Philly Publinks' Kimbley crowned in 61st Tournament of Champions - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Oct 04, 2018

Philly Publinks’ Kimbley crowned in 61st Tournament of Champions

ELVERSON, Pa. — Unlike the event’s other 97 competitions, David Kimbley didn’t technically win a club championship to get into the Tournament of Champions field. Instead, he took home Philadelphia Publinks GA’s Player of the Year honor with 680 points, earning him the coveted bid.

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  That berth gave Kimbley the opportunity needed to fire a 1-under 70 in regulation Thursday at French Creek Golf Club (par 71, 6,368 yards). It also gave him the chance to eventually win the overall crown, bettering DuPont Country Club’s Matt Finger on the second playoff hole.

   “It means a lot. There are so many good players in this field with all these champions,” said Kimbley, 44, of Elverson, Pa. “It’s a great win for me.”

  The towering Kimbley, a long hitter with precision around the greens, made the turn at 1-over par before catching fire on French Creek’s back. He’d go on to birdie four of his final six holes – including a two-foot tap-in on No. 18 (par 4, 410 yards) – to take the clubhouse lead.

   “I got it going down the stretch there. The putts were just dropping,” he said.

  Finger would soon after match Kimbley’s card, meaning a playoff was in order to decide a champion of champions. With darkness threatening, the players stepped up to the tee box on No. 1 (par 4, 350 yards) with a sense of urgency. Finger’s drive rolled into the right rough, while Kimbley’s bomb found the center of the fairway. Both players took wedge on their approach shots, and landed, identically, just off the front of the green. Again, identical shots were played on the third try, leading to tap-in pars. The sudden-death scenario moved on to No. 2 (par 4, 452 yards).

  Rain made an unwelcome appearance there as both players lifted their tee shots into the air. Finger landed in position A in the center cut while Kimbley came up short and left in the thick, slick rough. The wet lie posed problems for Kimbley, leaving him with a punch 6-iron that “didn’t jump” and rolled back down into the fairway. Finger lifted his approach up and over the green, leaving a tough up-and-down chance from the rough. Kimbley’s 50-yard chip then checked up perfectly and nestled up to three feet. Finger played next, as his wedge shot caught the soaked fringe, resulting in zero roll out. Next came Finger’s par putt, which caught a fair share of the lip but failed to drop. Kimbley stepped up and jarred his three-foot 4 for the victory.

   “I do have some experience in playoffs, but I’d say my record in those is around two losses and three wins,” said Kimbley, who fell earlier this summer in a playoff, alongside teammate John Buliga, in the Four-Ball Stroke Play Championship at Cherry Valley Country Club. “Stepping up to that last three-footer for the win felt great. It was a solid left-to-right putt that hit dead center.”

Thomas Hyland

Senior Division
An adjustment on the greens gave Thomas Hyland the gusto needed to storm the event’s Senior (par 71, 6,034 yards) castle. He carded a 1-under-par 70 to edge Lehigh Country Club’s Thomas Soares, who notched an ace on the day, by two strokes.

   “I’ve been playing pretty well, but I’ve been putting kind of poorly. I had a rare good putting day today,” Hyland, 62, of Marlton, N.J., said. “I played in this team match type of event at Northampton (Country Club) on Tuesday, and the pro (Brent Wallace) came out after the round, looked at me and gave me a couple of putting ideas. I was mainly having trouble with my left-handed putting. I was playing it really far forward, and had my hands back. That was causing me to pull it. Brent definitely helped me.”

   Two putters and three styles distinguish Hyland from his compatriots.

   “For the long putts, I use a mid-length putter with a conventional long putter style. The hands split,” Hyland, a Little Mill Country Club member, said. “If I’m inside 25 feet, I’ll putt sidesaddle most of the time. If it’s a right-to-left putt and it’s fairly short, I’ll putt those with a left-handed putter.”

   Hyland’s putting performance started in style with a birdie on No. 10 (par 3, 128 yards), his first hole. He converted an 18-footer following a solid 8-iron. On the short par 4, 286-yard 15th hole, Hyland played a safe 4-iron off the tee before smacking a sand wedge 70 yards to four feet for birdie. He went back-to-back on Nos. 6 (par 5, 530 yards) and 7 (par 4, 353 yards) thanks to 7-iron set-ups from 130 yards. Hyland bagged both putts from inside five feet.

