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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Berman, Tetrault give Haverford School the edge

   With reigning Daily Times Player of the Year Cole Berman and fellow senior Ryan Tetrault firing 35s at Waynesborough Country Club Thursday to share overall medalist honors, The Haverford School got past host Malvern Prep and the rest of the field in the third Inter-Ac League mini-tournament of the fall.
   Otis Baker and Jay Losty added 38s and the Fords only needed two of the 40s recorded by Jake Van Arkel, Jack Henderson and Max Ziegfried for a 226 total.
   Malvern finished six shots back in second. Senior Mike Davis, the Inter-Ac League champion as a freshman in the spring of 2011, led the way with a 36. Brendan Bacskai and Mike Szipszky added 37s. Bacskai leads Berman in the individual standings through three mini-tournaments.
   But Haverford School holds the edge in the team standings at 14-1-0 to Malvern Prep’s 12-2-1 mark.
   Episcopal Academy once again finished third with a 245 total. Joe Chambers and Andrew Jannetta led the way for the Churchmen with 39s. Also scoring for Episcopal were Trey Croney, Jack Cassidy and J. Nolan Perry with 40s and Cole Testaiutti with a 47. Chambers and Cassidy stand at three and four, respectively, in the individual match standings.
   It appears from the updated schedule on interacgolf.com that the Bert Linton Memorial Inter-Academic League Golf Championship – basically the Inter-Ac’s individual tournament – will be played Saturday, Oct. 19 at Merion Golf Club’s East Course. You might recall there was a little gathering at the historic East Course in June called the U.S. Open that Justin Rose won with a hard-fought 1-over 281 total.

Thompson falls to Lutz at Senior Amateur

   We left those who follow golf on the printed pages of the Daily Times hanging a little as to the outcome of the U.S. Senior Amateur matchup of Golf Association of Philadelphia foes, Overbrook Golf Club member and Drexel Hill resident Ray Thompson and Reading’s Chip Lutz, Wednesday at the Wade Hampton Golf Club in Cashiers, N.C.
   Well, Lutz, winner of the British Open Senior Amateur in 2011 and 2012, birdied six of the first 12 holes in his way to a 4 and 3 triumph over Thompson.
   Thompson, a Marple Newtown product, won the second hole when Lutz made a double bogey and stopped the bleeding a little with a win at the 10th with a birdie of his own, but he just couldn’t withstand the birdie barrage from the reigning three-time GAP Senior Player of the Year.
   Lutz got a taste of his medicine in the semifinals Thursday as eventual champion Doug Hanzel of Savannah, Ga., threw four birdies at Lutz, who was the qualifying medalist in the event, on the front nine to build a 4-up lead on his way to a 3 and 2 victory.
   Hanzel then came back Thursday afternoon to claim the title with a 3 and 2 victory over Pat O’Donnell of Happy Valley, Ore.

O’Hair keeps battling at Web.com Championship

   The guys on The Golf Channel sure made it sound like the par putts on the eighth and ninth holes that Sean O’Hair was grinding over -- and made -- Friday at the Web.com Tour Championship were enough to secure his PGA Tour card for the 2014 season.
   If you’re having a hard time figuring out why O’Hair is playing the Web.com playoffs to earn his Tour card, get in line. Basically the Web.com playoffs supplant the old PGA Tour Qualifying School, but there is simultaneous battle going on among the guys who played the Web.com Tour all year as opposed to guys like O’Hair who played the PGA Tour, but finished outside the top 125 in earnings. And that makes the whole process a little difficult to understand.
   O’Hair is a West Chester resident (Pocopson Township to be precise), but he is an adopted son of Delco since he married Sun Valley All-Delco Jackie Lucas. O’Hair is a regular at Concord Country Club, where the Lucas family has maintained a membership, in the offseason and he is also a member at Aronimink Golf Club.
   I was aware that O’Hair needed to play well in the Web.com playoffs to secure playing privileges for 2014 on the PGA Tour. I knew he had two decent finishes and missed a cut in the four-tournament series. And I’m not certain he’s officially in for 2014 yet, but he did make the cut for the weekend and The Golf Channel guys made it sound like that’s what he needed to do to retain his PGA Tour card. We’ll see.
   Of course, The Golf Channel guys also said the three-footer O’Hair faced for par on the ninth hole, his last day of the day, was the biggest putt of his career. Which probably means they were unaware that he first made the PGA Tour in his sixth try at Q-School. It was 2004, with father-in-law Steve Lucas on the bag, when O’Hair finally broke through and earned his tour card.
   So he’s grinded it out through some tough rounds before in his career.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Delco Connection flourishing at Dartmouth

