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Friday, August 30, 2013

McDermott earns trip to U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship

   Michael  McDermott wasn’t feeling too good about his chances to qualify for the U.S. Mid-Amateur when he arrived at the tee at the 175-yard, par-3 17th hole at Doylestown Country Club Tuesday.
   McDermott, the Merion Golf Club member and Haverford High and Saint Joseph’s product, was 1-over for his round. Then an errant tee shot left him in the right rough, 35 feet from the hole. He would have to scramble just to save par.
   But then his chip got on the green, broke at least a foot and went right in the hole for a birdie. Suddenly, things looked a lot better.
   The 38-year-old father of three then manhandled the 519-yard, par-5 finishing hole, reaching the putting surface in two with a 7-iron and two-putting for another birdie. His 1-under 71 left him a shot behind co-medalists Grant Skylass of Wyomissing and Jay Whitby of Wyoming, Del. and, more importantly, earned him one of just seven available tickets to the U.S. Mid-Am, which will be played Oct. 5-10 at the Country Club of Birmingham in Birmingham, Ala.
   “It never looked like 1-under for me,” McDermott told the Golf Association of Philadelphia website. “I was 2-over at the turn and 1-over on the 17th tee. For me, it was a couple of bad shots and missed short putts. But I know that on a  course with four par-5s, there’s always time to come back. I fought pretty hard.”
   It will be McDermott’s sixth trip to the U.S. Mid-Am. He went four straight times from 2001 to 2004 and again in 2007. It has been a pretty good 2013 for McDermott with wins in the GAP Mid-Am and the Philadelphia Amateur and a third in the Philadelphia Open.
   “Golf was pretty easy for parts of the summer when you have the winning touch, but the Patterson Cup and today were pretty hard,” McDermott said.
   Also in the group at 1-under 71 was Philadelphia Country Club’s P. Chet Walsh, the former Archbishop Carroll boys basketball coach. Walsh’s roller-coaster round included seven birdies over the 6,589-yard, par-72 Doylestown layout.
   Meanwhile, Overbrook Golf Club’s Brad McFadden earned the final ticket to Birmingham as he carded an even-par 72 and then beat 2008 U.S. Senior Amateur champion and two-time U.S. Walker Cup-winning captain George “Buddy” Marucci in a playoff.  The 61-year-old Marucci, like McDermott a Haverford High product, also lost in a playoff in qualifying for the U.S. Amateur earlier this summer.
   Hopefully, Marucci will have a little better luck with his first-alternate status than he did with the U.S. Amateur as a spot never opened up for him at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.

Berman finishes tied for 14th at Applebrook

   Reigning Daily Times Player of the Year Cole Berman, a senior at The Haverford School, finished in a tie for 14th in the American Junior Golf Association’s CorseMax/Philadelphia Runner Junior, which concluded Tuesday at Applebrook Golf Club.
   Berman had rounds of 73, 72 and 79 over the 6,678, par-71 Applebrook layout for a 224 total. That left him 10 shots back of Tony Gil of Vaughan, Ontario, who had rounds of 72, 70 and 72 for a 1-over 214 total that earned him in first AJGA victory.
   Wissahickon senior Jalen Griffin was one of the other two players who shared 14th place with Berman.
   A couple of Berman’s Haverford School teammates also teed it up at Applebrook. Sophomore  Max Siegfried had rounds of 80, 88 and 79 to finish 45th at 247 and senior Jake Van Arkel had rounds of 84,79 and 86 to finish 47th at 249. Jack  McAleese of Villanova had rounds of 83, 81 and 91 to finish 49th at 255.
   On the girls side, Radnor sophomore Brynn Walker, coming off a second-place finish in the Lessing’s AJGA Classic in Bedminster, N.J. had rounds of 77, 76 and 82 to finish in a tie for 15th at 235.
   Pennsbury junior Jackie Rogowicz, the runnerup in Class AAA at both the District One and PIAA tournaments a year ago, finished second at Applebrook with a 221 total, two shots back of Vinh-Hop Ngo of Newtown, Mass. Ngo had rounds of 68, 79 and 72 for a 6-over 219 total.

Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour

   Agnes Irwin eighth-grader Kaitylyn Lees, the Inter-Ac League Tournament champion, and Radnor freshman Gabriella Kim continued their summer-long rivalry in a Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour stop Aug. 22 at Coatesville Country Club.
   Lees carded an 82 to finish second in the 13-to-15 division, two shots ahead of Kim, who claimed third with her 84. Samantha Yao of Berwyn took the division title with a 79 over the 5,556-yard, par-72 Coatesville layout.
   In the boys 16-to-18 division, Strath Haven junior Jeff Painter finished fourth with a 92.
In the boys 13-to-15 division, Jacob Calamaro of Newtown Square and John Updike of Wayne were among the four players who finished in a tie for second at 85.
   D.J. Colleran of Radnor finished ninth with an 88, Connor Hale of Garnet Valley finished in a tie for 11th with a 95 and John Lesko of Wayne finished in a tie for 14th with a 98.
   Billy Civitella, a member at Aronimink Golf Club, topped the nine-holers with a 40. Case Hummer of Glen Mills finished fifth with a 43 and June Kim of Wayne finished eighth with a 51.
A team of top Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour competitors traveled to Shore Gate Golf Club In Ocean View, N.J. Tuesday to compete against the top players from the New Jersey PGA Junior Tour in the Jon M. Pritsch Cup, a Ryder Cup-style event.
   Among the Philadelphia contingent were Garnet Valley senior Jack Highfill and Gabriella Kim, the Radnor freshman.
   The New Jersey youngsters claimed the Jon M. Pritsch Cup with a 14-4 victory.
   But all the competitors were winners at the Jon M. Pritsch Cup as they get a chance to apply for scholarships that are awarded to junior golfers planning to pursue a career in a golf-related field. The Jon M. Pritsch Memorial Fund, which commemorates a talented New Jersey junior golfer who died in 1991 of heart disease at age 17, has awarded more than $140,000 in scholarships .

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Another lost weekend for a team of American golfers

     The images of stunned American faces after a bitter defeat at the hands of a talented band of Europeans is becoming familiar to golf fans.
   A year ago it was the America men at Medinah coughing up a big lead on the final day and watching the Euros spray champagne all over the manicured suburban Chicago landscape.
   Sunday, it was American women with that anybody-catch-the-number-of-that-bus-that-just-ran-over-me look at Colorado Country Club in the mile-high air near Denver after the Europeans polished off a very convincing 18-10 victory and won the Solheim Cup for the second straight playing.
   First of all, give the European women credit. They had never won this thing on American soil. They had a young team and Liselotte Neumann, the original Euro invader in the women’s game, the one who made Annika Sorenstam think she might be able to do this, did a great job getting a very young team ready to play.
   When Paula Creamer, a stalwart of the American team, got dusted by 17-year-old Brit Charley Hull in one of the early singles matches Sunday, you knew it was over.
   It was probably over Saturday afternoon when Neumann sat two of her most experienced players, Suzann Pettersen and Catriona Matthew, for the fourball matches and the Europeans swept all four points.
   I would argue that it might have been over a little earlier in the day when Anna Nordqvist dropped that hole-in-one on Morgan Pressel and Jessica Korda on the 17th hole of their foursome match. Pretty stunning way to end a match. Korda could have jarred her tee shot on top of Nordqvist, I guess, but that’s asking a lot. And that still would heft her and Pressel 1-down going to the 18th tee.
  Bottom line, though, as with the Ryder Cup, the Europeans, when put in a team event, seem to putt better than the Americans do.
  The greens were pretty severe at Colorado Country Club, not a shock when you consider one of the greatest putters in the last, oh 50 years  or so, Ben Crenshaw had a hand in designing the course. It seemed like a pretty neat course unless you were an American woman watching some European dance around after dropping another long birdie putt.
   Probably the two most talented young players on the American squad, Lexi Thompson and the enigmatic Michelle Wie, are below-average putters. I’m not sure exactly what you do about that. At least Wie played well enough to silence the critics of Meg Mallon for making her a captain’s pick.
  Suzann Pettersen, probably the most talented player at the Solheim Cup and clearly a leader on the European team, isn’t a great putter either.
   There will be a lot of talk about grit, but it will be just that, talk. But if grit is just competing, than maybe our American men and women need to compete better. It’s almost hard to imagine Creamer or Pressel or Stacy Lewis or Cristie Kerr being more competitive, but I guess that’s the only thing you’re left with. That and putting better, don’t forget the putting better part.
   The remarkable thing about the women’s game is that there still isn’t a vehicle that pits the U.S. against a team with all those Asian women who have winning more than their share of major championships lately. At least the U.S. would be a clear underdog going into that competition.
   Part of it, too, is pretty simple: We’re the big, bad U.S. of A. We think we’re better than everybody else, so when somebody gets a chance to knock us down a peg, you better believe they’re going to give it their best shot.
   The good news is if you’re a fan of the game, there is absolutely no downside to a 24-year old Swede like Caroline Hedwall coming here to go to college, winning an NCAA championship while at Oklahoma St. and then coming back a few years later and throwing a little 5-0 Solheim Cup weekend at her once genial hosts. The game is better for being the worldwide game that it is, even if the U.S. gets savaged in some team matches every other year.
   The Solheim Cup proved something else this weekend and that’s what great theater these team things are. You can’t have them all the time or the golfers would all have nervous breakdowns.
   The advice to the beaten American men of the 2012 Ryder Cup and the beaten American women of the 2013 Solheim Cup remains the same as it always is to teams that get beat in any sport, no matter the margin: Get better, get smarter, putt better, just get better.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Thompson earns trip to U.S. Senior Amateur

