As the president of the Pennsylvania Golf Association, nobody knows better than Huntingdon Valley Country Club’s Douglas Gregor how the game is so often passed down from father to son.
That’s why he’s always made it a point to compete in the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Father & Son (Younger) Championship with his son Wade, a 16-year-old junior at La Salle. Winning it is just a nice little bonus.
Team Gregor claimed the title Thursday on the 6,240-yard, par-72 Whitford Country Club layout, posting a 1-over-par 73 in the select drive/alternate shot format for a three-shot margin of victory over a quartet of dads and sons.
“Spending four hours with him on a golf course, nothing could be better,” Douglas Gregor told the GAP website. “It’s great to see his maturity. We started playing in this years ago. It’s nice that our scores have gotten better. We have adult conversations in the cart now. It’s a fun four hours.”
Wade Gregor was particularly adept at converting dad’s good approaches into birdies with the putter. Douglas Gregor hit a wedge from 120 yards to 10 feet at the third and Wade made the birdie try, dad knocked a wedge to 10 feet at the 116-yard, par-3 fifth and Wade made the putt and after a solid tee shot by Wade at the 10th, dad used a sand wedge to hit it to 10 feet and Wade again dropped the birdie putt.
Heading up the group of four teams tied for second was the homestanding pair of Kevin Conners and Ryan Conners, the runnerup in the District One Class AAA Championship last fall for Bishop Shanahan. Joining them at 4-over were Jackson Tappen and Roger Tappen of Cedarbrook Country Club, William Keane Jr. and Will Keane of Philadelphia Country Club and Colman Mitchell and Randy Mitchell of Wilmington Country Club.
Mark Lafond and Matthew Lafond of Blue Bell Country Club finished alone in sixth at 77 and Dylan Audi and George Audi of LedgeRock Golf Club and Franny McCabe Jr. and Ryan McCabe of The Springhaven Club finished tied for seventh at 79.
Alex Hanna and Gregory Hanna of Overbrook Golf Club and Christopher Greer and Hayden Greer of Laurel Creek Country Club shared ninth place, each team posting an 80. Dan Lafond and Eric Lafond of Commonwealth National Golf Club finished 11th at 81.
Three more teams finished tied for 12th at 82, including Andrew Damico and Phillip Damico of McCall Golf & Country Club, Jim Dalzell and James Dalzell Jr. of Linwood Country Club and Mark Fuessinger and Stephen Fuessinger of Llanerch Country Club.
The home-course advantage helped out in the Junior-Junior division as the Whitford pair of Keller Mulhern and Owen Mulhern shared the title with Anthony Ciconte and Jeffrey Ciconte of Wilmington Country Club, each team matching par with a 72.
Team Mulhern finished with four birdies and an eagle on their home course, which played 5,809 yards for the junior-junior division.
The 40-year-old Owen Mulhern, a financial adviser, hit a sand wedge from 65 yards away to 10 feet at the fourth and 13-year-old Keller, an eighth-grader at Lionville Middle School, made the putt. Keller got a wedge to finish 12 feet away on the fifth hole and Owen rolled that one in. Dad again converted a birdie try when Keller wedged his approach at the seventh to eight feet.
Team Mulhern reached the par-5 12th in two when Keller bombed a 5-iron from 165 yards out to seven feet and dad rolled in the eagle putt. Owen Mulhern used a pitching wedge to knock his approach at the 13th hole to seven feet and his son made the putt.
Keller Mulhern’s most clutch shot of the day may have come on the par-5 16th after dad bladed his approach out of a bunker and watched the ball go out of bounds. Forced to play the same 60-yard bunker shot and now lying four, Keller stuffed it to six feet and dad made the putt to save bogey for Team Mulhern.
Jeffrey Ciconte, a 40-year-old who’s in the banking industry, got in rounds with both of his sons at Whitford, playing with Joe in the morning before getting into a share of first in the afternoon with Anthony, an eighth-grader at The Tatnall School.
Jeffrey admitted Team Ciconte might have had a little bit of advantage from dad’s morning scouting mission with Joe, but it was Anthony’s putter that really made the difference.
Jeffrey hit his approach at the fifth hole to four feet and Anthony made the birdie putt and dad’s sand wedge from 90 yards away on the ninth finished 15 feet from the hole and Anthony drained the putt. Dad nearly drove the green at the short par-4 10th, Anthony bumped it 10 feet away and Jeffrey made the putt for the pair’s third birdie of the round.
The Talamore Country Club pair of Christian Matt and Kenneth Matt finished alone in third place in the Junior-Junior division with a 3-over 75. Derek Zerfass and Matthew Zerfass of Brookside Country Club in Macungie took fourth with a 76.
Declan Rymer and Keith Rymer of Whitford and Barry Wiseman and Nate Wiseman of The Bucks Club shared fifth place, each pair posting a 77.
Chris LaRosa and David LaRosa of Cedarbrook finished seventh at 78. And Benjamin Saggers, who has been a regular on the leaderboard of the Philadelphia Section PGA Junior Tour’s 12-and-under division this year, and Nick Saggers of Applecross Country Club finished eighth with a 79.