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Monday, August 31, 2015

Overbrook's Thompson books return trip to U.S. Senior Amateur

   Overbrook Golf Club’s Ray Thompson made it all the way to the quarterfinals of the 2013 U.S. Senior Amateur before running into an old Golf Association of Philadelphia rival in Chip Lutz, who was playing at a very high level, even by his standards.
   Lutz took out Thompson at Wade Hampton Country Club in Cashiers, N.C., but there was a consolation prize for Thompson, a Marple Newtown product and Drexel Hill resident. By reaching the quarterfinals, Thompson was exempt from qualifying for the 2014 U.S. Senior Amateur.
   And Thompson made the most of the free pass to Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach, Calif., reaching match play again before falling in the second round, 5 and 4, to Jack Hall of Savannah, Ga.
   The 62-year-old Thompson had to qualify for this year’s Senior Amateur, but fortunately the qualifier was played Monday at White Manor Country Club where Thompson had made a surprising run to the BMW Philadelphia Amateur semifinals in June of 2014.
   It took some extra effort, but Thompson is headed for the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur, which is a lot closer to home this year at Hidden Creek Golf Club in Egg Harbor Township, N.J., or down the shore in the local parlance. The Senior Amateur tees off Sept. 26.
   Thompson carded a 3-over 74 Monday and survived a six-man playoff for the final four qualifying berths available.
   Lookaway Golf Club’s Roc Irey took medalist honors as he matched par with a 71. In his first year of eligibility for the Senior Amateur, 55-year-old Glenn Smeraglio of Newtown, Bucks County, finished second with a 1-over 72. Don Donatoni, GAP’s dominant Super-Senior and a White Manor member, used his home-course advantage to card a 2-over 73.
   Thompson’s 74 was matched by John O’Malley of Mantoloking, N.J., Kenneth Phillips of Lancaster, Mark Ellinger of Chester Springs, Craig Scott of Marshalls Creek and Drew Panebianco of Gwynedd Valley with O’Malley, Phillips and Ellinger suriviving the playoff along with Thompson to earn final four tickets to Hidden Creek.
   Among some of the other top finishers were: Merion Golf Club’s J. Kirk Luntey (76); Hugh Kenworthy (80) of Newtown Square; Concord Country Club’s Doug Fedoryshyn (81); Overbrook’s Oscar Mestre (81); Andrew Sterge (82) of Wayne; Thomas Humphrey (85) of Chadds Ford; Rolling Green Golf Club’s Robert Billings (87); and Merion’s Robert Wagner (87).

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Aivazoglou a Junior Tour winner at Indian Spring

   The Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour stopped at Indian Spring Country Club in Marlton, N.J. Friday for the second time in 2015 and Aj Aivazoglou of Glen Mills won the 13-to-15 division with an 8-over 78.
   Aivazoglou made a pair of birdies over the 5,962-yard, par-70 Indian Spring layout to finish four shots ahead of Maxwell Rubin of Marlton, N.J. and Andrew Wallace of Narberth. Jack Hamilton of Wayne finished sixth with an 86.
   Ryan McHugh of Yorklyn, Del. bested the 16-to-18 field with an 80. Upper Darby senior Michael Wolf finished in a tie for third with an 83.
   Hannah Fireman of Ambler won a match of cards with Sofia Amoroso of West Chester to win the girls 16-to-18 title after both shot 84s. Notre Dame sophomore Brianna Marmorstein finished fourth with an 87.
   Andrea Cho of Mt. Laurel, N.J. won the 13-to-15 division with a 99.
   Among the nine-holers, Nelson Lou of Basking Ridge, N.J. finished first with a 44. Ryan Garvey of Media finished in a tie for fifth with a 50, Charlie Bastian of Media finished ninth with a 52, Liam Buckley of Media finished 11th with a 55 and Matthew Buckley of Media finished 13th with a 61.
   Wednesday, the Junior Tour made another New Jersey stop at Medford Village Country Club in Medford, N.J. and Kathleen Mark, a Media resident and Rolling Green Golf Club member, finished second in the 13-to-15 division with a 96. She finished three shots back of Cho, who got the first of her two wins in the week with a 93 over the 5,470-yard, par-72 Medford Village layout.
   Mary McGuiness of Haddonfield, N.J. won the 16-to-18 division with an 86.
   Akhil Giri of Moorestown, N.J. had the day’s best score, a 3-over 75, to win the boys 13-to-15 division. Aivazoglou tuned up for his winning performance two days later at Indian Spring with an 80 to finish fifth. Jack Cooley of Chadds Ford finished in a tie for seventh with a 93.
   Ron Robinson Jr. of Hatfield won the 16-to-18 division with a 76. Frederick Hammer of Wayne finished 13th with a 96.
   Luke Watson of Royersford beat Darren Nolan of Glenside in a match of cards to top the field among the nine-holers after both carded 41s.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Springhaven's Brady nets Chapman title at Riverton

