Super Seven: Wyoming Valley wins again
Reference the 70th AGA/GAP Men’s Coal Scuttle Championship recap before reading.
All caught up? Good. Just like the extra point Wyoming Valley Country Club kicked on Sept. 27.
The 125-year-old venue secured its seventh straight AGA/GAP Men’s Coal Scuttle Championship Sunday. Wyoming Valley issued an emphatic 14-stroke victory over closest chaser Huntsville Golf Club. Eric Plisko, a four-time Wyoming Valley men’s champion, earned individual medalist honors with a 1-over-par 143.
The event’s 71st edition opened at Glenmaura National Golf Club (par 71, 6,512 yards) on Sept. 26 and closed at Wyoming Valley (par 71, 6,178 yards). The low four of five scores count toward the team total.
Wyoming Valley’s Bob Shoemaker shared runner-up honors with Huntsville’s Tyler McGarry at 2-over-par 144. Art Brunn (154), Peter Blasi, Jr. (156) and John Olszewski (157) rounded out Wyoming Valley team.
“It’s awesome. I’m kind of speechless,” Plisko, 35, of Hanover Township, Pa., said. “To keep that big claret jug we have in the grill room for another year is pretty special.”
“We were all rooting each other on,” Brunn, 55, of Hanover Township, Pa., added. “The mindset is for us to go out and play our game. Everybody knows these golf courses. It’s one of those things where we know we’re going to have to play well if we’re going to win.”
Wyoming Valley stood tied with Huntsville atop the Scuttle leaderboard after Day One. Persistent wind gusts and challenging hole locations left little room for separation at Glenmaura National.
A return home for Wyoming Valley the following day … just to race out in front. Collectively, Wyoming Valley opened the final round at 1 under through nine holes. Plisko, for his part, birdied Nos. 6 (par 4, 356 yards), 8 (par 4, 362 yards) and 9 (par 4, 391 yards). A booming drive on No. 6 afforded Plisko a yardage of 65.
“The ball kind of jumped out of the rough on me. You don’t want to go above that pin. It’s a tough putt,” Plisko said of his approach. “Tyler McGarry was putting from the same spot just above where I was. I kind of got a good read off of him. I thought it’d be pretty quick. He hit his soft and left it four feet short. I thought, ‘I have to hit this harder than normal.’ I made a nice 10-foot curler there.”
Plisko followed a 25-footer for birdie on No. 8 with a well-executed shot sequence on No. 9. Given the green complex and hole location, he hit a three-quarter pitching wedge from 120 yards to 10 feet. Backspin avoided, birdie attained.
“If I can get through the front nine at Wyoming Valley in even par or better, then I’m going to shoot a good score,” Plisko said. “I felt good. I tried to tell myself to keep hitting quality shots. We were in good shape as a team. Obviously in this tournament it’s the team first. If you’re playing well individually, that’s going to take care of itself for the team.”
Plisko, who also earned individual medalist honors in the 2019 Scuttle, is thrilled to just be a part of said team. Wyoming Valley, which celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, is a place where the AGA/GAP Men’s Coal Scuttle is celebrated, regardless of outcome.
“We have a great camaraderie of guys at our club. We all take it seriously,” Plisko said. “It’s an honor just to make the Wyoming Valley team. Everyone wants to play and have that opportunity. On the schedule, it’s our big championship at the end of the year. To get the W is icing on the cake.”
By virtue of its victory, Wyoming Valley will again serve as a Men’s Coal Scuttle host site in 2022.
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 300 Member Clubs and 80,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.