Nov 03, 2017

Merion returns to Senior Club Team Challenge supremacy

Merion Golf Club reclaimed the Senior Club Team Challenge crown in a nail-biter on Oct. 28. It nipped Commonwealth National Golf Club and two-time titleholder Little Mill Country Club (2014, 2016) by one point in the Playoff. Bellewood Country Club placed fourth with 21.5 points.

Senior Club Team Challenge history |
  “Last year was a great disappointment because there was a mix-up on the starting times at Little Mill. It wound up costing us a chance to get past them [and to make the Playoff],” Carl Everett, Merion’s team captain, said. “This year we really wanted to win it. Fortunately, we managed to pull it out. It came down to the very last match reported.”

Merion, which also won in 2015, trailed in the Playoff until the results from Commonwealth National were reported. Norm Fitzpatrick, playing in the final group there, posted 7.5 points to give his team 41.5 points.

“Norm is our official team hero, although (J. Kirk) Luntey, with nine points [at Merion] was very solid as well,” Everett, 70, of Harleysville, Pa., said.

“A lot of it was home course knowledge. I played well, but it certainly didn’t hurt knowing the greens,” Luntey, 60, of Ardmore, Pa., said. “They were slick. I think everybody was struggling with them.”

With Merion’s East Course expected to close in 2018, a title defense remains unknown. The team will, in the meantime, savor its Senior Club Team Challenge success.

“We were excited about winning,” Everett said. “The email flurry was unusual. It was kind of like back in the days when we did well in the (BMW GAP) Team Matches.”

“The Team Matches in the spring get you going. This is something to kind of keep the season going a little longer,” Luntey added.

Open to Golf Association of Philadelphia Member Clubs, the Senior Club Team Challenge features teams of eight; format is singles match play (gross only). Matches are scored as a Nassau with one point awarded for each of the nines. Participating clubs each host a pair of foursomes on Saturdays in October. Those foursomes are slotted in a four-team bracket, with the winners of each section competing in the Senior Club Team Challenge Playoff. Brackets are regionalized.

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 Full Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. 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.

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