   My Golf Notebook in Saturday’s Daily Times featured the exploits of 80-year-old Dave Charles, a member at The Springhaven Club.
   Turns out he’s not the only senior from Springhaven excelling on the links.
   Thursday at Riverton Country Club in Cinnaminson, N.J., 63-year-old William Brady, a West Chester resident and 30-year Springhaven member, piled up 43 points in the Stableford scoring system to capture the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Frank H. Chapman Memorial Cup (Net) title.
   “It was a great day all around,” Brady told the GAP website. “This was the first time I’ve played this course. I’ve been playing a lot more consistently lately, more than I have ever been. There was not one hole today where I couldn’t reach the green in regulation. I don’t hit the ball real far off the tee, so this course was perfect for my game.”
   Brady had nine net birdies over the 5,814-yard, par-71 Riverton layout. His only really bad hole was a double bogey at the par-4 seventh. He missed five chances for natural birdies, but still had 10 gross pars and a solid gross total of 80.
   Brady also credited his new set of sticks for his improved play.
   “I was given a set of clubs for retirement,” Brady said. “When I got fitted for them, they asked me about senior shafts and I said, ‘let’s give it a go.’ It’s really paid off. No pain, no aches, nothing. It’s been fun to play.”
   Brady’s 43 points left him two clear of a trio of golfers – Jim MacFarlane of Merchantville Country Club, Dirk Edmiston of Penn Oaks Golf Club and Mike Nardella of Valleybrook Country Club.
   A couple of other Springhaven members had strong showings  with Mike Connell finishing in a tie for sixth with 39 points and James Reger finishing in a tie for 14th with 37 points.
   Other finishers included: Vito Caracappa (36) of The Golf Course of Glen Mills; Jeff Kalberg (34) of Rolling Green Golf Club; Roland Thomas Jr. (33) of McCall Golf & Country Club; Timothy Joyce (33) of Edgmont Country Club; William McCabe Jr. (31) of McCall; and Robert Logan (26) of Overbrook Golf Club.

Gelrod, Mandel repeat in Four-Ball

   Monday, the Philadelphia Cricket Club pair of Ryan Gelrod and Marc Mandel became the first duo to repeat in GAP’s Four-Ball Stroke Play Championship at Fieldstone Golf Club in Greenville, Del.
Gelrod and Mandel carded a 9-under 62 over the 6,282-yard, par-71 Fieldstone layout to edge Andrew Dietz of Laurel Creek Country Club and Pat Curiale of Medford Village Country Club by a shot.
   Mandel rode a hot putter to seven birdies on his ball alone. He capped the effort by dropping in a 15-foot, left-to-right breaker for birdie on the pair’s last hole, the 415-yard, par-4 ninth.
   “Marc’s a great partner,” Gelrod, who reached the quarterfinals of the BMW Philadelphia Amateur earlier this summer at Llanerch Country Club, told the GAP website. “He’s one of the best putters I’ve ever seen. You get a guy like that and you know he’s going to make his fair share. I just always try to chip in where I can.”
   Merion Golf Club’s Robert Wagner and Kirk Luntey were among a large group tied for 10th at 67. The tandem of Edgmont Country Club’s Peter Moran and Rolling Green Golf Club’s Shawn Lavin were another shot back in a tie for 15th at 68.
   Other finishers included: The Edgmont pair of Robert Amen and Michael Quinn at 70; the duo of Robert Dziak of The Springhaven Club and Bobby Kershner of Spring-Ford Country Club at 71; the Rolling Green pair of Mitch Vanzandt and Eric Palumbo at 73; Sev Panossian of The Golf Course at Glen Mills and Justin Pak of Penn Oaks Golf Club at 74; the Rolling Green tandem of Andrew Abrams and Richard Kupersmith at 75; the McCall Golf & Country Club pair of Roland Thomas Jr. and Larry Riviello at 82; the team  of Merion’s Richard Sperry and Steve Backstrom of Little Mill Country Club at 84; and the McCall duo of William Wilkinson and Vincent Torno at 86.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Davis, Lees help Philly juniors win Pritsch Cup for the first time

