87th Warner Cup (Gross): Senior Division - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

May 03, 2021

87th Warner Cup (Gross): Senior Division

Lebanon’s Kliewer prevails in playoff

WALLINGFORD, Pa.–Perseverance is Craig Kliewer’s most prized value on the golf course.

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It, coincidentally, unearthed his grandest GAP prize on the Senior circuit Monday.

Kliewer, a Lebanon Country Club member, defeated Tavistock Country Club’s Bill McGuinness in a sudden-death playoff to capture the 87th Francis B. Warner Cup (Gross) at The Springhaven Club (par 70, 6,360 yards). Both finished tied atop the Senior Division leaderboard at 1-over-par 71.

“Like I always do, just grind, grind, grind. I never give up,” Kliewer, 61, of Ephrata, Pa., said. “I persevered. That’s just what I do. Do my best and see what happens.”

In the sudden-death session, Kliewer caught “a lucky break” when his 4-wood flirted with left tree-line on No. 8 (par 5, 542 yards), the second playoff hole. It bounced off the bark and into the middle of the fairway. That same treescape dealt McGuinness a bust instead of Kliewer’s blackjack.

“My old guy swing took over on the second shot in the playoff,” McGuinness, 61, of Haddonfield, N.J., said. “I just tried to hit a 6-iron. The lie was thick, and the rains made it thicker. I didn’t hit it very well. Then I got behind those trees [on the left side of the fairway]. It was a mess. I could’ve hit a better third shot, but I didn’t.”

Facing a yardage of 130 for his fourth shot, McGuinness attempted to land a wedge on the upslope short of the putting surface. He, however, missed his spot and watched his golf ball race to the rough. Kliewer lifted a 50-degree wedge 94 yards to 15 feet. Two putts later, a trophy in hand.

“[To win is] totally unexpected because I had not been playing good golf all spring,” Kliewer, who holds three Father & Son titles alongside Alan to his GAP credit, said. “I played a good round yesterday [in the BMW GAP Team Matches], but really wasn’t doing anything well: driving, chipping, putting, irons. Yesterday I started to put it together, so I had a little confidence coming into today. Not a whole lot.”

Kliewer’s confidence skyrocketed after what unfolded on No. 15 (par 4, 372 yards). His 7-iron from 159 yards found the bottom of the cup for an eagle.

“Obviously, it was fun to watch that go in,” Kliewer said. “I was 3 over [at that point] and then I’m like, ‘OK. Now I’m 1 over. Then I make birdie on the next hole and it’s like, ‘Now I’m in the game.’”

On the aforementioned 16th hole (par 3, 160 yards), Kliewer, playing in the afternoon wave, hit a 6-iron to 15 feet and buried the ensuing downhill slider. A bogey on No. 18 (par 4, 378 yards) caused an unsettled clubhouse lead. Kliewer, lacking complete trust in his driver, laid back with a 4-wood off the tee. He then committed his “worst iron swing of the day” – a 6-iron from 170 yards that plummeted into the front bunker. Kliewer failed to get up-and-down.

On the other side of the golf course, McGuinness, who started on the back nine, approached No. 9 (par 3, 172 yards) tee at even par. Like Kliewer, he encountered an untimely “terrible swing” – a rushed 7-iron that flew the putting surface. McGuinness missed a 15-footer to save par, thereby forcing a deadlock.

“I haven’t been playing that well, so it was a good day,” McGuinness, the 1996 Philadelphia Amateur Champion, said. “This is a tight course. If you’re not hitting your drives right, then you’re going to have a tough day. I’ve played here a lot over the years.”

Monday, ironically, marked Kliewer’s Springhaven baptism.

“My buddy [two-time reigning GAP Senior Amateur champion] Chris Fieger gave me a couple of tips because he grew up here,” Kliewer said. “[I wanted] just a good showing. Golf is a fickle game. I could’ve gone out and shot 80 today, but I managed to keep it around. It all came together. Who would’ve thunk it?”

A humbled Kliewer doesn’t cogitate about Senior leaderboards. He doesn’t want to know how his peers fare as a tournament progresses. He wants to go out and play his perseverance game, and to connect with his Senior compatriots along the way.  

“I said to Oscar [Mestre, 2019 GAP Senior Player of the Year] that I just wanted to be able to fit in with you guys. I didn’t mean by winning. I just meant the camaraderie,” Kliewer said. “I didn’t grow up and play a lot of golf in the Philadelphia area. I’m learning about all of these guys. It’s just neat to come out and compete with them.”

The student became the teacher Monday.

Francis B. Warner of Philadelphia Cricket Club served as GAP secretary-treasurer for 18 years. After his death in 1933, the Association started the Francis B. Warner Cup as an ongoing tribute in his memory. It is the first Senior Major of the GAP tournament season.

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.