   The Delco Connection on both the men’s and women’s sides at Dartmouth College made an immediate impact last weekend.
   On the men’s side, Sean Fahey, the freshman from Episcopal Academy, fired a final-round 76 to finish in a tie for 17th at 226 at the Cornell Invitational. Fahey opened with a 2-over 73 at the Robert Trent Jones course on the Cornell campus in Ithaca, N.Y.  and followed that up with a 77 and then the final-round 76. Scott Jaster, also a freshman and a three-time Haverford School All-Delco, had rounds of 77, 78 and 81 and finished in a tie for 46th.
   They helped Dartmouth finish fourth in the team standings at 903 (305-297-301), eight shots back of tournament winner Towson and a shot back of the host Big Red, who finished third.
   “It was a great first tournament experience for all of the freshmen,” Fahey told thedartmouth.com. “Although we didn’t do as well as we would have liked, we can learn from our mistakes and get better.
   “We expect great things this season because we have a very strong  mix of junior and senior leadership, as well as a lot of young talent from the ’16s and ’17s,” he added, referring to the years the freshmen and sophomores are scheduled to graduate.
   Dartmouth was led by freshman Jeffrey Lang, who had rounds of 74, 72 and 70 for a 2-over 216 total that left him in second place six shots back of tournament champion Chris Crawford, the former Holy Ghost Prep standout who is a sophomore at Drexel.
   On the girls side, freshman Jamie Susanin, a Radnor All-Delco, competed as an individual as Dartmouth teed it up at the Yale Intercollegiate in New Haven, Conn. Susanin had rounds of 79, 81 and 86 over The Course at Yale for a 246 total that left her in a tie for 66th.
   Dartmouth was led by freshman Tara Simmons, who posted a final-round 76 to finish 12th and lead the Big Green to a 10th-place finish in the team standings with a 930 (317-302-311) total. Host Yale was 19 shots clear of the field with an 874 total.
   Also at Yale, former Notre Dame standout Lauren Bernard, a senior at Bucknell, had rounds of 77, 78 and 79 to finish in a tie for 38th at 234. Bernard led the Bison to a 13th-place finish in the team standings.
   Susanin, a two-time state qualifier and co-captain of Radnor’s 2012 PIAA Class AAA championship team, actually made her Dartmouth debut a week earlier as the Big Green hosted the Dartmouth Women’s Invitational at Hanover Country Club in Hanover, N.H. Susanin had rounds of 87 and 77 to finish in a tie for 36th at 164.
   Dartmouth had rounds of 311 and 304 to finish third in the team standings at 615. Yale dominated at Dartmouth as well, finishing first at 575, 23 shots clear of runner-up Boston University.
   The Big Green were led by senior Sarah Knapp, who finished 10th with rounds of 72 and 77 for a 149 total.

Revisiting F&M Fall Invitational 

   Tuesday’s print edition of the Daily Times covered how some of the local colleges fared in the F&M Fall Invitational hosted by Franklin & Marshall at Back Creek Country Club in Lancaster.
   The event also saw a strong outing by F&M freshman Jared Brown. The former Strath Haven standout fired a 1-under 70 to finish in a tie for first with a couple of York College players, Kevin Long and David Boslough. Long was awarded first place on a tiebreaker, giving Brown a share of second place.
   F&M had two teams in the event, with its strong Blue team finishing third at 307 as York won the title at 302. Brown led F&M’s White team to a sixth-place finish at 315. Radnor All-Delco Jin Hwang was also on the F&M White team. His 86 earned him a share of 67th place.
   A shot ahead of Hwang was Elizabethtown freshman Kyle Hakun, a Springfield All-Delco. Hakun’s 85 was matched by teammate Ryan Laudeman for low score for Elizabethtown, which finished 16th in the team standings. 

