Indian Valley’s Henofer wins 60th Tournament of Champions in playoff - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Oct 10, 2017

Indian Valley’s Henofer wins 60th Tournament of Champions in playoff

EXETER, Pa. — Indian Valley Country Club’s Kyle Henofer defeated Glenmaura National Golf Club’s Patrick Mitchell in a sudden-death playoff to win the 60th Tournament of Champions at Fox Hill Country Club (par 71, 6,508 yards) Tuesday. Both players carded respective 1-over-par 72s in regulation.

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  “It was very nerve-racking, so I’m really relieved and happy. I wasn’t sure how it was going to play out,” Henofer, 23, of Sellersville, Pa., said. “I kind of stayed in the moment and got it done.”

  The nerves avalanched after Henofer, with tee honors, hooked his drive on No. 1 (par 4, 401 yards), the first playoff hole. The Arcadia University junior ran to the edge of the tee-box, crouched and prayed for a safe landing. His golf ball landed in the adjacent No. 9 fairway — 127 yards from the flagstick. Mitchell then missed the fairway right with his drive. He negotiated an overhanging tree with his approach, leaving it 15 yards shy of the hole location. Given the circumstances, Henofer decided to play his 50-degree wedge to the middle of the green. Mitchell’s third shot failed to release toward the flagstick, forcing a testy 30-footer for par. He missed, opening the door for a Henofer two-putt victory from 20 feet.

  “Once I saw him miss his putt, I did get a little bit more tentative [with my birdie try],” Henofer said. “I was like, ‘Get the ball to the hole and get the two-putt.’”

  Henofer, who completed his round three hours earlier, rearranged his academic schedule to make Tuesday possible. He rescheduled a morning lab and called his Living World Religions professor once he realized a playoff was evident. Between sessions, Henofer met his girlfriend Madison Trauger, a sophomore at nearby Wilkes University, for lunch. The retreat helped mentally.

  “I didn’t think too much about golf. It allowed me to be comfortable up here,” Henofer said. “I have a really good support system. I’m really grateful for that.”

  A pair of par 5s ultimately set the playoff stage. Poor wedge approaches within 85 yards on Nos. 12 (490 yards) and 14 (517 yards) caused bogeys. Henofer, on the other hand, birdied both. He powered a 4-iron 207 yards to 35 feet and two putted on No. 12. After leaving a grip-it-and-rip-it 3-wood short of the 14th green, Henofer nestled a chip to five feet. He also inked red on No. 15 (par 4, 340 yards), knocking a wedge 68 yards to 35 feet.

  “I really lucked out. I had a little bit of a read [from my playing partners] and realized how slow [the putt],” he said. “I really pounded it.”

  Henofer needed a late charge after exiting his outward nine in 3 over.

  “I wish I played a little bit smarter on the front,” he said. “I came out and really tried to bully the course. It bit me in the butt. I played a lot smarter on the back. I completely changed my strategy.”

  Henofer earned a spot in the Tournament of Champions by claiming his first men’s title at Indian Valley this summer. He defeated good friend and sometimes caddie Joe Harding in the Final.

  “I was really happy with the win that got me here. That’s been a monkey on my back,” Henofer said.

Robin McCool

Senior & Super-Senior
Donald Crossin didn’t initially intend to compete in Tuesday’s event on his home course. He is traveling later this week and thought it be best to hold off in preparation.

  The Fox Hill family changed his mind.

  “[Head professional Francis Hayes] and some of the members said, ‘You’ve got to play. It’s at our club. See what you can do,’” Crossin, 53, of Plains, Pa., said. “I’m glad I did.”

  A fun experience and a trophy left the longtime Fox Hill member smiling. Crossin carded an even-par 71 to take the event’s Senior (par 71, 6,164 yards) title. He fired three birdies on the day. On No. 6 (par 5, 470 yards), Crossin knocked a wedge 80 yards to 15 feet. A 7-iron and wedge, respectively, set up conversions on Nos. 10 (par 4, 341 yards) and 15 (par 4, 319 yards).

  Crossin is a three-time Senior champion (2014-14, 2017) and former men’s champion (2008) at Fox Hill. He held a junior membership before gaining full status in 1983. Crossin knows the golf course intricacies and embraces the club camaraderie.

  “Anytime you need a game you can get it. I love it here,” Crossin, who works in insurance and real estate, said.

  In the Super-Senior (par 71, 5,787 yards) Division, Saucon Valley Country Club’s Robin McCool carded a 1-over-par 72 to prevail by four strokes.

  McCool, a three-time (2006-07, 2012) Senior winner in the Tournament of Champions, saw his 9-iron facilitate a pair of back-nine birdies. On the par 3, 124-yard 11th hole, he used the club to create a two-footer for birdie. McCool again pulled 9-iron for a 115-yard approach on No. 17 (par 4, 334 yards). He deposited a 10-footer — six feet of break included — for birdie there.