Name, clubScore
*Craig Kliewer, Lebanon Country Club71
Bill McGuinness, Tavistock Country Club71
Oscar Mestre, Overbrook Golf Club72
John Nottage, Commonwealth National Golf Club72
Michael Anderson, Philadelphia Cricket Club73
Patrick Dougherty, Philadelphia Cricket Club73
Paul Rogowicz, Yardley Country Club73
P. Chet Walsh, Philadelphia Country Club73
Gregory Buliga, Yardley Country Club74
Don Dimoff, Bon Air Country Club74
Robert Harrington, Merion Golf Club74
Paul Hess, Hartefeld National74
Dennis Konczyk, Union League Golf Club at Torresdale74
John Alterman, Commonwealth National Golf Club75
Todd Anderson, Wilmington Country Club75
Tom Finn, DuPont Country Club75
Michael Tash, Stone Harbor Golf Club75
Ron Weaver, Bent Creek Country Club75
Jim Arsenault, Medford Lakes Country Club76
Jim Lehman, Merion Golf Club76
Rand Mendez, Fieldstone Golf Club76
Gary Smith, Pine Valley Golf Club76
Tom Soares, Lehigh Country Club76
Greg Blackburn, Honeybrook Golf Club77
Doug Fedoryshyn, Concord Country Club77
Jeff Frazier, Carlisle Country Club77
Jim Gavaghan, Commonwealth National Golf Club77
Jeff Hudson, Olde Homestead Golf Club77
Edward Kelly, Old York Road Country Club77
Jon Lavin, Rolling Green Golf Club77
Patrick O’Brien, North Hills Country Club77
Ken Phillips, Lancaster Country Club77
Joe Roeder, Merion Golf Club77
George Steinmetz, Spring Ford Country Club77
Brian Trymbiski, Doylestown Country Club77
Michael Vassil, Country Club of Scranton77
Steve Walczak, Wilmington Country Club77
David Blichar, Olde Homestead Golf Club78
Brian Corbett, Country Club of Scranton78
Michael Decker, Old York CC at Chesterfield78
Gene Flanagan, DuPont Country Club78
Matthew Kohn, White Clay Creek Country Club78
Joseph Russo, Running Deer Golf Club78
Robert Schubach, Wedgewood Golf Club78
Glenn Smeraglio, LuLu Country Club78
Alan Wagenschnur, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association78
Bob Beck, Lehigh Country Club79
J.R. Cattoni, Huntsville Golf Club79
Christopher Clauson, LuLu Country Club79
Mark Cubberley, Mercer Oaks Golf Course79
Ronan Culligan, Saucon Valley Country Club79
Jay DesJardins, Waynesborough Country Club79
John Gosselin, Aronimink Golf Club79
Brad Jankowski, Little Mill Country Club79
Matthew Mingione, The 1912 Club79
David Strohl, Olde Homestead Golf Club79
Mark Walkush, Sunnybrook Golf Club79
David West, Wyncote Golf Club79
Byron Whitman, Berkshire Country Club79
Kenneth Bolcavage, Elkview Country Club80
Doug Cornforth, Loch Nairn Golf Club80
Frank Corrado, LuLu Country Club80
Andy Dietz, Laurel Creek Country Club80
Robert Dorsey, Medford Lakes Country Club80
Jack Helms, Rolling Green Golf Club80
Rob Hill, Paxon Hollow Country Club80
Kirk Larsen, St. Davids Golf Club80
Andy Lykon, Wedgewood Golf Club80
Carlos Ochoa, Little Mill Country Club80
John Puskar, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club80
Kevin Wall, Old York Road Country Club80
James Bell, III, Makefield Highlands Golf Club81
Denis Darragh, Olde Homestead Golf Club81
Stephen McIntyre, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association81
Greg Mitchell, Fieldstone Golf Club81
Joe Owsik, Hershey’s Mill Golf Club81
Mike Shevlin, LuLu Country Club81
Paul Berg, The Springhaven Club82
John Conway, Little Mill Country Club82
Marlin Detweiler, Lancaster Country Club82
Robert Frankil, Bellewood Country Club82
Julio Quinones, Blue Bell Country Club82
Don Uhrig, LedgeRock Golf Club82
Ed Kahn, Little Mill Country Club83
J. Kirk Luntey, Merion Golf Club83
Kevin Sartell, Loch Nairn Golf Club83
Jon Stein, McCall Golf Club83
Nicholas Angiulo, Deerwood Country Club84
Dwight D’iorio, Rolling Green Golf Club84
Joe Duhack, LuLu Country Club84
John Ward, Greate Bay Country Club84
Gregory Day, Old York Road Country Club85
Mike Gregor, Huntingdon Valley Country Club85
Rick James, Doylestown Country Club85
Jeffrey Pelesh, Rolling Green Golf Club85
John Mullins, Bellewood Country Club86
Paul Dansbury, Yardley Country Club88
Michael Quinn, Philadelphia Publinks Golf AssociationDQ
John Robinson, LuLu Country ClubWD
* – won in sudden-death playoff
DQ – disqualification; WD – withdrawal

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