Sheftic helps U.S. retain PGA Cup

   Mark Sheftic, the head on instruction at Merion Golf Club, got a chance to hop over the pond and play in the PGA Cup matches last weekend against club pros from Great Britain & Ireland at the Hunting Course at DeVere Slaley Hall in Northumberland, England.
   And as so often happens in these Ryder Cup-type events, it came down to a four-footer that American JC Anderson, the head pro at Mission Bluffs Golf Club in St. Charles, Mo, had to make to give the U.S. side the half-point it needed to make it a 13-13 draw and enable the U.S. to retain the Cup.
   And make it Anderson did as his crucial half-point staved off a gallant rally by GB&I, which ran up a 71/2-21/2 advantage in the final-day singles matches.
   Sheftic teamed up with Chip Sullivan of Troutville, Va. in three different sessions. They lost a point to GB&I’s Gareth Wright and Richard Wallis in a Friday morning foursome match, won a point from Benn Barham and David Callaway in Friday afternoon’s fourball match and won a point from Graham Fox and Callaway in a Saturday afternoon fourball match. Sheftic lost his singles match to Jonathan Barnes to finish 2-2 for the weekend.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Walker a team player for Pennsylvania at USGA event

   Radnor High sophomore Brynn Walker gained some valuable experience and, well a couple of days off from school, as she and two other players represented Pennsylvania at the United States Golf Association Women’s State Team Championship last week at the NCR Country Club in Kettering, Ohio.
   It is a USGA event, run by the same organization that staged the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club’s East Course in June and the USGA is first-class with any event it puts its name to.
Walker teamed with Kelli Pry of Coatesville and Amy Kennedy, one of the top players in the York area, as Pennsylvania finished 27th in the team race, which was last among the 27 teams that the made a cut that the USGA made after the second round, a cut that was dictated by possible approaching weather. Still, the Pennsylvania trio did a nice job making that cut, which allowed all three players to tee it up in Thursday’s final round.
   After starting off with a 3-over 76 over the 6,153-yard, par-73 NCR layout in the opening round, Walker, who won the Pennsylvania Junior Girls title this summer, fell off a little with rounds of 81 and 85 for a 242 total. She still had the lowest score among the Pennsylvania contingent and finished tied for 49th overall among all the players.
   Fry had rounds of 85, 82 and 79 for a 246 total that left her in a tie for 59th. Kennedy had rounds of 80, 88 and 87 and finished tied for 75th at 255.
   The two lowest scores of the three-women teams were counted each day and Pennsylvania’s total was 45-over 483.
   New Jersey captured the title as 17-year-old Alice Chen of Princeton, a high school senior and Furman recruit, led the way, claiming co-medalist honors individually with rounds of 72, 67 and 74 for a 6-under 213 total. Along with her teammates,  playing captain Tara Fleming and Cindy Ha, the Jersey girls posted an 8-over 446 total to finish three shots ahead of Florida.
   Florida was led by four-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Meghan Stasi, who was known by her maiden name, Meghan Bolger, when she won seven straight Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia championships from 1999 to 2005. Stasi had rounds of 73, 75 and 74 and finished fifth in the individual chase at 3-over 222.
   Chen was joined at 213 by another 17-year-old, Maryland’s Bryana Nguyen, who had rounds of 71, 72 and 70.
   The whole experience can do nothing but help Walker as she and her Radnor teammates try to win a  second straight PIAA Class AAA team title next month.

Quinn tops Philadelphia Section PGA field

   There are events with more money on the line, but every club pro in this area wants to win the Philadelphia Section PGA championship and Dave Quinn grabbed the title for a second time in his career last week at White Manor Country Club.
   The 54-hole event began with players switching off between White Manor and Radnor Valley Country Club the first two days. Following a cut, the survivors teed it up in the final round Thursday at White Manor.
   A final-round of 2-over 73 Thursday gave the 47-year-old Quinn a 1-over 213 total and a two-shot edge over Aronimink Golf Club head of instruction John Bierkan and Bill Walker of Riverton Country Club. It also allowed Quinn to pocket the top prize of $7,500.
   The Section championship  also acts as a qualifier for the PGA Professional National Championship, which will be held June 22 to 25, 2014 at the Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C.. That event gives club pros a shot at making the field for the 2014 PGA Championship.
And Bierkan, who had rounds of 71, 72 and 72, wasn’t the only representative of the Aronimink pro shop to earn a trip to Myrtle Beach. Patrick Clark had a final-round 69 to jump up into a tie for 10th at 221 and get one of the coveted top-12 spots that earned him a trip to an event still often referred to by its old name, the National Club Pro.
   Radnor Valley head pro George Forster, who played in the U.S. Senior Open this summer, had a strong showing with rounds of 70, 75 and 75 to finish in a tie for seventh at 220. He too can make travel plans for Myrtle Beach next June.
   Concord Country Club head pro Mike Moses fell frustratingly short of making the National Club Pro. Nonetheless, it was a strong showing by Moses, who had three 74s to finish 13th at 10-over 222. Another shot back in a tie for 14th was Overbrook Golf Club pro Eric Kennedy, who had rounds of 72,78 and 73 for a 223 total.
   Three players with local ties all landed in a tie for 34th at 227. They were Stu Ingraham (76-78-73) , the head of instruction at the M Golf Range in Newtown Square and the reigning Philadelphia Section PGA Player of the Year, GolfTEC Main Line pro and Media area resident John Allen (74-78-75) and George Forster’s son, George Forster (78-73-76), an assistant in Scott Nye’s pro shop at Merion Golf Club.
   Also playing some pretty good golf as he approaches age 66, Ed Dougherty, the Linwood native and St. James product who pocketed just less than $6 million while winning twice on the Champions Tour, finished in a tie for 50th with rounds of 76, 75 and 81 for a 232 total.

