Aug. 30, 2018

Berkshire Country Club’s Joe Butto and Byron Whitman won the Senior title in a playoff.

Berkshire’s Butto, Whitman win Senior 27-Hole Challenge in playoff

  LEBANON, Pa. — Byron Whitman needs sleep.

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  A cross-country flight, a pre-dawn wake-up call, a petulant cold and 28 holes of golf ran the Reading, Pa. resident ragged Thursday. He’ll rest easy now, especially after an unexpected yet emotionally fulfilling victory in the Senior 27-Hole Challenge Thursday at Lebanon Country Club (par 72, 6,113 yards).

  Whitman and fellow Berkshire Country Club member Joe Butto defeated Lehigh Country Club’s Bob Beck and Lu Lu Country Club’s Bert Kosup, the 2016 titleholders, in a sudden-death playoff to take the Senior Division. Both teams finished regulation tied at 1-over-par 144.

  The event’s format is as follows: better-ball of partners, selective drive/alternate shot and team aggregate.

  “We’ve been playing against each for years and years, beating each other’s heads in. We decided to team it up here,” Whitman, 59, said. “I was out in Eugene [Ore., site of the U.S. Senior Amateur] as an alternate trying to get in. I was fourth in line and the first three guys got in. So, I flew home last night and got into Philadelphia at 1:30 a.m. I didn’t get to sleep until 3 a.m. I got up at 5:45 a.m. to make it here and play in this tournament. It didn’t feel like it’d be worthwhile this morning, but it does now.”

  On No. 17 (par 4, 304 yards), the first playoff hole, Whitman faced a difficult wedge shot from 84 yards. He skied it to the front of the green, avoiding a collar handcuff by some 10 paces.

  “I didn’t want to get over that green because it’s treacherous from back-to-front. You always want to get over that hump. It’s a very difficult shot,” Whitman said. “I almost didn’t get it to the top level.”

  Beck inadvertently popped up his birdie putt, leaving Kosup with a trying 15-footer uphill to save par. Butto, knowing aggression was required, navigate the slope accordingly from 30 feet away. Kosup’s par attempt stopped short. Whitman stepped up and sunk a four-footer for the win. He and Butto embraced.

  The two, playing in the day’s second group, didn’t think a triumph seemed possible at first given their sluggish start.

  “We were 3 over through 11 holes. We were short on No. 12 (par 3, 191 yards) and Joe made a nice putt up the hill to three feet, and I tapped that in. That started us getting loose, getting a feel and making some pars,” Whitman said. “We said to each other, ‘There are a lot of shots to be made up in the aggregate portion. If we can both stay around even par, then we can make up a lot of ground.’ Joe is a grinder, and I tried to do the same thing.”

  In the aggregate portion, Whitman carded a 2-under-par 34, Butto a 1-over-par 37. The former knocked a wedge 119 yards to 10 feet on No. 1 (par 4, 294 yards). Whitman stopped a 9-iron at 12 feet on No. 3 (par 3, 123 yards). Butto’s lone miscue occurred on No. 5 (par 4, 378 yards), where he made a five-footer just to save bogey.

  The Berkshire team then watched the leaderboard. Four teams finished 18 holes in red. Butto left the property after learning that a couple of teams on the course remained under par with a few holes remaining.

  “I saw [Official in Charge] Chris (Roselle), and he said that Steve Walczak and Thomas Humphrey were 1 under [on No. 8]. I’ve played against Tom and Steve, and I know the chances of them finishing bogey-double bogey are miniscule,” Whitman said. “Then I saw what they did and I got on the phone with Joe. I said, ‘Pull over. We still have a chance.’”

  “I was almost to the entrance [for the Pennsylvania Turnpike]. I’m on the phone with him, and he said, ‘You better come back,’” Butto, 57, of Mohnton, Pa., added.

  Butto came back — just like his team Thursday. Perhaps he and Whitman will return to defend their title next year.

  “I would think more outings are in our future,” Butto said. “When he joined Berkshire [earlier this year], we decided to play in at least two club events together. And then he mentioned this tournament, and I’ve always enjoyed playing this golf course.”

Super-Senior Division

Don Donatoni & Steve Tagert

  Two teams played 28 holes of golf together before one emerged victorious in the Super-Senior Division (par 71, 5,566 yards).

