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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Butler survives playoff to capture Jock MacKenzie Memorial title

   When Souderton junior Thomas Butler birdied three straight holes to get to even-par on his round, he wasn’t thinking about winning the title in the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Jock MacKenzie Memorial at Sandy Run Country Club Monday.
   “Once I did that, I realized that I’ve never been even-par with two holes left,” Butler told the GAP website.
   It’s the way you’re coached these days. Think process over results. And in this case, it worked.
Butler, playing out of Indian Valley Country Club, got those last two pars and his even-par 72 over the 6,461-yard, par-72 Sandy Run layout earned him a spot in a playoff along with Buddy Hansen IV, a senior at La Salle who plays out of Blue Bell Country Club, and Matt Chalupa of Inniscrone Golf Club.
   Butler had to make a tough approach from under a tree on the first hole of the playoff, No. 1 at Sandy Run, and was able to match Hansen’s par while Chalupa couldn’t get it up and down from a greenside bunker and was eliminated with a bogey.
   On the second hole of the playoff, No. 9 at Sandy Run, Butler rolled in a 15-foot downhiller for birdie to capture the Jock MacKenzie crown, one of GAP’s major titles for juniors.
   Hayden Moffatt of Lu Lu Country Club, coming off a nice win in a Philadelphia Section PGA Junior Tour victory in a Precision Pro Golf Open event at Makefield Highlands Golf Club last week, headed a group of three players tied for fourth at 2-over 74.
   Moffatt was joined at that figure by The Haverford School’s Sam Walker and Drew Steinmetz, the son of Spring-Ford Country Club head pro Rich Steinmetz. Ron Robinson of Commonwealth National Golf Club, Chase Miller of Heidelberg Country Club and Matthew Hanzel of Running Deer Golf Club finished tied for seventh at 75.
   Matt Graeff of Manufacturers Golf & Country Club and Ben Wiseman of The Bucks Club finished tied for 10th, each posting a 76.
   Robinson, a recent North Penn graduate who is headed to Monmouth University, passed up the U.S. Amateur qualifier at Stonewall Monday because he knew he had a chance to repeat as the winner of the Harry Hammond Award. The Harry Hammond is the stroke-play championship for the juniors and is a 72-hole aggregate of a player’s scores in the Junior Boys’ Championship qualifying, the 36-hole Christman Cup and the Jock MacKenzie.
   Robinson’s 75 Monday gave him a 299 total and a two-shot edge on Graeff, who had a 301 total. The key round in the series for Robinson was his 1-under 69 in the opening round of the Christman Cup at Stonewall’s tough North Course.
   By repeating as the Harry Hammond Award winner, Robinson joins a pretty nice list that includes only Llanerch Country Club’s Billy Stewart (2000-2001) and Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Cole Berman (2012-2013), both of whom would go on to claim BMW Philadelphia Amateur titles.
   Talamore Country Club’s Darren Nolan, an eighth-grader at Abington Junior High, was an impressive winner of the boys Junior-Junior crown with birdies on 16 and 17 for an even-par 36. He was five shots clear of runnerup Nathan Guertler of Tavistock Country Club, who posted a 5-over 41.
   Nicholas Gross of Applecross Country Club finished third with a 42, Lucas Steinmetz of Spring-Ford Country Club, was fourth with a 43 and Christian Matt of Talamore and Chase Cristella of Laurel Creek Country Club shared fifth place at 45.
   Meghan Fahey, who plays out of Merion Golf Club and Overbrook Golf Club, defeated fellow Merion member Lauren Jones in a playoff for the girls title. Fahey is a senior at Agnes Irwin who won the Inter-Ac League title in 2016 while at Notre Dame before transferring. She and Jones, who also plays in the Inter-Ac at Episcopal Academy, each carded an 83.
   Georgia Naples of White Manor Country Club finished third, a shot out of the playoff with an 84.
Molly Gregor of Huntingdon Valley Country Club carded a 42 to win the girls Junior-Junior division. Her Junior-Junior partner in the Francis X. Hussey Memorial, fellow Huntingdon Valley member Emma McGrath, was the runnerup with a 65.

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