Reger second in Chapman Memorial

   James Reger of The Springhaven Club was one of three players who came in a tie for second, a point short of winner W. Garth Sprecher, in the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Frank H. Chapman Memorial (Net) Wednesday at Bellewood Country Club on the edge of the Schuylkill River across from Pottstown.
   Sprecher, 62, of Lancaster Country Club piled up 41 points over the 5,814-yard, par-71 Bellewood layout, finishing up with back-to-back pars that gave him a one-point edge on Reger, Scott Ryan of Stonewall Golf Links and Robert Edmiston of Penn Oaks Golf Club.
   Reger’s total topped those in the 7-to-11 handicap division.
   Richard Turner of Llanerch Country Club had 36 points,  George HIlley of McCall Golf & Country Club had 35 points and Robert Logan of Overbrook Golf Club had 34 points.

Moran, Dziak tied for ninth in Marston Cup

   Peter Moran of Edgmont Country Club and Robert Dziak of The Springhaven Club each carded a 76 at Spring-Ford Country Club Thursday and were among eight players who finished in a tie for ninth at GAP’s Marston Cup, which was rescheduled when it was washed out earlier this summer.
Thomas Timby Jr. of The Bucks Club, tamed the 6,521-yard, par-72 Spring-Ford layout with a 4-under 68 to capture the Marston Cup.
   P. Chet Walsh, the former Archbishop Carroll boys basketball coach, was tuning up for this week’s U.S. Senior Amateur and fired a 2-over 74 to finish in a tie for seventh.
   Concord Country Club’s Doug Fedoryshyn finished another shot back of Moran and Dziak with a 77 and finished in a tie for 17th.
   Overbrook Golf Club’s James Loftus Jr. had an 81 and finished in a tie for 29th.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Malvern Prep finally gets the best of Haverford School

   After a perfect run through the Inter-Ac League’s six mini-tournaments a year ago, it seemed unlikely that The Haverford School would be able to repeat that feat in such a competitive golf circuit.
   And it couldn’t. Malvern Prep finally got the best of the Fords as Germantown Academy played the host Monday at Blue Bell Country Club and the Friars, led by the day’s overall medalist, junior Brendan Bacskai, edged Haverford School 228-230.
   Bacskai fired a 34 to lead the field at Blue Bell. Mike Szipszky added a 37, Kevin McGreary and Jeff St. Armour added 38s, Mike Davis, a two-time U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier and Aronimink Golf Club member, added a 39 and Mike Lammond had a 42 for the Friars.
   Not that Haverford School played badly. Reigning Daily Times Player of the Year Cole Berman led the way with a 36 and he was backed up by a quartet of 38s posted by Jake Van Arkle, Jay Losty, Otis Baker and Ryan Bowman and a 42 by Max Siegfried.
   Episcopal Academy, which shared second place with Malvern Prep, three shots back of the Fords, when the Churchmen hosted the league at Merion West last week, had another strong showing at Blue Bell. Episcopal’s 232 total was just two shots back of Haverford School in third place.
   The Churchmen were led by Jack Cassidy, who had a 36. Trey Croney and Joe Chambers added 37s, Scott McConnell had a 39, Andrew Jannetta had a 41 and Cole Testaiuti had a 42 to round out the scoring for Episcopal Academy.

