July 24, 2017

Thomas Butler birdied the second playoff hole to capture the Junior Boys’ crown.

Indian Valley’s Butler charges to victory in Jock MacKenzie playoff

  ORELAND, Pa. — Thomas Butler turned his best 18-hole tournament score into hardware Monday in the 33rd Jock MacKenzie Memorial.

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  The Indian Valley Country Club youngster carded an even-par 72 in regulation to forge his way into a three-way playoff with a pair of 18-year-olds in Matt Chalupa and Buddy Hansen, IV. He birdied the second hole (No. 9, par 4, 324 yards) in overtime to prevail at a stormy-then-steamy Sandy Run Country Club (par 72, 6,461 yards).

  “This gives me a lot confidence because I had some struggles earlier in the year but the last few competitive rounds, I’ve been playing well,” Butler, 16, of Telford, Pa., said. “I was 3 over with five holes left and thinking, ‘Maybe if I can get one or two back I’ll be lucky and maybe tie.’ I got all three back and ended up tying. I can’t complain. I wasn’t expecting to make a par and a birdie [in the playoff], especially after that first drive.”

  The aforementioned tee shot on No. 1 (par 4, 347 yards), the first playoff hole, put Butler in a precarious position underneath a pine tree. He examined the lie (favorable in fluffy dirt) and determined a clear swing path to the ball. With an accelerated follow-thru accentuating a shortened backswing, Butler sent a pitching wedge from 115 yards over a guarding bunker, eight feet right of the hole location. Relatively soft conditions from saturating rains overnight and into the morning contributed to a sudden stop upon landing.

  “Normally, I’d hit a gap wedge, but being that I was under a tree, there was one branch that was bugging me,” Butler, a rising junior at Souderton Area High School, said. “I didn’t want to hit it with my backswing because it might take me offline so I went up to a pitching wedge. I was pretty happy with that one.”

  Butler and Hansen, however, both missed their birdie putts and carded matching 4s. Chalupa, an Inniscrone Golf Club member making his Golf Association of Philadelphia debut, failed to save par from the left greenside bunker and therefore exited the session. On No. 9, both Butler and Hansen, a Blue Bell Country Club member, found the fairway. The former then saw an identical shot to one he hit in regulation: a 56-degree wedge from 50 yards to a front right hole location. Butler landed it 15 feet left and slightly above. Hansen’s wedge approach inhaled more air than anticipated, giving the incoming senior at La Salle College High School a testy downhiller for birdie. His attempt stopped four feet shy.

  Next came Butler’s heroics.

  “Once Buddy missed, I really wasn’t thinking about making that putt because I knew if I hit it too hard, it was going to roll a long way past. When I hit it, I realized, ‘That might go in,’” Butler said.

  Butler, who teed off almost an hour after Chalupa, inked a 2-under-par 34 on his inward nine. That number included three straight birdies on Nos. 14-16. On the first (par 4, 415 yards), Butler drilled a 9-iron 150 yards to 30 feet above the flagstick. He smoked a 4-iron from 200 yards onto the 15th green’s (par 5, 477 yards) front edge and walked away with a two-putt birdie. To cap the red stretch, Butler knocked a 52-degree wedge 100 yards to 20 feet below the hole location on No. 16 (par 4, 375 yards) and deposited a right-to-left breaker.

  “Once I did that, I realized that I’ve never been at even par with two holes left,” he said.

  The internal shock swelled; the bespectacled Butler quelled it with tap-in pars on the final two holes. A pleasant surprise considering he missed both fairways — a rare occurrence on this day with a replacement driver.

  That’s right. Butler broke his driver during the Montgomery County Amateur yesterday. He used a Big Bertha Epic demo as a temporary substitute Monday.

  When it comes to GAP events, the suave and soft-spoken Butler is now 1-for-2. His lone prior appearance? An 88 in the qualifying round of the Junior Boys’ Championship presented by PURE Insurance.

