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Brookside’s Custer, Lookaway’s Majczan take Senior 27-Hole Challenge

WAYNE, Pa. — The team of Richard Custer of Brookside CC and Bob Majczan of Lookaway GC upended defending champions Francis McFadden of Overbrook GC and Terrence Sawyer of Mercer Oaks GC in a playoff to take Monday’s Senior 27-Hole Challenge at St. Davids GC (par 70, 6,290 yards).

  “It’s a great win,” Custer, 57, of Royersford, Pa., said. “Anytime you beat two guys like that who have a great record in the Golf Association of Philadelphia is sweet.”

  “It feels great,” Majczan, 59, of Furlong, Pa., said. “It’s my first opportunity to win a GAP event. Take a look at the [U.S.] Senior Amateur and look at all the success that the GAP guys are having. It’s tough competition here, so it feels great to win.”

  Both squads endured the 27-hole test with 2-over-par 142s to the vest, prompting a sudden-death scenario featuring a select drive/alternate shot format. Custer and McFadden both launched their drives into the center of the No. 1 (par 4, 383 yards) fairway. Majczan played his shot first and drilled a 6-iron 155 yards to nine feet flagstick-high right. Sawyer chopped an 8-iron from 143 yards into a row of shrubs bordering a boundary fence. McFadden returned to the original location following a short search for Sawyer’s golf ball, which was determined to be lost. McFadden’s approach caught the left greenside bunker. Sawyer splashed out to 12 feet. Custer then made it official by draining a right-to-left curler for birdie.

  “I’m sorry they had the pitfalls they did on the first hole,” Custer said. “I would have rather won outright.”

  In regulation, the Custer and Majczan team crafted a comfortable cushion early and exerted damage control late to post a contending number.

  “We play a lot of golf together, and we’ve played in this kind of format together before,” Custer said. “I hit it short but I hit it in the fairway. He’s a bomber. I let him go for it.”

  “We don’t let too many things bother us,” Majczan said. “I had a bad patch on the last nine holes, but I got back on the horse.”

  The team opened with two birdies and a bogey in the better-ball portion of the event. On No. 4 (par 4, 355 yards), Custer canned a 15-footer for birdie following a smooth 150-yard 7-iron shot. The duo weathered a slight stumble on No. 7 (par 4, 417 yards). Custer couldn’t muster his approach onto the green while Majczan flew the putting surface with a 6-iron from 155 yards. On the uphill No. 8 (par 5, 490 yards), Custer drilled a gap wedge 85 yards to six feet below the hole and rolled in the birdie putt.

  With a 1 under on the scorecard thru nine, the Custer and Majczan team turned up the volume in the select drive/alternate shot format. Custer drilled a 7-iron 150 yards to four feet on No. 13 (par 4, 384 yards), and Majczan cleaned up the birdie putt. Majczan returned the red figure favor by sticking a 6-iron to four feet on No. 17 (par 3, 154 yards).

  Fueled by adrenaline and encouraged by its ongoing rhythm, the Custer and Majczan team forewent lunch and attacked the event’s final portion. The decision didn’t seem fortuitous at first. Custer steered his drive into the right rough on No. 1 (par 4, 383 yards) He failed to reach the green in regulation and three-putted to card a double bogey. Majczan, too, faced adversity on the final stretch. He bogeyed No. 3 (par 4, 343 yards) after snapping his drive behind a tree. A poor drive on No. 4 (par 4, 355 yards) left Majczan in the left bunker. He blasted out to 40 feet and three-putted for double bogey. A three-putt on No. 5 (par 4, 386 yards) from Custer and a shaky 9-iron on No. 6 (par 3, 147 yards) from Majczan dashed the duo’s championship hopes. Custer, though, didn’t think twice as he fired back-to-back birdies on Nos. 8 (par 5, 490 yards) and 9 (par 3, 218 yards). On the first, he televised a replay from the better-ball portion by again hitting a gap wedge 85 yards, this time to four feet above the hole.

  Custer’s 9-wood tee shot on No. 9 settled 20 yards shy of the green. His ensuing chip made impact just past the fringe and tracked into the jar for a jovial 2.

  “I was just trying to get it close,” Custer said. “I chipped great all day. It was dead center. It never left the flag.”

  Custer and Majczan have known each other for five years. The last time the two paired up to compete in a tournament was 2008. Custer and Majczan joined forces to tackle a Winter Series event at Jericho National. They won.

  “So we said let’s get it together again and give it a shot,” Majczan said.

  A slow start in regulation threatened the McFadden and Sawyer squad’s repeat dreams. McFadden dumped his approach into the right bunker on No. 2 (par 4, 436 yards) and failed to get up-and-down. A Sawyer three-putt thrust the duo into a 2 over setting after two holes. Bunker and tree trouble on No. 7 (par 4, 417 yards) resulted in a bogey and complicated the quest.

  At the snap of a finger, the defending champions showed their championship grit.

  McFadden, 61, of Newtown Square, Pa., whacked a wedge to eight feet on the downhill par 5, 526-yard 11th hole, and Sawyer executed the birdie putt. McFadden again left Sawyer with a shiny eight-footer on No. 16 (par 5, 492 yards) after a fantastic 40-yard approach. Sawyer, 63, of Yardley, Pa., stuffed a sand wedge 73 yards to three feet on No. 18 (par 4, 382 yards). McFadden converted the kick-in birdie.

