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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Thompson, Donatoni lead winning partnerships in Senior Four-Ball Stroke Play Championship

   Oscar Mestre and Carl Everett probably ceased being amazed a long time ago.
   But the exploits of their playing partners in Thursday’s Golf Association of Philadelphia Senior Four-Ball Stroke Play Championship are just as amazing now as they have been for so many years, maybe moreso because, let’s face it, these guys aren’t getting any younger.
   Mestre has been teaming with fellow Overbrook Golf Club member Ray Thompson in these kinds of events for years and winning them for years. Mestre watched the 65-year-old Thompson reel off seven birdies, five on the front nine, as the duo claimed the senior division title with a 7-under-par 64 at Laurel Creek Country Club in Mount Laurel, N.J.
   Everett of Merion Golf Club watched his partner, 69-year-old Don Donatoni of White Manor Country Club,  make three birdies on the front nine as the pair won the super-senior division for the third straight year with a 6-under 65.
   About the only thing that threatened either team’s chances for victory was the weather. Play was completed after a two-hour delay for a thunderstorm. Donatoni would have been unable to return for a Friday completion of play.
   Thompson, who has made several deep runs in the U.S. Senior Amateur in recent years, birdied the first, fourth, fifth, sixth and ninth holes over a Laurel Creek layout that measured 6,449 yards for the senior division competitors.
   Mestre and Thompson piled up 13 GAP Team Championship titles, so the 57-year-old Mestre has seen it all before.
   “We know each other’s game,” Mestre, the secretary of GAP’s executive committee, told the GAP website. “Our chemistry is great out there. In the Team Championships, we would usually partner up. We’ve got experience together, definitely.”
   The formidable duo of Thomas Bartoloacci Jr. of Huntingdon Valley Country Club and Glenn Smeraglio of Lu Lu Country Club shared runnerup honors behind Mestre and Thompson with the Little Mill Country Club pair of Joseph Roeder and Bill Gregor, each team posting a 3-under 68.
   Michael Tash of Tavistock Country Club and Chris Lange, another player from Overbrook’s deep stable of talent, and the Hartefeld National Golf Club team of Chris Smedley and Paul Hess shared fourth place at 2-under 69.
   Bill Charpek, who punched his ticket to the U.S. Senior Amateur later this month at The Minikahda Club in Minneapolis at a local qualifier three days earlier at LedgeRock Golf Club, and fellow Merion Golf Club member J. Kirk Luntey headed a group of three teams tied for sixth at 1-under 70.
   Also at 1-under 70 were the Commonwealth National Golf Club team of John Alterman and Scott Carney and the pair of Steven Lucas of Wilmington Country Club and Michael Quinn of the Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association.
   Eight teams finished tied for ninth at even-par 71, one a particularly odd golf partnership just because of their last names and one particularly onerous golf colloquialism. That would be the Wilmington Country Club pair of Robert Hackett Jr. and Joseph Hacker, whose tie for ninth would indicate they are, in fact, not hackers.
   Joining Hackett and Hacker at 1-over 71 were: The Running Deer Golf Club pair of Thomas Alestock and Norman Charlesworth; the team of Robert Wurtz Jr. of Philadelphia Cricket Club and Gary Smith of Pine Valley Golf Club; the Greate Bay Country Club pair of John Ward and Archie Struthers; the Lancaster Country Club duo of Kenneth Phillips and Bob Beck; the Merion pair of Gordon Jamieson and Robert Wagner; Drew Panebianco of Five Ponds Golf Club and Craig Kliewer of Honeybrook Golf Club; and the Yardley Country Club team of Gregory Buliga and Paul Dunsbury.
   Like Charpek, Donatoni was coming off a strong showing in the Senior Amateur qualifier at  LedgeRock as the four-time reigning GAP Super-Senior Player of the Year also earned one of the five available tickets to Minikahda, making the U.S. Senior Amateur for the fourth time.
   He made birdies at three, five and nine and Everett dropped in a 25-foot birdie try from the front fringe at the eighth and the pair was well on its way to a three-shot victory and a third straight victory in the Four-Ball Stroke Play.
   “We don’t have to communicate a lot out there,” Donatoni told the GAP website. “It’s like we know what’s going on in each other’s mind. It’s get up, hit it, go find it and put it in the hole and it’s just worked out for us lately.”
   The Whitemarsh Valley Country Club pair of Frank Polizzi and Bernie Zbrzeznj were three shots back of Donatoni and Everett in second with a 3-under 68 over a Laurel Creek layout that measured 5,963 yards for the super-seniors.
   The Rolling Green Golf Club duo of Robert Billings and James Coleman finished third, another shot behind Polizzi and Zbrzeznj with a 2-under 69.
   Dave Jacobson of Medford Village Country Club and Jon Mabry of the Moorestown Field Club shared fourth place with the Woodstone Country Club pair of Mike Tomasic and David Brackenbury, each team posting a 1-under 70.
   The Bent Creek  Country Club pair of Alan Over and Ronald Yarnell finished alone in sixth at even-par 71.

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