July 10, 2018
SPRING HOUSE, Pa.- Ken Phillips holds many administrative titles in the amateur golf world, both on the state and regional levels.
This week, after reaching the Brewer Cup Semifinals for the second time, he’s looking to don a different type of title, this time on his bag, as a Golf Association of Philadelphia Senior Major Champion. His standout performance Tuesday in the Round of 16 and Quarterfinals at Old York Road Country Club (par 71, 6,387 yards) showed how badly he wants that playing addition.
Phillips’ electric, elbow-y swing didn’t seem right to begin the day. The long commute from his hometown of Lancaster, Pa. may have caused a slow start in the Round of 16 as Phillips went 3 down after four holes, the result of three bogeys, to Tavistock Country Club’s Bob Arthur. He ultimately stormed back in impressive fashion to win that match, 2&1.
“I think I realized I needed to turn it on after that. Those first few holes were rough and I was slow moving to start, but then something clicked,” said Phillips, the No. 9 seed.
That ignition earned Phillips a matchup with No. 16 seed Doug Fedoryshyn of Concord Country Club, who closed out stroke-play medalist and No. 1 seeded Glenn Smeraglio of Lu Lu Country Club with a two-putt par on No. 18 (par 4, 385 yards) to earn the Quarterfinal berth. That cinderella story was short lived, however, as Fedoryshyn went on to fall in the Quarters to Phillips, 5&4.
Phillips utilized a 1-under front-nine score of 35, including a chip-in birdie from 20 feet on No. 8 (par 4, 328 yards), to take a 5-up edge on Fedoryshyn at the turn. Although he’d lose one with a bogey on No. 13 (par 4, 408 yards), Phillips two putted for par on the par 3, 154-yard 14th hole to close things out.
“It’s one of the best rounds I’ve played in a long time,” said Phillips. “1-under par through 14 holes, for me, is a great score and it got the job done.”
Phillips is back in the Semifinals after having reached that point in the 2016 Brewer at Overbrook Golf Club. He fell to that year’s eventual champion, Lehigh Country Club’s Bob Beck, 2&1. He’ll get another chance to breakthrough Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. vs. Wilmington Country Club’s Steven Walczak.
On the other side of things, another intriguing matchup awaits. Ray Thompson, a Senior stalwart who plays out of Overbrook, matches up against LedgeRock Golf Club’s Chip Lutz, the reigning Senior Player of the Year. Lutz has won that honor seven years straight.
“You take a look at this bracket, and it’s just an honor to even have made the Round of 16. You’ve got guys like Glenn [Smeraglio] who is out here firing 68. Then you’ve got Chip Lutz, who is one of the best Seniors ever to play the game. Add in guys like Ray Thompson, and the rest of them, and the talent level speaks for itself.”
“I’m excited to have gotten here. It’s incredible how many talented players we have in this region,” said Walczak, 61, of Greenville, Del. “I think the amount of talent here is a culmination of many things: a combination of great players, great courses and a great golf Association. We’ve grown up on these amazing golf courses and we have had to learn how to play them well.”
Walczak, the 2015 Senior Amateur Champion at Union League GC at Torresdale, is hoping to get back into the prestigious GAP winner’s circle he’s grown fond of. The Semis, and possibly the Finals, will be another battle either way, he says.
“You could say my game is hot right now. I played extremely well this morning, and then had a pillow fight out here with [Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Greg Guyer] in the afternoon, so I’m prepared for anything,” said Walczak.
With so many titles to uphold, Phillips’ concentration won’t be solely focused on the match versus his competitor tomorrow. In the back of his mind, he’s thinking about running concurrent championships. The R. Jay Sigel Match Play Championship, the PAGA’s premier match play event, is being held at Schuylkill Country Club on identical dates as the Brewer Cup.
“[PAGA Executive Director] Cory Reighard and those guys are going to be mad at me for not being able to show up for tomorrow’s final Sigel round,” said a laughing Phillips. “I told them I would be there, but then Cory said, ‘No you won’t. You’re going to win your match!’ so here I am. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
Teeing off immediately after the Senior Round-of-16 action in the morning, the Super-Seniors got to work on their Quarterfinal showdowns.