Billings and Billings repeat

   Somehow managed to miss in last week’s post a nice Golf Association of Philadelphia repeat victory for the Billings family in the Father & Son (Older) Tournament, which was held Sept. 9 at Lancaster Country Club.
   Robert Billings, a veteran at Rolling Green Golf Club, and son Rob, who is a Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association member, teamed up for a 2-over 72 over the 6,327-yard, par-70 Lancaster Country Club layout to successfully defend the title they won a year ago in a three-hole playoff at Whitford   Country Club.
   This time they edged King and Tyler Knox of the host club by a shot.
   “I’ve been playing well,” Robert Billings, a 63-year-old Newtown Square resident, told the GAP website. “My son has a young family now, so he doesn’t get to play that often, but he still strikes the ball solidly. I was hoping that we could put up a good showing.”
   Jesse Daniels of Aronimink Golf Club and dad Gary of Applebrook Golf Club finished 10th with a 79. Brian and Joe Culley of The Springhaven Club and Peter and James Coleman of Rolling Green each had an 81, the Rolling Green pair of Craig and Robert Aronchick had an 86, Bradley Impriano of Edgmont Country Club and dad Jack of Applebrook had an 87, the Rolling Green pair of David and Daron Harden had an 89, and Jack McCormick of Stone Harbor Golf Club and dad John of Paxon Hollow Country Club had a 91.
   John Convery of The Golf Course at Glen Mills teamed with dad John of Northampton Valley Country Club to take the title in the Super-Senior division with a  3-over 73.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Haverford School survives challenge to sweep Inter-Ac opener

   After going a perfect 30-0 through the six mini-tournaments that make up the Inter-Ac League’s regular season a year ago, The Haverford School nearly suffered its first loss in this fall’s opening event as the Fords survived a stiff challenge from host Episcopal Academy and Malvern Prep at Merion Golf Club’s West Course Tuesday.
   But once again, Haverford School’s incredible depth enabled the Fords to post a 231 total, three shots clear of runnersup Episcopal and Malvern Prep and go 5-0 for the day.
   Haverford School got 38s from Jake Van Arkel, Jay Lostey and Otis Baker and 39s from reigning Daily Times Player of the Year Cole Berman, Ryan Bowman and Jack McAleese in fashioning the 231 total.
   Episcopal was led by Trey Croney and Jack Cassidy, both of whom had 37s. Also counting for the Churchmen were Joe Chambers (38), Chris Marino (40), Chris McConnell (41) and Cole Testaiuti (41). Malvern Prep was led by Brandon Bacskai, who had a 37. Michael Davis, the Newtown Square resident and Aronimink Golf Club member, was one of three Friars to post a 39.
   Co-medalists overall for the day were Chestnut Hill Academy’s Jack Grasso and Penn Charter’s Owen Davis, both of whom carded a 36.
   Haverford School, Episcopal and Radnor – probably Delco’s three best boys teams – met in a tri-match at Merion West last week and a source tells me the Fords beat the Churchmen and the Raiders. I don’t have the details on this golf summit meeting at this time.

Jones, Nilon take the Challenge at Bala

   At the end of a long, hot day at Bala Golf Club Wednesday, the duo of Buck Jones of the Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association and Mike Nilon of Philadelphia Country Club parred the first hold of a sudden-death playoff to capture the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Senior 27-Hole Challenge.
   Jones and Nilon finished in a tie with the Merion Golf Club pair of J. Kirk Luntley and Arthur Kania Jr. at the end of the unique 27-hole format at 140. The teams played the first nine hole as a better-ball format, the second nine as select drive, alternate shot, and the last nine as aggregate of both players.
   A strong 31 in the better-ball portion was the key for Jones and Nilon and their final-nine aggregate of 74 left them tied with Luntley and Kania. The Merion duo was also strong in the better-ball nine with a 30, but struggled home with a 76 in the aggregate final nine as Kania’s shoulder started to act up on him.
   The playoff was a select drive, alternate shot and Luntley bunkered the approach to the 336-yard, par-4 first hole. Luntely and Kania were unable to get it up and down out the bunker while Jones and Nilon were able to two-putt for two after hitting the green with Jones’ wedge from 97 yards away.
Gary Ames of the host club and Steve Yassky of Edgmont Country Club finished third at 141, The Springhaven Club duo of Rich Thon and Andrew Harmer finished fourth at 143 and Martin Klagholz of Aronimink Golf Club and Mark Szilagyi of Brookside Country Club finished fifth at 145.
   In the Super-Senior division, Frank Polizzi of Aronimink and Carl Everett of Merion finished second at 134, three shots back of top finishers Charles McClaskey of Back Creek Golf Club and Michael Rose of Talamore Country Club. Norman Jester of Downingtown Country Club teamed with his Springhaven buddy, Curt Fromal, to finish eighth at 146.