  “I’ve played here before, so I know it can be a pretty difficult golf course. I just tried to make a lot of pars, which is what I did,” McCool, 66, of Center Valley, Pa., said. “When I made a bogey, I immediately birdied the next hole.”

  McCool, who finished second in the Association’s Super-Senior Player of the Year race a year ago, didn’t play “up to my standards” in 2017. A housing move left the former GAP Executive Committee member with a lot on his plate throughout the summer. McCool, however, turned a corner as the season progressed, winning the Senior Division in the Lehigh Valley Amateur and placing fifth in the GAP Senior Amateur at Lehigh Country Club. He’s excited to end the year on another triumphant note.

  “Plus, I want to go to The Player’s Dinner [on Oct. 25]. Now I’m going to get my invitation,” McCool said.

  Open to current Member Club amateur champions, senior amateur champions and previous winners, the Tournament of Champions began in 1962 in memory of Larry Malmed. The Golf Association of Philadelphia accepted the event in 1984 after Al Porter, the tournament’s coordinator, was forced to retire because of an illness. A Senior Division was added in 1992.

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.

Amateur Division
Name, club Score
*Kyle Henofer, Indian Valley Country Club 72
Patrick Mitchell, Glenmaura National Golf Club 72
David Kimbley, Philadelphia Publinks GA 73
Greg O’Connor, Bellewood Country Club 74
John Mikiewicz, Fox Hill Country Club 74
Matthew Crescenzo, Philmont Country Club 75
Rocco Sgrillo, Philmont Country Club 75
Matthew Finger, DuPont Country Club 75
Todd Vonderheid, Huntsville Golf Club 75
Michael Lynch, Country Club of Scranton 76
Larry Benedetto, Concord Country Club 76
David Shields, Flourtown Country Club 77
Vincent Kwon, Little Mill Country Club 77
Max Harrington, Moselem Springs Golf Club 78
Jeff Nocella, Bala Golf Club 78
Andrew Willadsen, Sakima Country Club 78
Cory Haldeman, Saucon Valley Country Club 79
Paul Carbone, Jr., Old York Road Country Club 80
Vince D’Ginto, Limekiln Golf Club 81
Adam Bracy, Rancocas Golf Club 82
Ryan Cass, Merchantville Country Club 86
Christopher Thude, Union League Golf Club at Torresdale WD
Senior Division
Name, club Score
Donald Crossin, Fox Hill Country Club 71
Art Brunn, Wyoming Valley Country Club 72
Robert Gill, Fox Hill Country Club 72
John Alterman, Commonwealth National Golf Club 72
John Willadsen, Sakima Country Club 72
Don Donatoni, White Manor Country Club 73
Brian Rothaus, Five Ponds Golf Club 73
Chris Smedley, Hartefeld National 73
Randy Mitchell, Wilmington Country Club 74
Gregory Buliga, Yardley Country Club 76
Bryan Marvin, Old York Road Country Club 76
Michael Vassil, Country Club of Scranton 77
David Gibbons, Stonewall 77
Tom DiCinti, Old York CC at Chesterfield 77
James Muller, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club 77
Andrew Harmer, The Springhaven Club 77
Richard Umani, Honeybrook Golf Club 77
Bill Tarabek, Glen Oak Country Club 78
William Lawler, Fox Hill Country Club 78
Christopher Clauson, Lu Lu Country Club 78
Richard Atcavage, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club 79
John Gonsior, Limekiln Golf Club 79
Greg Galtere, Reading Country Club 80
Thomas Michalek, Golden Oaks Golf Club 81
J. Kirk Luntey, Merion Golf Club 81
Thomas Hyland, Little Mill Country Club 81
Harold Schweitzer, Jr., Broad Run Golfer’s Club 82
Frank Polizzi, Sunnybrook Golf Club 84
Robert LaFountain, Jr., Coatesville Country Club 85
Edwin Diaz, Loch Nairn Golf Club 87
Lou Trovato, Talamore Country Club 87
Rick Urban, Applecross Country Club 87
Donald Loughney, Jr., Brookside CC of Allentown 88
Scott Schaffer, Woodcrest Country Club 95
Super-Senior Division
Name, club Score
Robin McCool, Saucon Valley Country Club 72
Ed Hennigan, Fox Hill Country Club 76
David Swiderski, Merchantville Country Club 78
Howard Press, Little Mill Country Club 78
Hal Morris, Talamore Country Club 81
Todd Kennedy, Five Ponds Golf Club 82
Alan Brody, Radnor Valley Country Club 84
David Jordan, Sakima Country Club 85
Louis Degennaro, Country Club of Scranton 86
Randall Smith, Green Valley Country Club 86
Steve Tagert, Spring Ford Country Club 86
Allen Barnes, Medford Lakes Country Club 90
William Mainwaring, Glenmaura National Golf Club 99
Jack Blozis, Loch Nairn Golf Club 102
William Kovach, Mercer Oaks Golf Course WD
* — won in playoff
NS — no; WD — withdrawal

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