   Some of this was ticketed to be the last Golf Notebook of the summer in the print version of the Saturday Daily Times. Until Charlie Manuel got fired …

   At age 61, Overbrook Golf Club’s Ray Thompson reached back in the memory bank for a putting grip that made him a Philadelphia Amateur champion a mere 41 years ago.
   And it worked well enough for the Drexel Hill resident to fire a 1-under 71 at LedgeRock Golf Club in Berks County Monday and earn a trip to the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship. Thompson shared medalist honors with Jay Blumenfeld of Parsippany, N.J. and John Long of Centreville, Va.
   The fourth and final spot to the U.S. Senior Amateur, which will be contest Sept. 21 to 26 at Wade Hamton Golf Club in Cashiers, N.C., went to White Manor Country Club’s Don Donatoni, who matched par with a 72.
   “I figured I didn’t have anything to lose,” Thompson told the GAP website. “My speed was off on a couple of shorter ones, I left them right on the lip and I couldn’t believe they didn’t fall in. But they were on line, so I’m doing something right. Everything’s getting started on the line I want.”
   Thompson dominated the GAP senior division in 2007, winning all three majors on his way to Player of the Year honors. He won the GAP Senior Amateur in 2011. And he was a U.S. Open qualifier in 1977 and ’78.
   He made it to match play at the U.S. Senior Amateur in 2010 and 2011. When he heads for Wade Hampton, he’ll be in it to win it.
   “It’s nice to go back again,” Thompson said. “I want to go down and win the thing, to be honest with you. I’m running out of time.”
   It looked like Thompson had medalist honors sown up when he got it to 4-under by holing a 20-foot birdie putt at the par-3 14th. But bogeys at 15, 16 and 17 dropped him back to 1-under.
   “I thought if I could get through No. 15, then I knew I was in,” Thompson said. “I was trying to get to the 17th tee at 4-under. I didn’t quite get there.”

