The Golf Association of Philadelphia’s major championship season for seniors started Thursday with the 83rd Francis B. Warner Cup (Gross) being contested at Spring-Ford Country Club.
And Brian Corbett, a Clarks Summit resident playing out of Huntsville Golf Club, matched par with a 72 over the 6,520-yard, par-72 Spring-Ford layout for a two-shot victory and his first career GAP win.
He did it against a tough field of senior golfers. The reigning five-time GAP Senior Player of the Year, Chip Lutz of LedgeRock Golf Club, was named the best male amateur golfer in the world in 2016 by Global Golf Post. Lutz wasn’t in the field Thursday, but you get the idea that the level of competition at GAP senior events is pretty stiff.
Corbett saved his even-par finish with a remarkable par on the par-4 17th hole at Spring-Ford. He got a little unlucky when his tee shot went through the fairway and came to rest among some tree roots. Rather than risk a whiff or injury, he took an unplayable lie. His approach found the greenside bunker, but his shot out of the bunker found the hole for an unlikely par.
“It doesn’t feel any better than this,” Corbett told the GAP website. “I’ve always wanted to win a GAP event. I’m really happy with what I’ve accomplished today. It’s going to be a great car ride home.”
Lancaster Country Club’s Kenneth Phillips, one of the many GAP seniors who can really play, shared second place with Joseph Raeder of Little Mill Country Club as each carded a 2-over 74.
Three players – Brian Panebianco of Five Ponds Golf Club, Doug Fedoryshyn of Applebrook Golf Club and Roc Irey of Lookaway Golf Club – were another shot back in a tie for fourth at 3-over 75.
Michael Tash of Tavistock Country Club, Thomas Bartolacci of Huntingdon Valley Country Club and Chris Smedley of Hartefeld National finished in a tie for seventh at 76.
Two more top GAP senior competitors, Glenn Smeraglio of LuLu Country Club and Overbrook Golf Club’s Ray Thompson, headed a group of five players tied for 10th at 5-over 77. They were joined at that figure by Christopher Clauson, like Smeraglio a LuLu member, Joseph Russo of Laurel Creek Country Club and Gary Daniels of Applebrook.
In the Super-Seniors division, Buck Jones, a Collegeville resident representing the Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association, carded a 2-over 74 to take top honors in his debut performance as a Super-Senior.
Jones had to hold off GAP’s reigning four-time Super-Seniors Player of the Year, Don Donatoni of White Manor Country Club, to claim the title. Donatoni posted a 4-over 76 and settled for a share of second with Frank Polizzi of Whitemarsh Valley Country Club.
Thomas Humphrey of Wilmington Country Club, Daniel Burton of Lancaster Country Club and Craig Scott of Shawnee Country Club finished in a tie for fourth at 5-over 77.