  “This feels pretty good,” Butler said. “The first one wasn’t good, but this one feels just a bit better.”

  A lot better.

Darren Nolan

Junior-Junior
  Talamore Country Club’s Darren Nolan carded an even-par 36 to claim the event’s Junior-Junior Boys’ (par 36, 2,855 yards) title.

  Birdies on Nos. 16 (par 4, 350 yards) and 17 (par 4, 329 yards) allowed the incoming Abington Junior High School eighth grader to finish level. On the first, he drew a 7-iron from 142 yards to three feet. After leaving a sand wedge from 83 yards short of the 17th green, Nolan chipped in for a birdie — a highlight of the day.

  Nolan teamed with Chester Valley Golf Club’s Henry Fish to win the Junior-Junior crown in the Francis X. Hussey Memorial two weeks ago. He will compete in the Association’s Junior-Junior Boys’ Championship next week.

  “I’m hitting the ball at least 40 yards farther than I did last year, and my short game has improved a lot,” Nolan, 13, of Glenside, Pa., said. “I play every day and practice once a week. I enjoy pounding my drives down the middle.”

Harry Hammond Award
  Commonwealth National Golf Club’s Ron Robinson swapped a potential spot in a U.S. Amateur Qualifier for a shot at the Harry Hammond Award. He made the right decision.

  Robinson became only the third player since the award’s inception in 2000 to win in consecutive years Billy Stewart, 2000-01 and Cole Berman, 2012-13). Robinson carded a 73 Monday for a 299 total and a two-stroke victory over Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club’s Matt Graeff.

  “It was really important to me because it was such an honor to win last year. I knew it was going to possible again this year because I’ve improved a lot,” Robinson, 18, of Hatfield, Pa., said. “My game’s been coming around the past couple of weeks, which has been big.”

  Robinson, a recent North Penn High School graduate, will attend Monmouth University in the fall.

  Jock MacKenzie served as Sandy Run Country Club’s head professional for more than three decades. The Memorial tournament, which originated in 1985, is named in his honor. It is open to Junior golfers — both male and female — from GAP Member Clubs. Sandy Run hosts the event each year.

Golf Association of Philadelphia
  Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 153 Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. 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.