   Needless to say, a three-putt wasn’t to blame for his three bogeys on the day.

   Hyland’s victory marked his first individual GAP triumph since 2007, when he seized the Marston Cup at LedgeRock Golf Club. It also elevated the Little Mill Country Club member to fourth in the Senior Player of the Year standings.

   Icing on a delightful 2018 tournament cake for a humbled Hyland.

   “It’s nice to get a win anytime. I don’t expect many more,” he said.

Super-Senior Division
A pair of Super-Senior titles hung in the balance at French Creek (par 71, 5,704 yards): the tournament itself and a Player of the Year honor.

   White Manor Country Club’s Don Donatoni trailed Saucon Valley Country Club’s Robin McCool by 12 points entering the day. He made up the difference — and then some.

   Donatoni carded an even-par 71 to capture the Super-Senior crown and to catapult ahead of McCool in the standings. His victory returned 25 points, enough for a sixth straight POY designation.

   “Even though I knew my score today was going to be tough to beat, you don’t count your chickens,” Donatoni, 70, of Malvern, Pa., said. “I never got out of the moment out there. I really never thought about [the Player of the Year]. I just wanted to hang in there and do the best I could. I knew if I could win today, I’d have a chance. That’s all I was looking for. If it turns out I win my sixth in a row, nothing could be sweeter. I’d be thrilled.”

   He’s likely bouncing off the walls.

   Donatoni, who played in the morning alongside McCool and Spring Ford Country Club’s Steve Tagert, made the turn in 2 over. French Creek’s par 5s staged his only slip-ups: hazard greenside right on No. 4 (455 yards), a hack lie in the right fairway bunker on No. 6 (499 yards).

   “The golf course can be dangerous in spots,” Donatoni, who won the Tournament of Champions’ Senior title in 2010 and 2016, said. “I thought the greens had a lot of fire in them. You really had to be careful.”

   A clean back nine suggests that Donatoni used caution. On No. 14 (par 4, 338 yards), he hit a three-quarter wedge 124 yards to 20 feet for birdie and a six-shot lead over McCool. Donatoni closed his TOC and POY case with an emphatic birdie on No. 17 (par 3, 168 yards) green, where he delivered a 4-hybrid to 25 feet below the flagstick.

   He and McCool traded smiles and respective congratulations as they walked off the No. 18 (par 4, 373 yards) green.

   “I didn’t play very well today, so I’m rather disappointed with respect to that,” McCool, 67, of Center Valley, Pa., said. “I got a chance to watch some really good golf. Don played beautifully. He had a great season, and I did too. I’m disappointed to end it with a bad round.”

   “Robin’s had a heck of a season. He’s such a great competitor,” Donatoni said. “I know he had a [points] lead on me coming into today. I figured today was an important day to perform well and do my best.”

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 260 Member Clubs and 75,000 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.