  White Manor Country Club’s Don Donatoni and Spring Ford Country Club’s Steve Tagert edged groupmates Robin McCool of Saucon Valley Country Club and Craig Scott of Great Bear Golf Club in a sudden-death playoff. The two also claimed Super-Senior crown in 2015. Tagert won a year ago alongside Merion Golf Club’s Carl Everett.

  “He graciously is back with me this year, so I guess it all worked out,” Donatoni, 70, of Malvern, Pa., said. “I feel vindicated. Steve made the right choice. It’s always great to win. Craig and Robin played terrific, as you would expect them to. It was sort of a dogfight there for a while.”

  “Robin and Craig played fantastic all day long. We were lucky enough to catch them at the end,” Tagert, 68, of Collegeville, Pa., added.

  The Donatoni and Tagert team closed to within one of their playing partners thanks to respective birdies on No. 7 (par 5, 448 yards). Tagert launched a 5-wood to the back of the green and two putted. Donatoni powered a 22-degree hybrid to the front fringe and nudged a chip into tap-in territory. He birdied the next hole (par 4, 365 yards) to draw even with McCool and Scott, knocking a wedge 60 yards to eight feet.

  During the sudden-death playoff (selective drive/alternate shot format), Donatoni safely played a 3-wood off the tee, giving Tagert 64 yards to a hole location on the top shelf. A two-putt turned out to be the difference.

  “On the playoff hole, Craig hit a wedge in, and it was probably a foot short of the top of the hill. It rolled down the green, which was a shame,” Tagert said. McCool and Scott made 5 compared to their opponent’s 4.

  Rounds together have been rare for Donatoni and Tagert, longtime friends and former colleagues at Aqua America, this season.

  “We were looking forward to this. It’s great to reconnect. It’s even better to win as partners,” Donatoni said.

  The Senior 27-Hole Challenge replaced the Senior Net Championship on the tournament schedule.

Golf Association of Philadelphia
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 260 Full Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across Eastern Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Gross results

Senior Division

Name, club

R1-R2-R3--Total

*Byron Whitman/Joe Butto, Berkshire Country Club

37-36-71--144

Bob Beck/Bert Kosup, Lehigh Country Club/Lu Lu Country Club

33-35-76--144

Craig Kliewer/Richard Umani, Lebanon Country Club/Honeybrook Golf Club

33-35-78--146

Thomas Humphrey/Steven Walczak, Wilmington Country Club

34-36-77--147

Marlin Detweiler/Ron Weaver, Lancaster Country Club/Bent Creek Country Club

33-37-80--150

Jim Yenser/Buck Jones, Raven's Claw Golf Club/Philadelphia Publinks GA

34-42-74--150

Thomas Alestock/Robert Walters, Running Deer Golf Club

37-35-78--150

Bryan Marvin/James Muller, Old York Road Country Club/Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club

37-34-79--150

J. Kirk Luntey/Arthur Kania, Jr., Merion Golf Club

35-42-81--158

Ron Risser/Doug Fulmer, Meadia Heights Golf Club

38-39-85--162

Richard Holstein/James Fay, Rolling Green Golf Club

41-41-80--162

Bob Johns/Chester Mosteller, Lookaway Golf Club/Stonewall

36-39-89--164

Thomas Hyland/Ronald Cusick, Sr., Little Mill Country Club/Tavistock Country Club

36-41-87--164

Don Uhrig, Jr./Joseph Templin, LedgeRock Golf Club

39-41-85--165

Vince Yost/Daniel Kluger, Cedarbrook Country Club

45-40-80--165

Michael Schoedler/Robert Tredinnick, Commonwealth National Golf Club

42-43-87--172

Mike Pierce/Joseph Lunardi, The Springhaven Club/Llanerch Country Club

44-45-92--181

 

Super-Senior Division

Name, club

R1-R2-R3--Total

*Steve Tagert/Don Donatoni, Spring Ford Country Club/White Manor Country Club

35-33-74--142

Craig Scott/Robin McCool, Great Bear Golf Club/Saucon Valley Country Club

35-33-74--142

Bob Majczan/James Prendergast, Lookaway Golf Club/Spring Ford Country Club

33-36-76--145

Andrew Tompos/Daniel Burton, Overlook Golf Course/Lancaster Country Club

35-37-76--148

Jeffrey True/Steve Schulte, Lebanon Country Club

36-40-77--153

Mike Tomasic/David Brackenbury, Woodstone Country Club

37-39-80--156

Joseph Viscuso/Peter Torras, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club

