Michael Dougherty, Jay Howson, Jr. capture Brewer Cup titles - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Jul 15, 2009

Michael Dougherty, Jay Howson, Jr. capture Brewer Cup titles

SPRING HOUSE, Pa.–Michael Dougherty of Huntingdon Valley CC fashioned a large early advantage and then drained a decisive eight-foot curling par putt on the final hole to defeat top-seeded Roc Irey of Lookaway GC, 1-up, in the Brewer Cup Senior Division final on Wednesday at Old York Road CC. It was Dougherty’s first senior Golf Association of Philadelphia victory.

“It’s amazing. It’s great. I surprised myself,” said an emotional Dougherty, 60, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa. “I missed a short putt like that a while ago for a championship. I told myself to bear down, make a good stroke and trust the read. And it went in. It was a great feeling. This is a big accomplishment for me. I’m honored to have won this championship.”

  Early on, Dougherty, the No. 3 seed, looked like a runaway winner. The smooth-swinging right-hander built a 5-up advantage after five holes with an opening birdie and four subsequent pars. However, a couple of poor swings here, three-putts there and stronger Irey play saw the lead slowly dwindle.

  Still, after Dougherty birdied No. 11 (par 4, 366 yards) and No. 14 (par 3, 150 yards) to take then 2-up leads to 3-ups – Dougherty hit a wedge from 118 yards to a foot on No. 11 and knocked a three-quarter 7-iron to six feet on No. 14 – the outcome seemed predestined.

  “I still felt like I was OK,” said Dougherty. “Those obviously were confidence builders.”

  On the dog-leg left No. 15 (par 5, 523 yards), a determined Irey moved a little closer when he registered a two-putt par and Dougherty three-putted from 45 feet. Dougherty was 2-up. On No. 16 (par 3, 181 yards), Irey held honors and rifled a 6-iron to 12 feet. Dougherty, using a 4-rescue club, the same stick he hit to inches in his morning semifinal match to close out Charles Jones, landed about 10 feet from the hole but stopped some 30 feet away. He would three-putt and the match would stand with him 1-up and two holes to play.

  The two halved No. 17 (par 4, 406 yards) with pars bringing the match to the final hole.

  “I had two thoughts after I was down so much early,” said Irey. “Try not to get beat, 8&7, and win one hole and then try to win one more hole.”

  On No. 18 (par 4, 403 yards), Irey, again up first, rocketed a driver down the fairway and had 100 yards remaining. Dougherty found the heavy rough off the tee 162 yards from the green and then got a bit fortunate. A gouge out of the rough with a 6-iron sent the ball into the left greenside tree. The ball could have gone anywhere – out of bounds or into the adjacent hazard – but instead kicked back into the fairway 30 yards out. Irey launched a 58-degree wedge to 25 feet left of the hole but on a good putting line. It looked like extra holes might be needed.

  However, Dougherty, considering the circumstances, made a fantastic chip that stopped eight feet behind hole but with a flat putt. Irey’s birdie try to square the match slid past and Dougherty stepped up and drained his effort.

  “That was the only chip I hit exactly how I wanted to all week,” said Dougherty, whose short game caused him issues in the final match. “It was a full cup outside left.”

  Said Irey, 57, of Furlong, Pa., “Unfortunately, I got too far behind this afternoon. I didn’t think I hit it bad. I just had too big a hole to dig out of. I didn’t make any putts all week. The greens are tough here. You don’t beat the Road up.”

  In the semifinals, Irey defeated close friend and his State Senior Better-Ball champion partner, Thomas Bartolacci, Jr., of Saucon Valley CC, 1-up. Dougherty upended Jones of Blue Bell CC, 3&2.

Super-Senior Division
  Jay Howson, Jr., of St. Davids GC defeated Richard Smith of Philadelphia CC in 20 holes for the Brewer Cup Super-Senior Division championship. Howson, who entered No. 18 (par 4, 387 yards) 1-down, chipped in an 8-iron from the back fringe some 25 feet away to force more golf.

  After pars on the first playoff hole, the duo went to No. 2 (par 4, 321 yards). Howson found the fairway off the tee and Smith landed in the right trees. Howson put his 112-yard pitching wedge 30 feet from the cup. Smith, who thought he had an opening, clipped the branches with his approach, and watched his ball stop only 12 yards closer. He then put his third shot on the green 25 feet away and two putted. Howson parred the hole for the win.

  “It was like two different games,” said Howson, 71, of Malvern, Pa. “The first 10 holes I played poorly. The second 10 holes I was 1-over par.

  “I always feel like I can win the match no matter what the score is. Even though I was struggling I felt like I was in it all the way. I was a little discouraged when I missed a four-foot birdie putt on No. 15 (par 5, 492 yards) but when I won 16 (par 3, 170), I still felt like I could win the match.”

  This was Howson’s first victory since taking the 2002 Warner Cup.

  “I was happy the way I played this week,” said Smith, 72, of Villanova, Pa. “I felt like I was in control of the match and then he wins Nos. 16 and 18 and that takes care of that.”

  Smith led the match from No. 2 through 17th. His only deficit came after the final hole.

  This was the second Brewer Cup. The event is named in honor of O. Gordon Brewer, Jr.

  Brewer, the current president of Pine Valley GC, is a two-time U.S. Senior Amateur Champion and veteran of 42 USGA Championships. He’s captured two Golf Association of Philadelphia Amateur Championship titles (1967, 1976), a GAP Senior Amateur Championship crown (1997) and a Senior Player of the Year (1997) as well as countless invitational titles. And just last year was recognized for his contributions to the game with the USGA’s Bob Jones Award. He also won the inaugural Brewer Cup Super-Senior Division title a year ago at Huntingdon Valley CC.

  The Brewer Cup is open to Senior players with a handicap index of 7.0 or less and Super Seniors with an index of 12.0 or less.

  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 134 Member Clubs and 56,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. The purpose of the Association is simple: To promote, protect and preserve the game of golf in the region.

Senior Division
3. Michael Dougherty, Huntingdon Valley CC, d. 1. Roc Irey, Lookaway GC, 1-up

1. Irey d. 4. Thomas Bartolacci, Jr., Saucon Valley CC, 1-up
3. Dougherty d. 7. Charles Jones, Blue Bell CC, 3&2

Super-Senior Division
5. Jay Howson, Jr., St. Davids GC, d. 7. Richard Smith, Philadelphia CC, 20 holes

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