June 4, 2018

Stu Ingraham bumps fists with caddie Russ Baribault on No. 18 (par 4, 389 yards).

Stu-pendous: Ingraham tops U.S. Senior Open Qual. at Indian Valley

  TELFORD, Pa. — A withdrawal from a Philadelphia Section PGA event, an arrival in a USGA championship for Stu Ingraham.

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  The Newtown Square, Pa. resident stood in fourth place following Round One of the Burlington Classic Pro-Am yesterday. He bypassed a title chase for a chance at the U.S. Senior Open.

  That decision paid off as Ingraham carded a 2-under-par 70 to earn medalist honors in a qualifier administered by the Golf Association of Philadelphia at a cool Indian Valley Country Club (par 72, 6,850 yards) Monday.

  Fellow professionals Joey Sindelar, a PGA TOUR Champions staple, and Bobby Gage, based out of Green Woods Country Club in Winsted, Conn., also advanced. The U.S. Senior Open will take place June 28-July 1 at The Broadmoor (East Course) in Colorado Springs, Colo.

  “I probably wouldn’t have gone here, so maybe the [schedule] screw-up was a blessing in disguise,” Ingraham, 58, of Newtown Square, Pa., said. “I had a decision to make. If I play Burlington and play well, I win $2,500 and [Philadelphia PGA Section Player of the Year] points. But when I tasted what the U.S. Senior Open was last year and made the cut, I said, ‘It’s too special.’ When you get a chance to taste it, you appreciate it so much.”

  Ingraham’s appreciation of the venue also watered his appetite.

  “Indian Valley has been a great place to me. I’ve been invited to the pro-member for 20-some years. I have some really great history here,” Ingraham said. “I always liked the course. It’s always one that sort of fits my eye.”

  An eye-opening element of Ingraham’s medalist performance? A trio of twos on Indian Valley’s par 3s. Ingraham stopped an 8-iron at eight feet on No. 4 (par 3, 140 yards). Next came tee mastery courtesy of a heatseeking hybrid. He launched it to 10 feet on No. 6 (207 yards) and 15 feet on No. 11 (211 yards).   Ingraham’s front nine only included two pars — one of which set the day’s tone. He buried a 22-footer from the fringe for par on the monstrous No. 2, an uphill par-4 measuring 447 yards.

  “When I made that, I looked at my caddie (Russ Baribault) and said, ‘Every round of golf you play in life, there’s a turning point. And if I make it today, that’s the turning point.’”

  Five front-nine birdies plead a crucial case, too. Ingraham knocked a sand wedge 80 yards to eight feet for birdie on No. 3 (par 5, 521 yards). Crisp wedges also established red conversions of six and eight feet, respectively, on Nos. 8 (par 5, 511 yards) and 9 (par 4, 371 yards).

  Joining No. 2 and the outward birdies as a turning point nominee is No. 10 (par 4, 373 yards).

  “This is the point I could’ve been going from the penthouse to the outhouse quickly. I hit it in the left rough [off the tee] and then hit a wedge a little thick, and it hit the bank and came back into the water. I chipped up and made bogey,” Ingraham, head professional/director of instruction at MGOLF Driving Range & Learning Facility, said.

  Although he failed to capitalize on a helping of 15-footers for birdie down the stretch, Ingraham, given his course experience, felt assured in his leaderboard position.

  “Before I started the day, I thought 68 was a pretty protected number. The way the course played today, I felt 70 was a really good number,” Ingraham said.

  This will mark Ingraham’s 12th Major appearance in professional golf. He reflects fondly on his U.S. Senior Open debut a year ago at Salem Country Club in Peabody, Mass.

  “It was most fun week of my life in golf,” Ingraham, the 1994 GAP Open Champion, said. “I finished in the Top 50 and knocked Nick Faldo out with a putt on the 36th hole, in front of about 600 people. When you get a chance to rub elbows with Fred Couples, it’s special. It’s a dream come true.”

  Conversely, Sindelar, who currently ranks 66th in the Charles Schwab Cup, is a U.S. Senior Open veteran: runner-up (2009) and a handful of Top 10s (tied for fourth in 2011, tied for sixth in 2008 and 2016). That T6, by the way, came at Broadmoor.

  Sindelar made the three-plus hour commute to compete. He played a practice round yesterday with son Ryan, who recently completed his second year at Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law.

  “I flat out love the golf course,” Sindelar, 60, of Horseheads, N.Y., said. “We’re lucky to have a qualifier at a place like this. Out of the club’s control was the wetness: mudballs, lack of roll and spinning balls where you clearly shouldn’t be able to spin. I thought the course played hard.”

  With a sizeable gallery tracing every shot, Sindelar carded an even-par 72. A pair of 50-yard wedges produced a pair of par 5 birdies (Nos. 8, 511 yards and 12, 519 yards).

  “It was a great experience here. My game wasn’t sharp, but I still got a 72 out of it,” Sindelar said.

  Gage, 52, of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., edged hometown hopeful and GAP Hall of Famer Buddy Marucci in a sudden-death playoff to grab the final qualifying spot. Both players finished regulation tied at 1-over-par 73.

