119th #GAPOpen: Pillar Family Affair - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Jul 20, 2023

119th #GAPOpen: Pillar Family Affair

Woodloch’s Pillars paired in #GAPOpen

BUCKINGHAM, Pa. – A familiar embrace and a clink of cans on Lookaway Golf Club’s (par 72, 6,904 yards) back patio followed Round Two of the 119th GAP Open Championship for Woodloch Springs’ father and son duo John Pillar, Sr. and Alex Pillar.

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After sharing 1-over-par 73s in Round One of the tournament, the two were paired together on Day Two. 

“We finished real close to each other yesterday,” Alex, 22, of Hawley, Pa., said. “We both woke up from a nap in the hotel room when the pairings came out, and we saw that we were together. It was kind of a shock. We’ve never played together competitively.”

“I was excited,” John, 56, of Hawley, Pa., said. “Obviously, watching him grow up [and having] a little part of him getting into the game [has been special]. He whooped me today. He played really solid.”

The pair have played partner events such as the 2022 Philadelphia PGA Professional-Parent/Child Championship, which they won. They finished tied for eighth in this year’s edition of the event.

Today, Alex shot 2-under-par 70 to beat his dad, who replicated his Round One score. 

The third player in the group was David Colleran of Overbrook Golf Club. Colleran was paired with Alex during Round One as well.

“It was a fun time,” Colleran, 22, of Wayne, Pa., said. “They are both good players and are both fun to play with. They both played pretty well.” 

John has served as Director of Golf at Woodloch for 32 years. In addition to giving lessons and providing administrative support at the club, he is an accomplished player. In 2014, he won the Pennsylvania Golf Association Open Championship. After winning several Philadelphia PGA Section events during the 2019 season, including the Philadelphia Senior PGA Professional Championship, the Section named him the 2019 Robert “Skee” Riegel Sr. Player of the Year. In 2021, he captured the Inaugural PAGA Senior Open Championship. To date, John is the only player to win both the PAGA’s Open and Senior Open, an event that is three years old.

“I think one of the highlights for me in my career has been playing as long as I have,” John said. “[Alex] caddied for me the year I won the [PAGA Open Championship] at [the Country Club of York].”

“This is only my second Philly Open, but I’ve probably been at either five or six,” Alex, a recent Newberry College graduate, added.

The Pillars combined for seven birdies on the day. 

John’s card featured two birdies. On No. 9 (par 4, 352 yards), he lifted a 58-degree wedge to eight feet. On No. 17 (par 5, 520 yards), his second shot, a 3-wood from 260 yards, landed just short of the green. A pitch to one foot resulted in an easy four. 

Alex painted his card red on five occasions. He opened his round on No. 1 (par 4, 379 yards) with a 3-iron off the tee, which left him 141 yards into the green. He guided a pitching wedge to 10 feet and holed the putt for his first birdie. On No. 6 (par 3, 201 yards) his 5-iron landed 15 feet below the hole. He holed the lengthy attempt for another red number. On No. 8 (par 5, 542 yards), Alex’s 3-wood settled 20 feet from the hole. He two-putted for another four. The par 4, 308 yard, No. 10 featured a 3-iron followed by a 73 yard 58-degree wedge that stopped five feet from the hole. A confident roll scratched another red number on his card. To match his dad with a birdie on No. 17, Alex hit a 4-iron 208 yards to 20 feet. A smooth two-putt sealed the deal.

Overall, Alex finished T19 and John finished T40.   

“The loser today has to drive home,” John said. “We tied yesterday, so I got the wheel.”

Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, 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 organization’s 340 Member Clubs and 100,000 individual members are spread across Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

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