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.