Their first victory as a team. In a scorecard playoff over the event’s two-time defending champions, no less.
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Christopher Haggerty and Justin Masters accrued 42 points to take the 11th Modified Stableford Tournament Wednesday at Huntsville Golf Club (par 72, 6,484 yards). With 22 of those coming on the back nine, the two thereby edged Wyoming Valley Country Club’s Tom Biscotti and Eric Plisko in a tiebreaker. The AGA/GAP uses the USGA-recommended scorecard tiebreaking method, which starts with back-nine total.
“We wanted to play in-and-out as best as we can,” Masters, 33, said. “We always joke, ‘Who’s going to be the ham? Who’s going to be the egg?’ We seem to always birdie the same holes. If we’re going to post a good score, then we need to split it up a little bit. We did that pretty well at Huntsville.”
“We played pretty well. We definitely partnered well and helped each other out when we were stuck,” Haggety, 34, added. “He came up big with an eagle on No. 14. That was huge.”
On the aforementioned 14th hole (par 5, 485 yards), Masters pulverized a 3-wood downwind to the fairway’s edge. He next attacked a back-center hole location with a 6-iron from 193 yards. After watching the respective eagle efforts of groupmates Eamon Evans and Brandon Jackson burn the edge, Masters, a Country Club of Scranton member, smoothly deposited an eight-footer for a critical 3. He added a birdie on No. 16 (par 4, 366 yards), landing a 104-yard 56-degree wedge shot a foot from a back-left hole location.
Haggety provided the team’s front nine heroics. On Huntsville’s opener (par 5, 482 yards), the Philadelphia Publinks GA member reached the green in two with a 6-iron from 177 yards. He ran a 35-footer for eagle eight feet past the cup, but drained the comebacker. On No. 8 (par 4, 409 yards), Haggerty made a key bogey save. With Masters in despair off the tee, Haggerty’s wedge from 125 yards contained excessive spin, leaving a challenging 30-footer from the front the green. He left his birdie putt four feet short and misread the ensuing par attempt. A birdie — albeit improbable considering a 216-yard hybrid hook into the left rough — on the next hole (par 5, 522 yards) nullified the miscue.
“I kind of made an unreal up-and-down for me. I hit a flop shot to three feet and knocked it in for birdie,” Haggerty said. “I was happy to get out of trouble and come away with a birdie.”
Haggerty and Masters get out for a handful of rounds together each year.
“Our wives are pretty much best friends. They went to the University of Scranton together,” Haggerty said. “Once Justin started dating [his wife Adrienne], she said [to my wife Maria], ‘Oh, Justin’s a golfer. He and Chris should play.’ It just worked out. We became friends and play as much as we can.”
“We try and team up in a couple of tournaments. He doesn’t get the chance to play too much. He has four little ones at home, so it was nice that we were able to pair up and get the W,” Masters added.
Senior & Super-Senior
Two weeks, two tournaments and two wins for the team of Mark Bartkowski and Ken Bolcavage.
Fresh off a triumph in the Carlyle Robinson Fall Four-Ball at Elkview Country Club, Bartkowski and Bolcavage remained red hot at Huntsville (par 72, 6,127 yards). The two posted 43 points to claim the event’s Senior Division.
“Mark played one of the best rounds I’ve ever seen him play. I wasn’t at my best, but when someone is playing very well, you just have to be there,” Bolcavage, 57, of Crystal Lake, Pa., said.
“The Lord said, ‘Way to go, Tom. Way to be honest.'”Tom Miller
“I had a lot of things working, which is very typical for the end of the year because I really don’t have any other tournaments left. It figures,” Bartkowski, 56, of Roaring Brook, Pa., added.
Back-to-back birdies on Nos. 2 (par 4, 321 yards) and 3 (par 3, 135 yards) foreshadowed fiery play. On the former, Bartkowski, a Wemberly Hills Golf Club member, ripped a drive into the right greenside bunker. He splashed out and sunk a 15-footer for birdie. Bartkowski swept in a two-footer on the next hole following a crisp pitching wedge.
After Bolcavage’s tee shot on No. 6 (par 4, 338 yards) entered the unknown, Bartkowski provided red peace of mind. He hit a 9-iron 141 yards to seven feet. Similar story on No. 13 (par 4, 385 yards). Bolcavage, an Elkview Country Club member, tugged a drive into the fescue. No luck finding it. No problem for Bartkowski. He buried a slippery downhiller for birdie after knocking a wedge 105 yards to 15 feet. Both he and Bolcavage eased their eagle efforts into gimme range on the next hole (par 5, 464 yards). Bartkowski’s sixth and final birdie of the day occurred on No. 16 (par 4, 352 yards), where he knocked a pitching wedge 135 yards to two feet.
Since Bartkowski and Bolcavage ended their shared AGA/GAP campaign a perfect 2-for-2, the 2021 game plan is clear.
“We have decided that we’re going to play in more events together next year,” Bolcavage said. “Mark’s a great guy. Our games complement each other, so we feel comfortable playing with each other.”
A reunion 20 years in the making resulted in a Super-Senior (par 72, 6,127 yards) trophy for Tom Miller and Mike Sokoloski. The two posted 39 points to best six teams.
“Mike wasn’t’ playing in many AGA/GAP events. I ran into him at a tournament at Glenmaura (National Golf Club) about a month or so ago,” Miller, 67, of Scranton, Pa., “I said, ‘Hey, how come you’re not playing?’ He made some stupid excuse. I said, ‘How about playing in one with me?’ He said, ‘That would be cool. I would like to.’ It worked out great. We really hammed-and-egged it pretty good.”
“I quit playing in AGA/GAP events because of injuries and stuff like that,” Sokoloski, 71, of Jessup, Pa., added. “I wanted to relive it. I thought I had a little game going this year. I said, ‘Let’s go down and test it.’ There are certain guys you mesh with when you play. Tom and I always mesh.”
Total mesh. Seven birdies between the two suggest so.
Miller, a Wemberly Hills member, drove No. 2 (par 4, 321 yards) and dropped a 12-footer for birdie to initiate the team’s momentum. The sequence on No. 7 (par 4, 381 yards), however, stood out as the real red highlight. After a brief search, Miller located his wayward tee shot and subsequently played his approach onto the green.
“It was only four feet from the hole. I went over and marked it. It wasn’t my ball,” Miller said. “I’m out of the hole. Mike had a 25-foot birdie putt, and he knocked it in. The Lord said, ‘Way to go, Tom. Way to be honest.’ I thought, ‘Boy, this is going to be a fun day.’” “That just amazed me,” Sokoloski, a Scott Greens Golf Club member, added. “Golf is the game of honor. [When Tom told me he was out of the hole], I said, ‘Beautiful. Now I got a 25-footer, downhill, left-to-right on this dastard of a green.’ God works in strange ways. We had a ball out there together.”
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 Association’s 288 Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.
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