  The McFadden and Sawyer squad maintained its torrid pace in the aggregate leg of the event. Consecutive birdies on Nos. 1 (par 4, 383 yards) and 2 (par 4, 436 yards) moved the duo into red figures. McFadden sent a wedge 115 yards to 12 feet on the first, and a 9-iron 142 yards to 20 feet on the latter. Sawyer drilled a 9-iron 137 yards to 20 feet on No. 4 (par 4, 355 yards) for birdie. Both McFadden and Sawyer bogeyed No. 5 (par 4, 386 yards), but McFadden recovered that stroke by sinking an eight-footer for birdie on No. 6 (par 3, 147 yards). A collective slip-up on No. 7 put the McFadden and Sawyer squad at 1 over with two holes to play. Sawyer missed a 10-footer to save par on No. 9 (par 3, 218 yards) after coming up short of the green.

  Super-Senior

  Pine Valley GC’s O. Gordon Brewer, Jr. and Robert Housen successfully defended their Super Senior Division title. The team carded a 2-over-par 142 to post a six-stroke victory.

 “I enjoy playing golf with him tremendously,” Brewer, 74, of Pine Valley, N.J. said. “He is a great player.”

  “He played the last nine holes wonderfully,” Housen, 73, of Brielle, N.J., added. “He shot a 34 on the last nine. That’s incredible.”

  The Brewer and Housen team posted three birdies against a bogey in the better-ball portion. The duo’s highlight of the day came in the select drive/alternate shot format. Brewer nearly aced the par 3, 153-yard 14th hole with a 7-iron. Housen handled the four-footer for birdie.

  “It was interesting because I made my first hole-in-one there in the mid 1960s,” Brewer said.

  “The first hole-in-one he ever made and he goes up there and hits the flag,” Housen added.

  The Senior 27-Hole Challenge replaced the Senior Net Championship on the tournament schedule in 2008. An event for players 55 years of age and older, the Senior 27-Hole Challenge is a gross event consisting of three nine-hole stipulated rounds in three different formats: better-ball of partners, selective drive — alternate shot and aggregate. The tournament is open to seniors with a USGA Handicap Index of 7.0 or lower. Super-Seniors must have a USGA Handicap Index of 12.0 or less.

Senior Division results
Name Club Rd. 1 Rd. 2 Rd. 3 Total
*Majczan, Bob / Custer, Richard Lookaway GC/Brookside CC 34 37 75 142
McFadden, Francis / Sawyer, Terrence Overbrook GC/Mercer Oaks GC 38 33 71 142
Jones, Charles / Nilon, Michael Blue Bell CC/Philadelphia CC 34 37 74 145
Roatche, Alan / Smith, David Doylestown Country Club 34 36 76 146
Scott, Craig / Rose, Michael Huntingdon Valley CC/Meadowlands CC 34 37 76 147
Donatoni, Don / Everett, Carl White Manor CC/Merion GC 36 36 75 147
Jones, Fred / Charpak, Bill Merion Golf Club 34 36 78 148
Prendergast, James / Major, Joseph Philadelphia Publinks GA/Brookside CC 35 39 75 149
Daniels, Gary / Dowds, III, Charles Aronimink GC/Applebrook GC 35 36 79 150
Metaxas, Mark / Speranza, Richard Jericho National Golf Club 37 38 77 152
Simmons, Tim / Gonsior, John Limekiln Golf Club 38 38 79 155
Emmel, Jr., John / DiCinti, Tom Back Creek GC/Links GC 38 39 78 155
Ashley, Donald / Smith, Richard Philadelphia Country Club 38 37 80 155
Roberts, Edward / Yost, Vince Manufacturers G&CC/Cedarbrook CC 36 40 80 156
Rooney, Jerry / Miklinevich, Mike Greate Bay Country Club 38 41 85 164
Super-Senior Division results
Name Club Rd. 1 Rd. 2 Rd. 3 Total
Brewer, Jr., O. Gordon / Housen, Robert Pine Valley Golf Club 33 33 76 142
Gaskill, Ken / Gealt, Malcolm Rancocas GC/Philadelphia Publinks GA 35 39 74 148
Knox, King / Sherratt, James Lancaster CC/Philadelphia Publinks GA 35 33 85 153
Foore, John / Maguire, Sr., Alexander Brookside Country Club 37 41 76 154
Sivak, Andrew / Gordon, Herbert Doylestown Country Club 39 37 78 154
McClaskey, Charles / Howson, Jr., Jay Back Creek GC/St. Davids GC 34 38 84 156
Milutis, Joseph / Bennett, Gordon Northampton Country Club 35 38 83 156
Ayres, John / Jordan, David Woodcrest CC/Sakima CC 32 39 86 157
Fromal, Curt / Maxwell, Joseph The Spinghaven Club/Hartefeld National 37 40 82 159
Torras, Peter / Marts, Rick Kennett Square Golf & Country Club 38 37 84 159
O’Rourke, Thomas / Gaul, Gregory Chester Valley GC/Merion GC 40 41 79 160
Croney, J. Kenneth / Carter, Charles Sunnybrook Golf Club 40 42 86 168
Stanley, Peter / von Seldeneck, Clay Sunnybrook Golf Club 42 42 85 169
Paul, John / Goldberg, David Philadelphia Publinks GA 37 45 89 171
Huder, Thomas / Deacon, II, Robert Merchantville Country Club 39 43 94 176
* – won in playoff