37th Francis X. Hussey Memorial - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Jul 05, 2023

37th Francis X. Hussey Memorial

Jackson and Gavin Lane take the Junior-Junior Division

SPRINGFIELD, Pa. – Ian Larsen and Seiji Sako had Rolling Green Golf Club on its heels.

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After starting 6 under as a team through 12 holes, the golf course bit back hard in the tune of a trio of team bogeys on Nos. 13 (par 4, 395 yards), 14 (par 3, 190 yards) and 15 (par 4, 359 yards). With their chances dwindling, Sako uttered to Larsen, “We need to finish with three birdies.”

Sako’s motivational speech paid dividends.

Larsen feathered a gap wedge to eight feet on No. 16 (par 3, 129 yards) to get the rally started. After Sako smothered a high-hook bomb off the tee on No. 17 (par 5, 460 yards), he hit a gap wedge from 131 yards to nine feet and two-putted for an easy birdie.

To round out the worldly finish, Sako laced a 6-iron from 190 yards to 30 feet on the last (par 5, 521 yards) and two-putted for a closing birdie.

“Those are the shots that keep you coming back,” Sako, a rising sophomore at Lower Merion High School, said.

Larsen and Sako’s perseverance and patience was rewarded with the 37th Francis X. Hussey Memorial title Wednesday at Rolling Green (par 71, 6,275 yards).

They defeated Nathan Guertler of Merion Golf Club and Matthew Normand of Laurel Creek Country Club with par on the second playoff hole.

Both teams finished regulation at 6 under.

The Francis X. Hussey Memorial is a better-ball of partners event.

“It means a lot to win any tournament,” Larsen, 14, of Glenmoore, Pa., said. “I didn’t expect this at all considering we are only 14 and 15 years old. This field had kids who graduated high school and are going to play college golf. It proves we can hang with these older kids.”

“Winning is why you play the game,” Sako, 15, of Wynnewood, Pa., said. “There’s like 100 people playing in each of these and only one player or team can win. It’s a grind out here so it is important to keep focusing on hitting good shots and the results will come.”

They waited three hours before they hit their tee shots on the first playoff hole. They took two different tactics to kill time.

“I had a lunch ticket left so I made sure to use that,” Larsen, of Honeybrook Golf Club, said. “Other than that I wanted to relax, hit a few balls and putt. It was hot out so I wanted to save some energy.”

“I downed a few Coca-Colas and I was ready to go,” Sako, of McCall Golf Club, joked.

Larsen, who won the Junior-Junior Division of this event in 2021, kept hope alive on the first playoff hole (No. 1, par 4, 389 yards), with a savvy sand save that included a 10-footer for par. On the second playoff hole (No. 2, par 4, 404 yards), Sako saved par from over the green and once Normand missed a 3-footer to extend, they were holding the hardware.

“We make a good team because I am erratic and can birdie every hole and Seiji makes a ton of solid pars,” Larsen, a rising freshman at Downingtown West High School, said. “Seiji makes a lot of birdies too. We just find ways to get it done as a team.”

There won’t be much time for celebration for the duo. Both are competing in the Delaware Junior Championship Thursday and Friday at Maple Dale Country Club.

Both of the self-acclaimed golf junkies won’t have any issue with another early wake-up call.

Junior-Junior Division

The common expression “golf is a tale of two nines” is an appropriate utterance when a player seemingly scores well on one nine and not the other. Sometimes, the same sort of duality can occur in a single nine, just ask brothers Jackson and Gavin Lane of Riverton Country Club. On Wednesday, their efforts allowed them to capture the Francis X. Hussey Memorial’s Junior-Junior Division (par 36, 2,939 yards) prize with a team score of even-par 36 across the front nine. 

“We didn’t get off to the greatest start. I think [with the way Gavin] played the first four holes, we could have just taken his scores,” Jackson, of Cinnaminson, N.J., said. “On the last five [holes], he didn’t play his best and I started playing well.”

The pair carded bogeys on Nos. 2 (par 4, 380 yards) and 4 (par 4, 315 yards) to stand together at two-over par. 

It was time for Jackson to change the pace. 

On No. 5 (par 4, 318 yards), Jackson lifted a 52-degree wedge from 100 yards to 10 feet. He dropped the birdie putt to get the team back on track. On No. 7 (par 5, 449 yards), Jackson got the brotherly duo back to even-par when he two-putted for birdie after his 5-iron from 180 yards settled 20 feet from the hole. Thanks to Jackson, the Lanes played their second half of holes 2-under-par.