Championship Division
Name, club Score
*David Kimbley, Philadelphia Publinks GA 70
Matthew Finger, DuPont Country Club 70
David Mecca, Glenmaura National Golf Club 71
Matt Kocent, Philadelphia Cricket Club 71
Dwight Diorio, Rolling Green Golf Club 71
Richard Stolz, Merchantville Country Club 71
John Samaha, Old York Road Country Club 72
Kyle Henofer, Indian Valley Country Club 73
Troy Vannucci, Little Mill Country Club 73
Brandon Raihl, Hartefeld National 73
Mike Korcuba, Medford Village Country Club 73
Akhil Giri, Laurel Creek Country Club 73
Ryan McCabe, The Springhaven Club 74
Peter Moran, Whitford Country Club 75
Corey Gee, The ACE Club 75
Blake Hinckley, Wilmington Country Club 75
Bill Burke, Sea Oaks Golf Club 76
Stephen Barry, Running Deer Golf Club 76
Peter Barron, Stone Harbor Golf Club 77
C.J. Bell, McCall Golf & Country Club 77
Bryan Keeling, Spring Mill Country Club 78
A.J. Donatoni, Fox Hill Country Club 79
Eric Montella, Glen Oak Country Club 80
Kyle Ginty, Talamore Country Club 81
Gerard Rosato, The 1912 Club 81
Cory Meyer, Philmont Country Club 82
E.J. Legarda, Woodcrest Country Club 84
Brandon Capone, Mercer Oaks Golf Course 84
Luis Diaz, Rancocas Golf Club 85
Robert Oswald, Skippack Golf Club at Evansburg State Park 87
Paul Stuhlmiller, Golf Course at Glen Mills 88
Andrew Wallace, Green Valley Country Club 89
Zachary Morganti, White Oaks Country Club 94
Vince D’Ginto, Limekiln Golf Club 94
Sean Carlin, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club WD
Luke Liddell, Union League Golf Club at Torresdale WD
Arabinda Behura, Eagle Rock Golf & Resort WD
Senior Division
Name, club Score
Thomas Hyland, Moselem Springs Golf Club 70
Thomas Soares, Lehigh Country Club 72
Brian Rothaus, Philmont Country Club 73
Chris Smedley, Hartefeld National 74
Gregory Buliga, Yardley Country Club 75
Jon Lavin, Rolling Green Golf Club 75
Raymond Thompson, Overbrook Golf Club 75
Rich Thon, The Springhaven Club 77
Brian Exton, Brookside CC of Allentown 80
Mike Cavanaugh, Jericho National Golf Club 80
Michael Montella, Glen Oak Country Club 80
Robert Gill, Fox Hill Country Club 80
Charles Dowds, Applebrook Golf Club 81
Byron Whitman, Berkshire Country Club 81
Rick Barry, Cobbs Creek Golf Club 81
Dale Owens, French Creek Golf Club 83
Alan Brody, Radnor Valley Country Club 83
J.B. Whaley, Sakima Country Club 83
Mike Woods, Sea Oaks Golf Club 83
Harold Schweitzer, Jr., Broad Run Golfer’s Club 84
Bill Moyer, Spring Ford Country Club 85
Guy McKeone, Reading Country Club 85
Dewey Bookholdt, Old York Road Country Club 85
Edward Enoch, Old York Road Country Club 86
Scott Schaffer, Woodcrest Country Club 87
Peter Mellone, Loch Nairn Golf Club 89
David Gibbons, Stonewall 89
Bruce Losse, Limekiln Golf Club 91
Lou Trovato, Talamore Country Club 92
Keith Wilson, Bensalem Township Country Club WD
Steven Walczak, Wilmington Country Club WD
Mark Ellinger, Whitford Country Club WD
Super-Senior Division
Name, club Score
Don Donatoni, White Manor Country Club 71
James Prendergast, Spring Ford Country Club 75
Andy Donaldson, French Creek Golf Club 75
Steve Tagert, Spring Ford Country Club 77
Dave Jacobson, Medford Village Country Club 78
Willard Woolbert, Philadelphia Cricket Club 80
Robin McCool, Saucon Valley Country Club 80
Howard Press, Little Mill Country Club 81
John Turner, The Springhaven Club 83
James Baird, Chambersburg Country Club 83
Richard Toledo, Sea Oaks Golf Club 83
David Swiderski, Merchantville Country Club 85
Keith Malcolm, Brookside CC of Allentown 85
Norman Linker, Old York Road Country Club 86
Frederick Christie, Loch Nairn Golf Club 87
Tyrone Burtner, Coatesville Country Club 87
Bruce Gladish, Sandy Run Country Club 87
David Zerby, Woodstone Country Club 87
Roger Kadis, Broad Run Golfer’s Club 88
Spencer Ring, West Chester Golf & Country Club 88
Brian Linn, Talamore Country Club 89
Phil Dickerson, Inniscrone Golf Club 91
Stephen Brennan, Old York Road Country Club 91
Jeff Crumling, Heritage Hills Golf Resort 92
Michael Weber, Carlisle Country Club 92
Ed Kocher, LedgeRock Golf Club 93
Lee Gerstenfeld, McCall Golf & Country Club 96
William Stewart, Mercer Oaks Golf Course DQ
Glenn Miller, Jr., Steel Club WD
* — won in playoff; DQ — disqualification; WD — withdrawal

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