  “I had a bad shoulder, and I really didn’t start playing until about two weeks ago. I really had no expectations,” Gage said. “I was 4 over after eight holes today, but I’ve been around long enough to know that you just have to put your head down and keep going. It was a strong finish. I was very proud of myself.”

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.

Qualifiers

Name, city

Score

Stu Ingraham, Newtown Square, Pa.

70

Joey Sindelar, Horseheads, N.Y.

72

*Bobby Gage, New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

73

Alternates (in order)

*(a) George Marucci, Villanova, Pa.

73

*(a) Tucker Sampson, Chevy Chase, Md.

74

Failed to qualify

Jeffrey Dantas, Seekonk, Mass.

74

(a) Mark McGowan, Hoboken, N.J.

74

Frank Esposito, Old Bridge, N.J.

75

(a) Brian Rothaus, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.

75

(a) Raymond Thompson, Drexel Hill, Pa.

75

(a) Steve Walczak, Greenville, Del.

75

(a) Mike Krulich, Blacksburg, Va.

76

(a) Glenn McCloskey, Purcellville, Va.

76

(a) Lance Oberparleiter, Blackwood, N.J.

76

(a) David West, Exton, Pa.

76

(a) Bob Beck, Allentown, Pa.

77

Jon Ellis, Rochester, N.H.

77

Rick Flesher, Indianola, Iowa

77

(a) Drew Forrester, Parkville, Md.

77

(a) David Hayes, Albany, N.Y.

77

(a) William Jenner, Lexington Park, Md.

77

Paul Lejeune, Parsippany, N.J.

77

(a) Rand Mendez, Wilmington, Del.

77

John Pillar, Hawley, Pa.

77

Rob Shuey, Lemoyne, Pa.

77

(a) John Steele, Boyds, Md.

77

(a) Kevin Vandenberg, Syracuse, N.Y.

77

Brendan Walsh, Chestnut Hill, Mass.

77

John Allen, Media, Pa.

78

(a) Joseph Coulson, Coopersburg, Pa.

78

(a) Larry Martone, Washington, D.C.

78

Mike Dagenais, Canada

79

(a) Tony Hejna, Cleveland, Ohio

79

(a) Roc Irey, Furlong, Pa.

79

Robert Lennon, Wilmington, Del.

79

Frank Magee, Lakeland, Fla.

79

Francis Quinn, Holden, Mass.

79

(a) Robert Savarese, Scottsdale, Ariz.

79

(a) Gary E. Daniels, Berwyn, Pa.

80

(a) Niketan Desai, Zambia

80

(a) Edward Kelly, Maple Glen, Pa.

80

David McNabb, Newark, Del.

80

Gary Moore, Gambrills, Md.

80

(a) Darren Riddle, Harrisburg, Pa.

80

(a) Michael Dunsmore, Elizabethtown, N.Y.

81

(a) Steven Ford, Trappe, Md.

81

John Kelly, Canada

81

(a) Adam Kugler, Closter, N.J.

81

(a) Greg Blackburn, Malvern, Pa.

82

(a) Art Brunn, Jr., Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

82

(a) Patrick Dougherty, North Wales, Pa.

82

(a) Jim Hughes, Carlisle, Pa.

82

(a) Craig Maerki, Brightwaters, N.Y.

82

(a) Oscar Mestre, Berwyn, Pa.

82

Robert Millard, Nesquehoning, Pa.

82

(a) Mike Owsik, Bryn Mawr, Pa.

82

(a) Michael Anderson, Horsham, Pa.

83

(a) Mark Boedicker, Great Falls, Va.

83

(a) Christopher Jackson, Marlton, N.J.

83

Bob Kave, Manasquan, N.J.

83

(a) John Olszewski, Macungie, Pa.

83

(a) Mark Czerniakowski, Philadelphia, Pa.

84

(a) Timothy Dickens, Perkasie, Pa.

84

(a) Tim Sindorf, Burlington, N.J.

84

(a) Michael Fagan, Conshohocken, Pa.

85

(a) Thomas Dicinti, Voorhees, N.J.

86

David Porter, Jr., Baltimore, Md.

86

Jeffrey Wambold, Macungie, Pa.

87

(a) Eric Howell, Chevy Chase, Md.

89

(a) Robert Falls, West Chester, Pa.

91

Mike Schu, Mount Carmel, Pa.

95

(a) Michael Mozur, Gulf Breeze, Fla.

NC

(a) David Nocar, Millersville, Md.

NS

(a) R. Scott Mayne, Harrisburg, Pa.

NS

Michael Bradley, Lithia, Fla.

WD

(a) Mike Locastro, Paramus, N.J.

WD

Joe Max, Silver Spring, Md.

WD

Jim McCann, New Rochelle, N.Y.

WD

Bill Sautter, Ocean City, N.J.

WD

David Scarpetta, Kingsley, Pa.

WD

(a) Glenn Smeraglio, Newtown, Pa.

WD

Jeff Vanetten, Spring Grove, Pa.

WD

(a) Thomas Winegardner, Lothian, Md.

WD

* — determined in playoff; (a) — denotes amateur

NC — no card; NS — no show; WD — withdrawal

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