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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Forster prevails in playoff with Ingraham to win Skee Riegel Senior Open title

   Radnor Valley Country Club head pro George Forster defeated Stu Ingraham, the head of instruction at the M Golf Range in Newtown Square, on the first hole of a playoff to capture the title in the Philadelphia Section PGA’s Skee Riegel Senior Open, which was held Thursday at Forster’s home course.
   Forster and Ingraham each carded a 3-under-par 67 over the 6,300-yard, par-70 Radnor Valley layout. The pair headed to the first hole at Radnor Valley and both reached the putting surface in a regulation two shots. Forster proceeded to drain his 15-foot birdie try, making the hole a little smaller for Ingraham, who had a nine-footer for birdie to try to extend the playoff. Ingraham's putt came up just short and Forster claimed the title.
   The event honors the memory of Riegel, the late pro from this area who was the 1947 U.S. Amateur champion and the runnerup to Ben Hogan in the 1951 Masters.
   Forster and Ingraham are, very simply, two of the top senior club pros in the country. Forster has played in 12 PGA Tour Champions major championships, most recently the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Trump National Golf Club in Potomac Falls, Va. this spring. Ingraham has played in 28 PGA of America national championships, including six PGA Championships. He qualified for his first USGA event, last month’s U.S. Senior Open at Salem Country Club in Peabody, Mass., and made the cut, finishing tied for 49th.
   Forster got off to a fast start Thursday, going 3-under on the front nine at Radnor Valley while Ingraham closed fast, going 2-under on the back nine.
   John Pillar, the director of golf at The Country Club of Woodloch Springs who is having a very good year, headed a group of three players tied for third at 1-under 69. He was joined at that figure by Greg Farrow of Deerwood Country Club and Brian Kelly of Bucknell Golf Club.
   Don DeAngelis of Center Square Golf Club finished alone in sixth place at even-par 70. Jack Connelly, a past president of the PGA of America who is at North Hills Country Club, Huntingdon Valley Country Club assistant pro John Allen and Mark Anderson, an assistant pro at Philadelphia Cricket Club, finished tied for seventh at 1-over 71.
   Concord Country Club head pro Mike Moses, Don Allan of Burlington Country Club and Dave Quinn of Philmont Country Club shared 10th place, each posting a 2-over 72.
   Applebrook Golf Club Dave McNabb headed a group of three players tied for 13th at 3-over 73. It was one last tuneup for McNabb, who will represent the Philadelphia Section in this week’s PGA Championship at The Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C.
   McNabb earned his trip to Quail Hollow with a runnerup finish in the PGA Professional Championship at the Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Ore. McNabb, a senior competitor playing against the top club pros of all ages from all over the country, lost in a playoff for the title to former PGA Tour player Omar Uresti.
   McNabb joined Ingraham in the field for the U.S. Senior Open and joined Forster in the field for the Senior PGA Championship, so McNabb’s been playing on major stages a lot in 2017. You think I’m kidding when I say the Philadelphia Section is home to some tremendous senior players?
   McNabb was joined in the tie for 13th at Radnor Valley by Terry Hertzog, the head pro at The Country Club of York, and Bob Lennon of Wilmington Country Club.
   Farrow edged DeAngelis by a shot to claim the top spot in the Super-Senior division.
   Ingraham will be the defending champion when the Section’s top senior pros return to Radnor Valley in a couple of weeks for the Philadelphia Senior PGA Championship. The top finishers from that event will qualify for the Senior PGA Professional Championship, which tees off Sept. 28 at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, Ariz. Forster has qualified for the Senior Club Pro 11 straight years.
   The top 35 finishers in the Senior Club Pro – at least that was the number last year – will qualify for the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, which returns next May to The Golf Club at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich., which will host the event for the fourth time since 2012.

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