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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Kan tees it up at Harder Hall

   Aurora Kan, a three-time Daily Times Player of the Year at Chichester, took advantage of the time  before the spring semester of her junior year at Purdue starts to head south and tee it up in the prestigious Harder Hall Women’s Invitational, an amateur women’s event that was contested this week for the 59th time at Harder Hall Country Club in Sebring, Fla.
   Kan got off to a great start with an opening-round 75, but fell out of championship-flight contention with an 85 in the second round. I’m not exactly sure if the determination of the flights comes after the second round, but regardless, Kan dropped into the first flight.
   Kan, who finished 15th at the NCAA Tournament last spring as a sophomore and helped the Boilermakers win the Big Ten title and finish third at nationals, added rounds of 82 and 77 to finish at 319 and in a tie for 11th in the first flight.
   The championship flight winner of the Harder Hall is a name familiar to followers of the Philadelphia area golf scene. Meghan Stasi, the four-time USGA Mid-Amateur champion who was known as Meghan Bolger when she won seven straight Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia Amateur crowns beginning in 1999, cruised to the Harder Hall title with rounds of 73, 72, 74 and 70 for a 289 total. That was eight shots clear of Hannah Pietila, a freshman at the University of Tennessee from Brighton, Mich., and Emmy Martin a high school senior from Odessa, Fla. who is a TCU recruit.
   Kan did not win low-District One honors at the Harder Hall. Reigning Philadelphia Women’s Amateur champion and former Mount St. Joseph standout Emily Gimpel had rounds of 78, 81, 72 and 81 for a 312 total that left her in a tie for fifth in the first flight. Gimpel is a senior at Maryland after starting her collegiate career at William & Mary.
   Kan, who won the 2010 Pennsylvania Women’s Amateur title before her senior year at Chichester, did finish four shots ahead of Carol Semple Thompson, who only won the state women’s amateur 23 times in her storied career.
   When she wasn’t busy with her duties as the chairman of the Harder Hall, the World Golf Hall of Fame member put together rounds of 81, 81, 80 and 81 for a 323 total that left her 14th in the first flight. Pretty good playing for a 65-year old.
   Liz Haines, another veteran amateur standout from Merion Golf Club, also ended up in the first flight and had rounds of 84, 78, 81 and 86 to finish at 329.
   One other Delco name appears among the Harder Hall scores. Competing in the Lancy Smith flight, Jessica Clough of Wallingford had rounds of 104, 97 and 101 for a 302 total that was good for sixth in the flight.
   The Harder Hall is part of a series of women’s amateur events known as the Orange Blossom Tour and it continues this week with the Women’s South Atlantic Amateur Championship, better known by its shorthand name, the Sally, which will be staged for the 88th time at the Oceanside Country Club in Ormand Beach, Fla.
   Kan is not on the list of entrants, although Gimpel and Merion’s Haines are, as is Kansas junior Gabriella DiMarco, the former West Chester East standout who lost to Kan in a playoff for the 2010 PIAA crown.

Mazes just a couple of aces

   Neat story showed up on the Golf Association of Philadelphia website about Bob and Ashley Maze, a father and his daughter who are members at The Springhaven Club and are a couple of hole-in-one machines.
   Ashley recorded her third career ace at Springhaven’s annual anniversary tournament July 14, which was also the 30th birthday for the account executive who lives in Conshohocken. Playing with her mother Vicki and her friend Tory Valente, Ashley sent a driver at the 180-yard 13th hole.
   “I thought it just rolled behind the pin,” Ashley told the GAP website. “I couldn’t see that far. I hit it and all I thought was I hit it perfectly. I wasn’t expecting it to go in.”
   Two women playing on an adjacent fairway ran over to the green and confirmed the ball wasn’t just close, it was in.
   “Everyone was high-fiving and hugging,” Ashley said. “There were other groups screaming. It was like an echo.”
   Dad was on the 12th hole and he put two-and-two together and knew it was a one.
   “She’s so good,” he said. “She hits the ball so flush and straight. It was exciting. The place was packed. It was a great time to have one.”
   It was just 11 days later when Bob, 59 and a Broomall resident, was playing in his regular Thursday night league and sent a 7-iron at the 160-yard third hole at Springhaven.
   “It was probably the best shot I’ve hit in a long time,” Bob said. “It was dead straight right at it. I thought it was going to be a really good shot. I saw it was going right toward the flag, so I reached down to pick up the tee and started walking to the cart.
   “Everybody started screaming, ‘I think it went in.’ I wasn’t even thinking hole-in-one. I was thinking ‘get it close and make a birdie.’ I should’ve watched it, but I got what I was looking for. I hit a green.”
   Actually he shouldn’t have been surprised. It was his sixth career ace.
   And wouldn’t you know it, Ashley was at the club that evening.
   “I met him on the seventh fairway and was like, ‘Seriously?’” Ashley said.
   Bob has been a Springhaven member for 31 years and owns two club championships. Ashley won the women’s club championship in 2012.
   They play a lot of golf together and have a great relationship. Some wonder why they get along so well. Not Bob.
   “I think a lot of it started with golf,” Bob Maze said.