Kan falls in semifinals

   Aurora Kan, coming off a run to the third round of the U.S. Amateur, saw her bid to add a second Pennsylvania Women’s Amateur title to the one she won prior to the start of her senior season at Chichester in 2010, halted in the semifinals Thursday at Gulph Mills Golf Club by defending champion Ellen Ceresko.
   It was a rematch of a semifinal thriller in 2010 when Kan, a junior at Purdue, had to go to 19 holes to knock out Ceresko, a Penn State senior, on her way to the title. The Big Ten standouts renewed the rivalry Thursday and this time Ceresko, playing out of Glenmaura National Golf Club, got the better of Kan, 3 and 1. Kan was playing out of Hartefeld National Golf Club.
   Ceresko made it two straight Pennsylvania Women’s Amateur titles Friday when she defeated Pennsbury junior Jackie Rogowicz, the PIAA Class AAA runnerup last fall, 5 and 3, in the final.
The opening round of matches was washed out Tuesday, which was made up with the quarterfinals  and semifinals being played Thursday.
   Kan reached the semifinals with a 5 and 4 victory over Erin Lo of Center Square Golf Club while Ceresko won her second straight extra-hole thriller, needing 20 holes to get past Overlook Golf Club’s Allison Weaver. Weaver had reached the second round with a close win herself, edging Aronimink Golf Club’s Lauren Bernard, a senior at Bucknell, in 19 holes.
   Rogowicz’s road to the final included a 4 and 3 victory over Radnor sophomore Brynn Walker, who won the Pennsylvania Junior Girls title earlier this summer, a 2 and 1 win over reigning Philadelphia Women’s Amateur champion Emily Gimpel, the former Mount St. Joseph standout who is at Maryland, and a 4 and 3 victory over Kelli Pry of Coatesville C.C., the 2011 state amateur champion.
Catherine Elliott, the former Notre Dame and Penn standout who plays out of Merion G.C., also earned a spot in the championship flight, but lost on the 19th hole to Shannon Gramley of Avalon G.&C.C. in the first round.
   Another Merion member, Loraine Jones, a scholastic standout at Haverford back in the day, settled for a spot in the first flight and reached the semifinals before falling , 4 and 3, to Lauren Waller of Southpointe G.C.
   In what is likely as competitive a senior division as you can find in any state in the country, Liz Haines, the Merion veteran, reached the semifinals before falling, 3 and 2, to Noreen Mohler of Northampton C.C. Mohler was on a winning U.S. Curtis Cup team as a player and captained a victorious U.S. Curtis Cup squad in 2010.
   Mohler claimed the senior title with a 6 and 5 victory over Sunnybrook Golf Club’s Lisa McGill in the final.

Mason claims Pennsylvania Open title

   Andrew Mason was the dominant amateur player in the Philadelphia area the last two summers, earning the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s William Hyndman III Player of the Year in 2011 and completing an Impressive double in 2012 by taking the Philadelphia Open at legendary Pine Valley Golf Club and the Pennsylvania Amateur right here in Delaware County at Rolling Green Golf Club.
   Mason decided to give the pro game a try and he’s been teeing it up in a variety of mini-tours and hopes to get some status on the Web.com Tour for 2014. This week at Commonwealth National Golf Club, the former Temple standout grabbed the $8,000 winner’s check with a one-shot victory in the Pennsylvania Open.
   Mason opened play Monday with a 3-under 68 at the 7,117-yard, par-71 Commonwealth National layout. The second round was postponed by Tuesday’s torrential rains, so a cut was made at 49 players and the survivors played 36 holes Wednesday.
   Mason fired a pair of 72s Wednesday to finish at 1-under 212, a shot better than John Popeck of Washington. Mason had a comfortable four-shot lead in the final round before letting Popeck back in it with a couple of loose holes, but held on for the victory.
   Leading the local contingent at Commonwealth National was Radnor Valley Country Club head pro George Forster, who finished in a tie for fourth at 3-over 216 as he sandwiched a 77 in the middle round with a 2-under 69 in the opening round and a 1-under 70 in the final round.
   Billy Stewart, the one-time Llanerch Country Club member who was the low pro at last month’s Philadelphia Open, finished in a tie for 13th at 6-over 219.
   A couple of Villanova teammates last spring, Cory Siegfried (234) of Aronimink Golf Club and Ted Brennan of Philadelphia Country Club (235) finished 45th and 46th, respectively. Both are former Haverford School standouts. And Overbrook Golf Club’s Greg Jarmas, the former Lower  Merion standout who was the Ivy League champion as a junior at Princeton last spring, finished in a tie for 48th at 238.

Tough trip to U.S. Amateur

   For those who aren’t among that exclusive group of my Twitter followers (@Tom_McNichol), it was a rough couple of days for the trio of Stephen Seiden, Sean Fahey and Scott Jaster in U.S. Amateur qualifying Monday and Tuesday at The Country Club and Charles River Country Club in suburban Boston.
   Llanerch Country Club’s Seiden bounced back from an opening-round 82 at the more difficult Country Club layout with a 72 at Charles River to finish at 14-over 154.
   Jaster, the three-time Haverford School All-Delco who plays out of Talamore Country Club, added a second-round 77 at The Country Club to the 79 he put up at Charles River for a 16-over 156 total. Overbrook Golf Club’s Fahey, an Inter-Ac League rival of Jaster’s at Episcopal Academy, opened with an 83 at The Country Club and bounced back with a 74 at Charles River to finish a shot back of Jaster at 17-over 157.
   Jaster and Fahey are off to Hanover, N.H. where they will be teammates at Dartmouth and strong additions to Rich Parker’s Big Green squad.

Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour

   The Philadelphia Section PGA Junior Tour made a stop at St. Davids Golf Club Monday and two up-and-coming girls battled it out for top honors in the 13-to-15 division.
   Kaitlyn Lees, the Agnes Irwin eighth-grader who won the Inter-Ac League title last spring, carded an 83 to finish two shots ahead of incoming Radnor freshman Gabriella Kim. Lees birdied the par-5 11th hole on her way to her fourth individual title on the Junior Tour circuit.
   Two Notre Dame sophomores, Maddie Keane (98) and Gabby Morganti (108), finished in a tie for third and fifth, respectively.
   Notre Dame senior Coryn Mullen earned her first title of the year by firing a 91 to finish first in the 16-to-18 division. Episcopal Academy senior Ashley Mauch finished in a tie for third with a 99. Mauch’s fellow Episcopal senior, Victoria Johnson, finished in a tie for sixth with Julia Devine of Media at 102.
   A couple of returning Inter-Ac standouts, Haverford School junior Otis Baker and Episcopal Academy junior Trey Croney had high finishes in the 16-to-18 division.
   Baker carded a 78 over the 6,503-yard, par-70 St. Davids layout to share second place with Jack Henderson of Wayne. Brendan Bacskai of Berwyn topped the division with a 2-over 72. Croney and Nick Calabrese of Newtown Square finished in a tie for fourth at 79.
   Garnet Valley senior John Concannon was eighth with an 82, fellow Jaguar senior Jack Highfill finished in a tie for 10th with an 84, Teddy Selverian of Radnor finished 12th with an 85 and Joshua Katz of Bryn Mawr was 17th with a 91.
   In the 13-to-15 division, Luke Nichols of Bryn Mawr and Jacob Calamaro of Newtown Square shared fourth place at 87. Daniel Bullock of Wayne finished in a tie for 18th with a 99.
   Among a big group of nine-holers who teed it up at St. Davids, D.J. Colleran of Radnor finished fifth with a 44, William Blatchford of Wayne, Dolan Cox of Newtown Square, Case Hummer of Glen Mills and Stephano Blake of Radnor were among a group tied for seventh at 47, Joseph Morganti of Havertown was 12th at 48, Charlie Baker of Wayne was 14th with a 51, James Quinn of Radnor finished in a tie for 15th with a 52, Hayden Smith of Havertown finished in a tie for 18th with a 54 and June Kim of Wayne finished 22nd with a 59.
   Croney continued his strong play as the Junior Tour headed for the Shore Tuesday and Wednesday for  a Cleveland/Srixon Golf elite event at Atlantic City Country Club. The Episcopal senior had rounds of 72 and 75 over the historic 6,481-yard, par-70 Atlantic City layout to finish in a tie for second in the 13-to-18 division at 7-over 147. Travis Sterrett of Middletown, Del. took top honors with a 6-over 146 total.
   Garnet Valley’s Highfill bounced back from an opening-round 82 with a solid 2-over 72 in the second round for a 153 total that left him in a tie for eighth. Ryan Bowman of Newtown Square had    four nds of 77 and 87 foir a 164 total that left him in 22nd place.
   Lees and Kim, coming off their 1-2 finish at St. Davids, also fared well in A.C. Lees had rounds of 83 and 76 to finish second in  the 13-to-18 division with a 159 total. She finished three shots back of division winner Erin DiDonato (79-77) of Hammonton, N.J. Kim had rounds of 85 and 88 to finish fifth at 173.
   In a Junior Tour stop Thursday at Chisel Creek Golf Club in Chester County, Bryn Mawr’s Katz finished 10th in the boys 16-to-19 division with a 90.
   Among the nine-holers, Newtown Square’s Cox finished fourth with a 45.
   In the 13-to-15 division, Hale Connor of Garnet Valley finished 13th with a 108.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The major championship season that was