“It means a lot [to win] because I will be going into the [Junior] Division next year,” Jackson said. “I looked at the tees and they weren’t that much farther [than the ones we were playing]. I think we will have a chance [to win] next year since [Gavin] can play up.” 

Both boys attend Cinnaminson Middle School. Jackson (13) is headed into eighth grade and Gavin (11) will be in seventh.

Most times, golf is a tale of two nines. Sometimes, it’s a poem of one. 

NOTE: Ryan Quinn of Commonwealth National Golf Club made an ace on No. 6 (par 3, 170 yards). He used a 6-iron to make his first career hole-in-one.

Francis X. Hussey, the tournament’s namesake, was a Junior member at Rolling Green. He suffered from congenital heart disease and died in December 1983 while undergoing major heart surgery. He was 13 years old when he died. Francis was a student in the Haverford Township school system, an avid sports fan and an active Junior member at Rolling Green. His courage in the face of his illness was a great inspiration to all who knew him.

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.

Name, club
Junior DivisionScore
*Ian Larsen/Seiji Sako, Honeybrook Golf Club/McCall Golf Club65
*Nathan Guertler/Matthew Normand, Merion Golf Club/Laurel Creek Country Club65
Nolan Corcoran/Ian Natale, Philadelphia Junior Tour/Sunnybrook Golf Club67
Jack Homer/Win Thomas, Wilmington Country Club/USGA/GAP GC68
Colby Komancheck/Patrick Duda, RiverCrest GC & Preserve/Bellewood Country Club68
Paul Reilly/Keller Tannehill, Galloway National Golf Club/Atlantic City Country Club68
Matthew Homer/Jeffrey Homer, Wilmington Country Club69
Charles Feraco/Ryan Quinn, Commonwealth National Golf Club69
Grant Burkhart/Jackson Puskar, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club70
Conner Abel/Robert Munley, Glen Oak Country Club70
Liam Shearn/Jack Dare, McCall Golf Club/Riverton Country Club71
Ben Mayer/Nicolas Gaughan, Concord Country Club72
Connor Matteo/Christian Smith, Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club72
Christian Dawley/Declan McLane, Philadelphia Country Club/North Hills Country Club73
Kidder Urban/P.J. Duffy, Bellewood Country Club/Spring Ford Country Club73
Parker Zalis/Hunter Zalis, Rolling Green Golf Club74
Jack Gallagher/Sean Finnerty, Philadelphia Country Club74
Cole Berry/Lannon Boyd, Overbrook Golf Club75
Kristof Kopecky/Joey Ajalli, Wilmington Country Club/Unaffiliated75
Richie Biborosch/Sachin Blake, Aronimink Golf Club/White Manor Country Club75
Joe Ciconte/Jake Bryson, Wilmington Country Club/DuPont Country Club76
Guy Rothery/Benjamin Boyanoski, Huntsville Golf Club/Country Club of Scranton76
Gregory Kriz/Chase Andrews, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club78
David Nissen/Emmitt Armbrister, Philadelphia Cricket Club78
Caden Wistreich/Michael Green, Blue Bell Country Club/Cedarbrook Country Club78
Colin Drummond/James Lambe, GAP Youth on Course/Unaffiliated79
William Barlow/Trey Minter, Trenton Country Club80
Brady Knott/Leo Knott, Rolling Green Golf Club81
Brayden Holland/Devin Carpenter, Walnut Lane Golf Club82
Chris Dirita/Jason Dirita, The Springhaven Club83
Kieran Gillespie/Charlie Robinson, GAP Youth on Course86
Junior-Junior Division
Name, clubScore
Jackson Lane/Gavin Lane, Riverton Country Club36
Zachary Proud/Anthony Proud, Unaffiliated/GAP Youth on Course38
Henry Sokol/Jack Sokol, Green Valley Country Club40
William Quartermain/Joe McDonald, Llanerch Country Club/GAP Youth on Course40
Gray Biborosch/Logan Turner, Aronimink Golf Club/Unaffiliated40
William Thorkelson/Max Davis, Philadelphia Junior Tour/Gulph Mills Golf Club42
Geoffrey Cooper/Connor Croll, GAP Youth on Course/North Hills Country Club57
* – determined in a playoff

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