35-39-82--156

Jack Polidori/Larry Wheeler, DuPont Country Club

39-38-80--157

Gerald Eckert/Alan Over, Bent Creek Country Club

37-41-82--160

Andy Donaldson/George Jeitles, French Creek Golf Club

37-39-85--161

Richard Saylor/James Mcelya, Coatesville Country Club

37-39-88--164

Charles Johnson/Brian Jasperse, Jericho National Golf Club

36-42-87--165

Kirby Beshore/John Vogel, Country Club of Harrisburg

41-38-87--166

Donald Eshleman/Robert Cherry, Country Club of Harrisburg

38-47-90--175

 

Net results

Senior Division

Name, club

R1-R2-R3--Total

Bob Beck/Bert Kosup, Lehigh Country Club/Lu Lu Country Club

32-34-74--140

Byron Whitman/Joe Butto, Berkshire Country Club

37-36-70--143

Marlin Detweiler/Ron Weaver, Lancaster Country Club/Bent Creek Country Club

31-36-77--144

Thomas Alestock/Robert Walters, Running Deer Golf Club

35-34-75--144

Don Uhrig, Jr./Joseph Templin, LedgeRock Golf Club

34-37-74--145

Thomas Humphrey/Steven Walczak, Wilmington Country Club

33-36-76--145

Bob Johns/Chester Mosteller, Lookaway Golf Club/Stonewall

31-35-80--146

Craig Kliewer/Richard Umani, Lebanon Country Club/Honeybrook Golf Club

33-35-78--146

Bryan Marvin/James Muller, Old York Road Country Club/Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club

36-33-77--146

Thomas Hyland/Ronald Cusick, Sr., Little Mill Country Club/Tavistock Country Club

30-38-79--147

Ron Risser/Doug Fulmer, Meadia Heights Golf Club

34-36-78--148

Mike Pierce/Joseph Lunardi, The Springhaven Club/Llanerch Country Club

36-38-74--148

Jim Yenser/Buck Jones, Raven's Claw Golf Club/Philadelphia Publinks GA

34-42-73--149

Richard Holstein/James Fay, Rolling Green Golf Club

38-39-74--151

Vince Yost/Daniel Kluger, Cedarbrook Country Club

41-38-74--153

J. Kirk Luntey/Arthur Kania, Jr., Merion Golf Club

34-42-80--156

Michael Schoedler/Robert Tredinnick, Commonwealth National Golf Club

38-40-79--157

 

Super-Senior Division

Name, club

R1-R2-R3--Total

Bob Majczan/James Prendergast, Lookaway Golf Club/Spring Ford Country Club

30-34-71--135

Steve Tagert/Don Donatoni, Spring Ford Country Club/White Manor Country Club

32-35-69--136

Jeffrey True/Steve Schulte, Lebanon Country Club

32-37-69--138

Andrew Tompos/Daniel Burton, Overlook Golf Course/Lancaster Country Club

32-35-71--138

Andy Donaldson/George Jeitles, French Creek Golf Club

31-34-73--138

Joseph Viscuso/Peter Torras, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club

30-36-74--140

Richard Saylor/James Mcelya, Coatesville Country Club

31-35-75--141

Jack Polidori/Larry Wheeler, DuPont Country Club

35-35-71--141

Kirby Beshore/John Vogel, Country Club of Harrisburg

35-33-74--142

Craig Scott/Robin McCool, Great Bear Golf Club/Saucon Valley Country Club

35-33-74--142

Charles Johnson/Brian Jasperse, Jericho National Golf Club

30-38-75--143

Mike Tomasic/David Brackenbury, Woodstone Country Club

35-37-75--147

Gerald Eckert/Alan Over, Bent Creek Country Club

34-39-76--149

Donald Eshleman/Robert Cherry, Country Club of Harrisburg

32-42-77--151

 

 

* — won in playoff

 

R1 — better-ball of partners; R2 — selective drive/alternate shot; R3 — team aggregate

 

 

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