   Hard to believe, but golf’s major championship campaign for 2013, at least for the men, has come and gone.
   Maybe it’s because one of the four majors was contested right here in Delaware County, but it seemed like one of the more intense major seasons in recent years. And, it must be noted, that another spring and summer has going by with Tiger Woods stuck on the same 14 major championships he had when he limped away from that epic playoff with Rocco Mediate at Torrey Pines in 2008 with his third U.S. Open victory. The Phillies were good that year, too, you may recall.
   Probably the most surprising major champion of 2013 is the guy who already had four of them coming into this year as opposed to the three very talented and deserving first-time winners of the other three majors.
   That’s right, Phil Mickelson’s stunning performance on the back nine at Muirfield gave Lefty three legs of the career grand slam and was one of the more impressive finishes to a major you’ll ever see.
It was surprising because Mickelson had always struggled adjusting his game to the links style the Open Championship demands. But he took a two-week sojourn to the game’s birthplace and came away with Scotland Open and British Open titles.
   It was even more surprising, though, in context of the Mickelson who stood before the press corps at Merion a few short weeks earlier talking about the heartbreak – his word – of finishing a runnerup in the U.S. Open a mind-boggling sixth time. Now, the U.S. Open is the only leg of the grand slam that has eluded him.
   Taking nothing away from Justin Rose’s performance, but Mickelson was the story from Day 1 right to the frustrating finish at Merion. When U.S. Open highlights are shown or TV teases its golf coverage, you will forever be seeing that shot of the crowd in that massive grandstand behind the 17th at Merion rising as one as Mickelson’s birdie putt in the third round finds the hole.
   It is not lost on an East Course fanatic like myself what Rose did on that final hole to nail down his first major championship. After smashing a perfect drive, the added distance to the 18th hole left Rose just a few yards away from the Hogan plaque. And 63 years after one of the greats of the game fired an iron shot into that humped putting surface, Rose did the same.
   Even with all the technology that has changed the game in the ensuing six decades, great ball strikers do what great ball strikers do.
   So Rose, like Adam Scott did in near darkness at Augusta in April and as Jason Duffner did Sunday at Oak Hill, became a first-time major winner this year.
   And nobody was surprised about any of it.
   Scott is a great player and freed of the major monkey that was on his back, he contended again at the British and this weekend at Oak Hill.
   Those of us who watched Rose power his way to victory at the 2010 AT&T National at Aronimink Golf Club know what kind of talent he possesses. There’s only been three events for PGA Tour players contested in this county since 1981 and he’s won two of them. That’s a pretty good strike rate.
   And Sunday it was Duffner. When he blew the PGA two years ago, he just had that look of a guy who was thinking, “I’m gonna be back and get me one of these – and soon.” Heck, the guy looked like he was heading for a 63 in the final round at Merion until he got caught – like so many did that week, especially you Sergio – sending his tee shot OB on 15.
   A lot of us in this part of the world were rooting Sunday for the 1987 PIAA champion from Manheim Township. But you’ve got to give Jim Furyk credit. He keeps sticking that crooked nose of his right in the middle of these major championships because hitting it straight still matters at the big ones and that’s what he does.
   You think Tiger’s thinking about Augusta in April right this second? That makes two of us.

Another busy week ahead

   Nothing much going on this week. Just the opening round of qualifying for the U.S. Amateur at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. Monday with Dartmouth College’s golf future on display, the Pennsylvania Open at Commonwealth National Golf Club Monday and Tuesday and the Pennsylvania Women’s Amateur teeing off Monday at Gulph Mills Golf Club with qualifying leading into match play later in the week.
   The two incoming Dartmouth freshmen teeing it up today in U.S. Amateur qualifying are recent Episcopal Academy graduate Sean Fahey and recent Haverford School graduate Scott Jaster, a three-time All-Delco in his just completed four years as a varsity starter with the Fords.
   Stephen Seiden was an All-Delco golfer at Strath Haven more than a decade ago, but the Drexel Hill resident is also in the field at the U.S. Amateur.
   All three figure to be long shots to make match play, but as I mentioned a week ago as former Chichester standout Aurora Kan embarked on her U.S. Women’s Amateur qualifying rounds, get into match play and anything can happen. And Kan, a junior at Purdue, came very, very close to reaching the quarterfinals.
   Merion Golf Club head of instruction Mark Sheftic is teeing it up at Commonwealth and should find the conditions a little more forgiving than the Oak Hill Country Club layout he just played in the first two rounds of the PGA Championship.
   And good news for the Pennsylvania Open field: They don’t have to contend with Temple sophomore and Philadelphia Open champion and Patterson Cup winner Brandon Matthews. He’ll be at the U.S. Amateur and if he gets into match play, he is going to be a tough out.