Indian Valley’s Butler charges to victory in Jock MacKenzie playoff - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Jul 24, 2017

Indian Valley’s Butler charges to victory in Jock MacKenzie playoff

ORELAND, Pa. — Thomas Butler turned his best 18-hole tournament score into hardware Monday in the 33rd Jock MacKenzie Memorial.

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  The Indian Valley Country Club youngster carded an even-par 72 in regulation to forge his way into a three-way playoff with a pair of 18-year-olds in Matt Chalupa and Buddy Hansen, IV. He birdied the second hole (No. 9, par 4, 324 yards) in overtime to prevail at a stormy-then-steamy Sandy Run Country Club (par 72, 6,461 yards).

  “This gives me a lot confidence because I had some struggles earlier in the year but the last few competitive rounds, I’ve been playing well,” Butler, 16, of Telford, Pa., said. “I was 3 over with five holes left and thinking, ‘Maybe if I can get one or two back I’ll be lucky and maybe tie.’ I got all three back and ended up tying. I can’t complain. I wasn’t expecting to make a par and a birdie [in the playoff], especially after that first drive.”

  The aforementioned tee shot on No. 1 (par 4, 347 yards), the first playoff hole, put Butler in a precarious position underneath a pine tree. He examined the lie (favorable in fluffy dirt) and determined a clear swing path to the ball. With an accelerated follow-thru accentuating a shortened backswing, Butler sent a pitching wedge from 115 yards over a guarding bunker, eight feet right of the hole location. Relatively soft conditions from saturating rains overnight and into the morning contributed to a sudden stop upon landing.

  “Normally, I’d hit a gap wedge, but being that I was under a tree, there was one branch that was bugging me,” Butler, a rising junior at Souderton Area High School, said. “I didn’t want to hit it with my backswing because it might take me offline so I went up to a pitching wedge. I was pretty happy with that one.”

  Butler and Hansen, however, both missed their birdie putts and carded matching 4s. Chalupa, an Inniscrone Golf Club member making his Golf Association of Philadelphia debut, failed to save par from the left greenside bunker and therefore exited the session. On No. 9, both Butler and Hansen, a Blue Bell Country Club member, found the fairway. The former then saw an identical shot to one he hit in regulation: a 56-degree wedge from 50 yards to a front right hole location. Butler landed it 15 feet left and slightly above. Hansen’s wedge approach inhaled more air than anticipated, giving the incoming senior at La Salle College High School a testy downhiller for birdie. His attempt stopped four feet shy.

  Next came Butler’s heroics.

  “Once Buddy missed, I really wasn’t thinking about making that putt because I knew if I hit it too hard, it was going to roll a long way past. When I hit it, I realized, ‘That might go in,’” Butler said.

  Butler, who teed off almost an hour after Chalupa, inked a 2-under-par 34 on his inward nine. That number included three straight birdies on Nos. 14-16. On the first (par 4, 415 yards), Butler drilled a 9-iron 150 yards to 30 feet above the flagstick. He smoked a 4-iron from 200 yards onto the 15th green’s (par 5, 477 yards) front edge and walked away with a two-putt birdie. To cap the red stretch, Butler knocked a 52-degree wedge 100 yards to 20 feet below the hole location on No. 16 (par 4, 375 yards) and deposited a right-to-left breaker.

  “Once I did that, I realized that I’ve never been at even par with two holes left,” he said.

  The internal shock swelled; the bespectacled Butler quelled it with tap-in pars on the final two holes. A pleasant surprise considering he missed both fairways — a rare occurrence on this day with a replacement driver.

  That’s right. Butler broke his driver during the Montgomery County Amateur yesterday. He used a Big Bertha Epic demo as a temporary substitute Monday.

  When it comes to GAP events, the suave and soft-spoken Butler is now 1-for-2. His lone prior appearance? An 88 in the qualifying round of the Junior Boys’ Championship presented by PURE Insurance.

  “This feels pretty good,” Butler said. “The first one wasn’t good, but this one feels just a bit better.”

  A lot better.

Darren Nolan

Talamore Country Club’s Darren Nolan carded an even-par 36 to claim the event’s Junior-Junior Boys’ (par 36, 2,855 yards) title.

  Birdies on Nos. 16 (par 4, 350 yards) and 17 (par 4, 329 yards) allowed the incoming Abington Junior High School eighth grader to finish level. On the first, he drew a 7-iron from 142 yards to three feet. After leaving a sand wedge from 83 yards short of the 17th green, Nolan chipped in for a birdie — a highlight of the day.

  Nolan teamed with Chester Valley Golf Club’s Henry Fish to win the Junior-Junior crown in the Francis X. Hussey Memorial two weeks ago. He will compete in the Association’s Junior-Junior Boys’ Championship next week.

  “I’m hitting the ball at least 40 yards farther than I did last year, and my short game has improved a lot,” Nolan, 13, of Glenside, Pa., said. “I play every day and practice once a week. I enjoy pounding my drives down the middle.”

Harry Hammond Award
Commonwealth National Golf Club’s Ron Robinson swapped a potential spot in a U.S. Amateur Qualifier for a shot at the Harry Hammond Award. He made the right decision.

  Robinson became only the third player since the award’s inception in 2000 to win in consecutive years Billy Stewart, 2000-01 and Cole Berman, 2012-13). Robinson carded a 73 Monday for a 299 total and a two-stroke victory over Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club’s Matt Graeff.

  “It was really important to me because it was such an honor to win last year. I knew it was going to possible again this year because I’ve improved a lot,” Robinson, 18, of Hatfield, Pa., said. “My game’s been coming around the past couple of weeks, which has been big.”

