Michael Quinn
was at 79.
McFadden and Rolling Green Golf Club’s Robert Billings were at 80 and The
Springhaven Club’s Andrew Harmer was at 81.
Lange and Thompson
also took top honors in their respective age groups, 55-to-59 and 60-and-over.