Results

Junior Boys' Division

Name, club

Score

*Thomas Butler, Indian Valley Country Club

72

Matt Chalupa, Inniscrone Golf Club

72

Buddy Hansen, IV, Blue Bell Country Club

72

Hayden Moffat, Lu Lu Country Club

74

Drew Steinmetz, Spring Ford Country Club

74

Sam Walker, St. Davids Golf Club

74

Chase Miller, Heidelberg Country Club

74

Ron Robinson, Commonwealth National Golf Club

75

Matthew Hanzel, Running Deer Golf Club

75

Matt Graeff, Manufacturers' Golf & Country Club

76

Ben Wiseman, The Bucks Club

76

Tyler Roland, Overbrook Golf Club

77

Nicholas Scott, GAP Junior eClub

77

Jacob Zeng, Applecross Country Club

77

Alec Stern, Green Valley Country Club

78

Michael O'Neill, Overbrook Golf Club

78

Andrew Gallagher, Laurel Creek Country Club

78

Griffin Foll, Yardley Country Club

78

Shane Nocito, Philmont Country Club

79

Bobby Beck, Lehigh Country Club

79

Jacob Hanzel, Running Deer Golf Club

79

Chris Skean, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club

79

Matthew Lafond, Blue Bell Country Club

80

David Colleran, Jr., Overbrook Golf Club

80

Gee Smith, IV, Merion Golf Club

80

Dylan Sterlacci, Applecross Country Club

80

Archie Filshill, Jr., Huntingdon Valley Country Club

81

Emmett Fox, McCall Golf & Country Club

81

Dante DiStefano, Commonwealth National Golf Club

82

Francis Rosato, Aronimink Golf Club

82

William Foxman, Gulph Mills Golf Club

82

Justin Hershey, Applebrook Golf Club

82

Jake McCloskey, Radley Run Country Club

82

Ryan Niggeman, French Creek Golf Club

82

James Dalzell, Jr., Linwood Country Club

82

Dylan Topaz, Philadelphia Cricket Club

83

Jake Maddaloni, Aronimink Golf Club

83

John Bradbeer, Merion Golf Club

83

Alec Ryden, Laurel Creek Country Club

83

Daniel Galbreath, Huntingdon Valley Country Club

84

Charlie Baker, Gulph Mills Golf Club

84

Nicholas Taylor, Jericho National Golf Club

84

Stephen Lorenzo, Manufacturers' Golf & Country Club

85

Ethan Krohn, Overbrook Golf Club

85

Cal Buonocore, Llanerch Country Club

86

Jonathan Green, Green Valley Country Club

87

Trevor Paolone, Overbrook Golf Club

87

Jason Swartz, Blue Bell Country Club

88

Nicholas Hano, III, Aronimink Golf Club

88

Jack Fialko, Aronimink Golf Club

88

Sam Greenebaum, Medford Lakes Country Club

88

Brett Gulati, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve

88

Matt Fleming, Spring Mill Country Club

88

Ryan McHugh, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club

90

David Mester, The Springhaven Club

91

Andrew Damico, McCall Golf & Country Club

92

Stephen Butler, Indian Valley Country Club

92

John McClatchy, Whitford Country Club

93

Tyler Dalzell, Huntingdon Valley Country Club

95

Brayden Diprinzio, Chester Valley Golf Club

96

Richard Boorum, Paxon Hollow Country Club

109

Max Ferracci, Philadelphia Country Club

113

Davis Flannery, Overbrook Golf Club

NS

Daniel Bastian, Rolling Green Golf Club

NS

Brent Schoeller, Huntingdon Valley Country Club

WD

JonNolan Perry, Waynesborough Country Club

WD

Matthew Brennan, Rolling Green Golf Club

WD

Greg DeLuca, Makefield Highlands Golf Club

WD

Tyler Zimmer, Philadelphia Country Club

WD

 

Junior-Junior Boys' Division

Name, club

Score

Darren Nolan, Talamore Country Club

36

Nathan Guertler, Tavistock Country Club

41

Nicholas Gross, Applecross Country Club

42

Lucas Steinmetz, Spring Ford Country Club

43

Christian Matt, Talamore Country Club

45

Chase Cristella, Laurel Creek Country Club

45

Kevin Lafond, Blue Bell Country Club

47

Tyler Leyden, North Hills Country Club

47

Luke Burman, North Hills Country Club

49

Colin Michener, Huntingdon Valley Country Club

49

Gavin Michener, Huntingdon Valley Country Club

49

Eric Fryer, Talamore Country Club

49

Richie Biborosch, Aronimink Golf Club

50

Jackson Fryer, Talamore Country Club

53

Dodge Martinson, Trenton Country Club

53

Charlie Hurchalla, The Springhaven Club

53

Jackson Puskar, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club

57

Kidder Urban, Bellewood Country Club

69

Matthew Hurchalla, The Springhaven Club

75

Junior Girls' Division

Name, club

Score

*Meghan Fahey, Merion Golf Club

83

Lauren Jones, Merion Golf Club

83

Georgia Naples, White Manor Country Club

84

Clare Gimpel, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club

88

Savanna Haas, Spring Ford Country Club

93

Tatum Henry, Blue Heron Pines Golf Club

94

 

Junior-Junior Girls' Division

Name, club

Score

Molly Gregor, Huntingdon Valley Country Club

42

Emma McGrath, Huntingdon Valley Country Club

65

Gabrielle Courtney, North Hills Country Club

71

Nora Blatney, Philadelphia Cricket Club

WD

Mollie Young, North Hills Country Club

WD

* — won in playoff

NS — no show; WD — withdrawal