  Robinson, a recent North Penn High School graduate, will attend Monmouth University in the fall.

  Jock MacKenzie served as Sandy Run Country Club’s head professional for more than three decades. The Memorial tournament, which originated in 1985, is named in his honor. It is open to Junior golfers — both male and female — from GAP Member Clubs. Sandy Run hosts the event each year.

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 153 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.

Junior Boys’ Division
Name, club Score
*Thomas Butler, Indian Valley Country Club 72
Matt Chalupa, Inniscrone Golf Club 72
Buddy Hansen, IV, Blue Bell Country Club 72
Hayden Moffat, Lu Lu Country Club 74
Drew Steinmetz, Spring Ford Country Club 74
Sam Walker, St. Davids Golf Club 74
Chase Miller, Heidelberg Country Club 74
Ron Robinson, Commonwealth National Golf Club 75
Matthew Hanzel, Running Deer Golf Club 75
Matt Graeff, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club 76
Ben Wiseman, The Bucks Club 76
Tyler Roland, Overbrook Golf Club 77
Nicholas Scott, GAP Junior eClub 77
Jacob Zeng, Applecross Country Club 77
Alec Stern, Green Valley Country Club 78
Michael O’Neill, Overbrook Golf Club 78
Andrew Gallagher, Laurel Creek Country Club 78
Griffin Foll, Yardley Country Club 78
Shane Nocito, Philmont Country Club 79
Bobby Beck, Lehigh Country Club 79
Jacob Hanzel, Running Deer Golf Club 79
Chris Skean, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club 79
Matthew Lafond, Blue Bell Country Club 80
David Colleran, Jr., Overbrook Golf Club 80
Gee Smith, IV, Merion Golf Club 80
Dylan Sterlacci, Applecross Country Club 80
Archie Filshill, Jr., Huntingdon Valley Country Club 81
Emmett Fox, McCall Golf & Country Club 81
Dante DiStefano, Commonwealth National Golf Club 82
Francis Rosato, Aronimink Golf Club 82
William Foxman, Gulph Mills Golf Club 82
Justin Hershey, Applebrook Golf Club 82
Jake McCloskey, Radley Run Country Club 82
Ryan Niggeman, French Creek Golf Club 82
James Dalzell, Jr., Linwood Country Club 82
Dylan Topaz, Philadelphia Cricket Club 83
Jake Maddaloni, Aronimink Golf Club 83
John Bradbeer, Merion Golf Club 83
Alec Ryden, Laurel Creek Country Club 83
Daniel Galbreath, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 84
Charlie Baker, Gulph Mills Golf Club 84
Nicholas Taylor, Jericho National Golf Club 84
Stephen Lorenzo, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club 85
Ethan Krohn, Overbrook Golf Club 85
Cal Buonocore, Llanerch Country Club 86
Jonathan Green, Green Valley Country Club 87
Trevor Paolone, Overbrook Golf Club 87
Jason Swartz, Blue Bell Country Club 88
Nicholas Hano, III, Aronimink Golf Club 88
Jack Fialko, Aronimink Golf Club 88
Sam Greenebaum, Medford Lakes Country Club 88
Brett Gulati, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve 88
Matt Fleming, Spring Mill Country Club 88
Ryan McHugh, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club 90
David Mester, The Springhaven Club 91
Andrew Damico, McCall Golf & Country Club 92
Stephen Butler, Indian Valley Country Club 92
John McClatchy, Whitford Country Club 93
Tyler Dalzell, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 95
Brayden Diprinzio, Chester Valley Golf Club 96
Richard Boorum, Paxon Hollow Country Club 109
Max Ferracci, Philadelphia Country Club 113
Davis Flannery, Overbrook Golf Club NS
Daniel Bastian, Rolling Green Golf Club NS
Brent Schoeller, Huntingdon Valley Country Club WD
JonNolan Perry, Waynesborough Country Club WD
Matthew Brennan, Rolling Green Golf Club WD
Greg DeLuca, Makefield Highlands Golf Club WD
Tyler Zimmer, Philadelphia Country Club WD
Junior-Junior Boys’ Division
Name, club Score
Darren Nolan, Talamore Country Club 36
Nathan Guertler, Tavistock Country Club 41
Nicholas Gross, Applecross Country Club 42
Lucas Steinmetz, Spring Ford Country Club 43
Christian Matt, Talamore Country Club 45
Chase Cristella, Laurel Creek Country Club 45
Kevin Lafond, Blue Bell Country Club 47
Tyler Leyden, North Hills Country Club 47
Luke Burman, North Hills Country Club 49
Colin Michener, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 49
Gavin Michener, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 49
Eric Fryer, Talamore Country Club 49
Richie Biborosch, Aronimink Golf Club 50
Jackson Fryer, Talamore Country Club 53
Dodge Martinson, Trenton Country Club 53
Charlie Hurchalla, The Springhaven Club 53
Jackson Puskar, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club 57
Kidder Urban, Bellewood Country Club 69
Matthew Hurchalla, The Springhaven Club 75
Junior Girls’ Division
Name, club Score
*Meghan Fahey, Merion Golf Club 83
Lauren Jones, Merion Golf Club 83
Georgia Naples, White Manor Country Club 84
Clare Gimpel, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club 88
Savanna Haas, Spring Ford Country Club 93
Tatum Henry, Blue Heron Pines Golf Club 94
Junior-Junior Girls’ Division
Name, club Score
Molly Gregor, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 42
Emma McGrath, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 65
Gabrielle Courtney, North Hills Country Club 71
Nora Blatney, Philadelphia Cricket Club WD
Mollie Young, North Hills Country Club WD
* — won in playoff
NS — no show; WD — withdrawal

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