Jun 08, 2016

Donatoni returns to Super-Senior winner’s circle in Chapman (Gross)

  ABSECON, N.J. – For the first time in 2016, Don Donatoni is back in the winner’s circle – a place that he has called a second home since obtaining Super-Senior eligibility in 2013. | Scorecards | History | Laurel Creek’s Russo claims Senior crown |

  The reigning three-time Super-Senior Player of the Year can now add another reign to his name. White Manor Country Club’s Donatoni claimed the Super-Senior title in the Frank H. Chapman Memorial Cup (Gross) for the second year in a row thanks to a 3-over-par 74 at Galloway National Golf Club (par 71, 6,096 yards). The victory was Donatoni’s third in the Super-Senior Major event. He also took home a Chapman (Gross) Senior title in 2008 at North Hills Country Club.

  It wasn’t all fun and games for the champion on a day that combined hurricane-like gusts of wind with a challenging track. Donatoni found disarray on the front nine, much like the rest of the 43-player field. The first glimpse of trouble arrived on the bay-hugging No. 2 (par 3, 136 yards). Donatoni punched an 8-iron aimed at a difficult front-right pin, but ended with a dangerous lie off the green left. His first off-balance chip shot rolled back toward his feet. The next attempt went past the hole, and the comebacker for bogey was missed as well. A disheartening double bogey was a disastrous start for the reigning champion.

  “I knew right there that I had to right the ship,” said Donatoni, 68, of Malvern, Pa. “I told myself I needed to start hitting greens and making putts. Simple as that.”

  Nos. 3-6 implemented that new plan. Solid ball-striking and par saves came on every one of those holes. A hiccup, however, emerged on No. 8 (par 3, 153 yards) in result of a wayward tee shot that found tree trouble on the right. He managed to salvage bogey there – “a score that could have been much higher” – with his putter. The par-5, 485-yard 9th saw a strong drive, 3-wood and solid wedge ultimately turn in to a three-putt for another bogey. Donatoni sat 4-over through his first nine.

  Then, in title-hunting fashion, Donatoni flipped a switch on.

  “After that start, there was no other choice but to get something going on the back. The wind started picking up, and the conditions were not ideal,” he said. “But I ended up posting a great score – one that I was extremely proud of.”

  With eight pars and a birdie (on the par-4, 337-yard 12th) on the closing nine, Donatoni finished with a score that went mostly unchallenged by an afternoon field that faced winds as high as 40 miles per hour at times.

  “I felt good about this one. I got off to a bit of a challenging start this year. If someone told me this morning I would post 3 over in these conditions on a very hard golf course, I would have taken it in a second,” said Donatoni, who hasn’t played Galloway in more than 10 years. “The morning wave had less severe conditions. The wind was tricky, but it wasn’t gusting until the back nine for us. I just tried to make par on the back nine.”

  Making pars, and putts for that matter, hasn’t been an easy task for the champion in 2016. He says he has gone through “four putters, multiples stances and a loss of confidence in his stroke” since the beginning of the season. That quickly changed with a simple look at his son A.J.’s golf bag.

  “I couldn’t get anything going. I ended up going back to an old Scotty Cameron that was in my son’s bag, which I bought maybe 25 years ago,” he said. “It felt great out there today. The last few rounds I’ve been stroking it much better and my pace is solid again. I’m making those crucial four and five-footers again, which are always crucial. In today’s round I made around six of those little, smelly putts that sometimes get away from you.”

  Donatoni is hoping his Scotty flatstick won’t get away from him when he sets foot on one of the biggest stages GAP has to offer. Thanks to a Player of the Year exemption, Donatoni will be in the field for the 116th playing of the BMW Philadelphia Amateur on Monday which includes 36-holes of stroke-play qualifying at Merion Golf Club and Philadelphia Country Club.

  “I’m honored to just be in the field. It might be one of the last times I will tee it up in a [Philadelphia] Amateur Championship,” said Donatoni. “Those days are behind me. I’ll be 50 yards behind everybody, but hopefully my wedges and hybrids will be working. When you’re playing in those, you’re playing against the very best that GAP has to offer. I don’t have any illusions about it – I just want to have fun on two of the best courses out there.”

  Frank H. Chapman, a Whitemarsh Valley Country Club member, served as the Association’s secretary-treasurer for 23 years. He died on June 7, 1955 at the age of 88. The Gross tournament, now in its 11th year, is held in his honor.

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 151 Member Clubs and 57,000 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.

Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Name, club Score
Don Donatoni, White Manor Country Club 74
Clay Hamlin, III, Merion Golf Club 78
Robert Billings, Rolling Green Golf Club 78
Daniel Burton, Lancaster Country Club 79
Ralph Bincarowsky, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club 79
Raymond Pawulich, Little Mill Country Club 79
William Lawler, Fox Hill Country Club 79
Dave Jacobson, Medford Village Country Club 80
Norman Linker, Old York CC at Chesterfield 80
Robin McCool, Saucon Valley Country Club 80
Theodore Beringer, Philadelphia Country Club 80
Michael Rose, Talamore Country Club 81
Michael Anton, Lookaway Golf Club 82
Terrence Sawyer, Mercer Oaks Golf Course 82
Carl Everett, Merion Golf Club 83
Charles McClaskey, Loch Nairn Golf Club 83
Lawrence Harrison, Hidden Creek Golf Club 83
Robert Lodovici, Little Mill Country Club 83
Robert Walters, DuPont Country Club 83
Alan Van Horn, Commonwealth National Golf Club 84
Frank Treml, Philadelphia Publinks GA 84
James Barron, Hartefeld National 84
Michael Nilon, Philadelphia Country Club 84
Ed Zebrowski, Sea Oaks Golf Club 85
John Owens, Tavistock Country Club 85
Richard Krauss, Manufacturers Golf & Country Club 85
David Jordan, Sakima Country Club 86
Donald Ashley, Philadelphia Country Club 86
George Collins, Sand Barrens Golf Club 86
Jay Ward, Cedarbrook Country Club 86
J. Peter Pierce, Philadelphia Country Club 87
Michael Rowland, Lehigh Country Club 87
Thomas Mallouk, Lookaway Golf Club 87
Eugene Maginnis, Jr., Whitemarsh Valley Country Club 88
Raymond Fuller, Running Deer Golf Club 88
Richard Smith, Philadelphia Country Club 88
Phil Blanck, Honeybrook Golf Club 89
Charles Whipple, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 92
John Patton, Little Mill Country Club 92
Jon Mabry, Moorestown Field Club 92
Edward Bondi, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 93
James Haynie, Commonwealth National Golf Club 94
David Brookreson, Huntingdon Valley Country Club WD
Fred Jones, Merion Golf Club WD
George Carr, Wedgwood Country Club WD
Matthew Bellis, Commonwealth National Golf Club WD
Norman Jester, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club WD
Paul Koelling, Greate Bay Country Club WD
Richard Speranza, Jericho National Golf Club WD
Robert Van Etten, Laurel Creek Country Club WD
Thomas Mairone, Philadelphia Publinks GA WD

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