Lookaway Golf Club’s Thomas Mallouk pulled off the biggest upset of the day when he took down No. 1 seed Robin McCool, who fired a 1-under 70 to win Monday’s medal. Mallouk, the No. 8 seed, defeated McCool, 2&1, to advance to the Semifinals.
“The first hole was sort of like a hologram of the whole match. Robin missed a four-footer and I made mine from eight feet [for the win]. That’s kind of how the match went – he wasn’t getting the close looks to fall,” said Mallouk. “I think that may have hurt his confidence a bit after playing so well yesterday.”
Mallouk took a 3-up advantage after 13 holes. Then McCool stepped on the gas, winning No. 14 (par 3, 134 yards) with a birdie and 15 (par 5, 497 yards) with a par after consecutive Mallouk bogeys. Realizing the need to close the match before Old York Road’s finisher, Mallouk did so with a greenside chip that won him the match. That shot rolled inches away from the cup before McCool failed to get up-and-down from the sand.
“I hit some tremendous clutch shots today, that being one. They seemed to come at the right time when I needed them,” said Mallouk.
In his first year of qualifying for match play, Mallouk is now set to face Ed Chylinski of Chester Valley Golf Club in tomorrow’s Semifinals.
“I have confidence in my own game. There’s nobody out here that I can’t beat. I think I can beat anyone on any given day,” he said. “I was a better golfer than Robin today, but I know he’s a better overall player than me. That’s match play. I’m really proud of myself.”
On the other side of the bracket, four-time Brewer Cup winner and four-time consecutive Super-Senior Player of the Year Don Donatoni of White Manor Country Club will square off against reigning Super-Senior Silver Cross winner Buck Jones of Philadelphia Publinks GA. Donatoni defeated Joe Cordaro of Saucon Valley Country Club, 5&3, to advance while Jones bettered Thomas Humphrey of Wilmington Country Club on the first playoff hole to move on.
Super-Senior Semifinal play begins Wednesday at 8:15 a.m. following the Senior matches teeing off.
The Brewer Cup is named in honor of O. Gordon Brewer, Jr., the former president of Pine Valley Golf Club. He is a two-time U.S. Senior Amateur Champion and veteran of 42 USGA Championships. He’s captured two Golf Association of Philadelphia Amateur Championship titles (1967, 1976), a GAP Senior Amateur Championship crown (1997) and a Senior Player of the Year (1997) as well as countless invitational titles. Seven years ago he was recognized for his contributions to the game with the USGA’s Bob Jones Award.
9. Ken Phillips, Lancaster CC d. 16. Doug Fedoryshyn, Concord CC, 5&4
4. Steven Walczak, Wilmington CC d. 5. Greg Guyer, Ph.D., Philadelphia Cricket, 1 up
2. Raymond Thompson, Overbrook GC d. 7. John Alterman, Commonwealth National GC, 2&1
3. Chip Lutz, LedgeRock GC d. 6. Oscar Mestre, Overbrook GC, 4&3
Senior Round of 16
16. Doug Fedoryshyn, Concord CC d. 1. Glenn Smeraglio, Lu Lu CC, 1 up
9. Ken Phillips, Lancaster CC d. 8. Bob Arthur, Tavistock CC, 2&1
4. Steven Walczak, Wilmington CC d. 13. Frank Corrado, Jr., Lu Lu CC, 5&4
5. Greg Guyer, Ph.D., Philadelphia Cricket, d. 12. Christopher Clauson, Lu Lu CC, 3&1
2. Raymond Thompson, Overbrook GC d. 15. David West, Philadelphia Publinks GA, 6&5
7. John Alterman, Commonwealth National GC d. 10. John Donnelly, Concord CC, 3&2
3. Chip Lutz, LedgeRock GC d. 14. Brian Rothaus, Philmont CC, 2&1
6. Oscar Mestre, Overbrook GC d. 11. Bob Beck, Lehigh CC, 19 holes
8. Thomas Mallouk, Lookaway GC d. 1. Robin McCool, Saucon Valley CC, 2&1
4. Ed Chylinski, Chester Valley GC d. 5. Frank Polizzi, Whitemarsh CC, 3&2
2. Don Donatoni, White Manor CC d. 7. Joe Cordaro, Saucon Valley CC, 5&3
6. Buck Jones, Philadelphia Publinks GA d. 3. Thomas Humphrey, Wilmington CC, 19 holes
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.