   Two of the Inter-Ac League’s top players, Malvern Prep sophomore Matthew Davis and Agnes Irwin sophomore Kaitlyn Lees, helped the Philadelphia Section PGA outlast the New Jersey Section PGA to capture the Jon M. Pritsch Cup for the first time Friday at Huntingdon Valley Country Club.
   The Ryder Cup-style event had foursomes playing simultaneous singles and four-ball matches. As the reigning champion, New Jersey needed only nine points and a tie to retain the Pritsch Cup. But the Philly juniors piled up 11 points to finally halt New Jersey’s eight-year stranglehold on the Pritsch Cup.
Davis, a member at Aronimink Golf Club, teamed with Ron Robinson Jr. of Hatfield for a 4 and 3 four-ball win over Dean Cerimido and Johnny Bush with Davis also earning a point with a 1-up victory over Bush in their singles match.
   Erik Reisner, the two-time Central League champion at Harriton, teamed with William Mitchell of Moorestown, N.J. to get a half against Alex Aulerich and Ryan Fitzsimmons with Reisner claiming a 2 and 1 singles win over Fitzsimmons.
   Philly also got a four-ball wins from the pairs of Joshua Madarang of Chester Springs and David Herbst of Mechanicsburg and J.T. Spina of Schwenksville and Andrew Gallagher of Mount Laurel, N.J.
   Lees, a member at Philadelphia Country Club, teamed with Casey Oppenheimer of Conshohocken and they fell, 4 and 3, to the New Jersey pair of Sayaka Carpenter and Ami Gianchandani. Lees managed to halve her singles match with Carpenter.
   In addition to Davis and Reisner, the other singles winners for the Philly juniors were Robinson, Spina, Madarang and Gallagher. Herbst and Mitchell battled to the 18th hole and earned halves.
   The event is played in memory of Jon M. Pritsch, a talented 17-year-old golfer who died of heart disease in 1991. He dreamed of playing professional golf. His parents started this event with the intention of creating a scholarship fund that would benefit junior golfers who are considering pursuing a career in  professional golf. The fund has given out more than $140,000 in scholarships and scholarship applications are sent out to each of the Jon M. Pritsch Cup participants.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Jenkins edges Wood by a point in Tee It Forward -- Fall Net Championship

   Spring-Ford Country Club’s Robert Jenkins managed his game perfectly to emerge with the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Tee It Forward – Fall Net Championship last Tuesday at Woodstone Country Club.
   The event utilizes the Stableford scoring system and Jenkins, a 68-year-old Devon resident, didn’t have a regulation birdie, but put together eight net birdies, seven net pars and had over-par scores on just three holes to pile up 40 points.
   That gave him a one-point edge on former Widener football coach Dave Wood, playing out of White Manor Country Club. Wood, a 46-year-old Glen Mills resident, had won the Spring Net Championship at Jenkins’ home track at Spring-Ford earlier this year.
   “We had fun out there today,” Wood told the GAP website. “The biggest thing from now and two months ago for me is I’m just not consistent off the tee. Everything sets up off my tee shot. When I get off the tee, I can play really well. When I don’t, it’s a tough game.”
   Some of the other finishers at Woodstone included: Edgmont Country Club’s Robert Huntzinger who got a share of fourth with 37 points; Edgmont’s Timothy Joyce (35); Rolling Green Golf Club’s John Brown (33); McCall Golf & Country Club’s Vincent Tomo (31); McCall’s John O’Rourke (27); and Edgmont’s Ed Depalma (24).

Jones, Nilon team up to take 27-Hole Challenge

   A day earlier, Collegeville’s Buck Jones and Gladwyne’s Michael Nilon teamed up to capture top honors in GAP’s unique Senior 27-Hole Challenge at Silver Creek Country Club.
   Teams play three different formats in the 27-hole event, select drive, alternate shot for the first nine, team aggregate for the second nine and better-ball of partners for the final nine. And last Monday’s event was played in the middle of the heat wave that hit the region early last week.
   But Jones, 64, and Nilon, 66, seemed to have the format mastered. They won the title two years ago at Bala Golf Club and last week became the first multiple winners of the Challenge with a 2-over 145 total.
   “We played hard all day, it was hot,” said Nilon, a Philadelphia Country Club member.
   Heading into the final nine holes, Jones and Nilon stood a shot back of Mark Quigley of Manufacturers Golf & Country Club and Alan Van Horn of Commonwealth National Golf Club.
But Nilon got the team home when, playing from behind a tree on the last hole, he drilled a low screamer with a 4-iron that finished 15 feet from the hole and got the two-putt par that finished the job.
   Mr. GAP Super-Senior, White Manor Country Club’s Don Donatoni, teamed up with Aqua America Inc. colleague Steve Tagert to win the Super-Senior division.
   Donatoni, a 67-year-old Malvern resident, and Tagert, a 65-year-old Collegeville resident, teamed up for a blistering 6-under 137 total to win the division by 11 shots.
   Donatoni won the Super-Senior division a year ago with Merion Golf Club’s Carl Everett. That same pair won the Senior division title in the event’s inaugural year of 2008.
   “We’ll have to come back and defend, for sure,” said Donatoni, GAP’s reigning two-time Super-Senior Player of the Year. “I just have to get Steve out of the office. His game is ready to play in these events.”