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13th Father & Son (Middle)

Wilmington’s Mitchells return to winner’s circle

ORWIGSBURG, Pa. — During his time at NC State University, golf morphed into a job for Davis Mitchell. A mundane 9-to-5 gig that he didn’t like, so sayonara sticks.

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Once the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Mitchell needed an outlet. An escape from the mundane of quarantine. So he blew off the dust and soon renewed a passion.

“I caught the golf bug again. I started taking it a little more serious after I saw the returns. I was starting to hit it like I used to,” Davis, 22, said. “I started practicing, and [my game] kind of came together at the right time. I’ve been playing well for the last month I’d say. I’m just happy to be out here.”

“This event is special to me. My dad is very special to me.”

Davis Mitchell

The here is Schuylkill Country Club (par 72, 6,484 yards), site of the 13th Father & Son (Middle). The happy is twofold: a golf reunion with his dad Randy (the Mitchells last competed in 2017), and a trophy to show for it.

The Wilmington Country Club members carded a 4-under-par 68 to capture their fifth — yes fifth — GAP Father & Son title. They previously won the Junior Division (2013-14) and Junior-Junior Division (2010-11) in the Father & Son (Younger).

The event’s format is greensomes (selective drive/alternate shot).

“We signed up with the intention of winning. I said, ‘I’m not coming here just to play. I’m coming here to win.’ That’s really what it was about,” Davis, who graduated in May with a degree in business administration, said. “I was looking forward to this date. This event is something I wanted to win. This event is special to me. My dad is very special to me.”

A nod a proud smile from Randy echoes such a sentiment. How he and Davis played Thursday was also special.

After opening with a three-putt bogey on No. 1 (par 4, 395 yards), the Mitchell team immediately noted Schuykill’s defense: exceptional yet exceptionally speedy greens. Randy tamed pace by draining a 12-footer for birdie on the next hole (par 4, 348 yards). His 7-iron from 160 yards on No. 3 (par 5, 484 yards) deflected right of the putting surface. A Davis flop to three feet meant another team birdie. The Mitchell team, nagged by bogeys on Nos. 4 (par 3, 177 yards) and 7 (par 4, 387 yards), turned in even thanks to a 3 on No. 9 (par 4, 358 yards). Davis hit a knockdown 52-degree wedge 110 yards to eight feet. Randy cleaned up the birdie putt.

Championship mettle, despite the three-year layoff, never left the Mitchells. Exhibit A: their back nine at Schuylkill.

Davis, a long-hitter with a swing as powerful as Thanos, drove No. 12 (par 4, 332 yards) green. Randy’s 15-footer for eagle stopped in the heart. His wedge setup on No. 14 (par 5, 473 yards) gave Davis a gimme birdie. On the uphill par 3, 129-yard 16th hole, Randy watch his 9-iron land right of a front hole location and settle four feet from the jar. Davis cleaned up the birdie putt. His distance again proved advantageous on the par 5, 520-yard 17th hole. Davis drilled an 8-iron 200 yards to the middle of the green. Randy thought his 12-footer for eagle found home. However, the golf ball plummeted halfway downstairs, then spun back upstairs. Davis tapped in for birdie.

Now three shots clear of the field, the Mitchells finished in vintage. The opening act: a monstrous drive from Davis on No. 18 (par 4, 342 yards). The headliner: a picturesque 66-yard wedge shot from Randy. The defining moment: a 10-footer for birdie from Randy. The encore: a heartfelt hug between father and son.

“It was a good feeling to make that putt,” Davis, who works for CSC (Corporation Service Company), said. “It’s a GAP Father & Son. I’ve won it before. I know how to play. I know he’s going to pick me up when I’m down.”

A smirk and giggle from Randy.

“He was up the whole time. He could’ve won with anybody,” Randy, 59, said.

“He played well, too. He doesn’t give himself enough credit,” Davis said. “He was in the fairway on almost every hole, so that really helped me to be able to play my game. It gave me more confidence.”

Once Randy, the 2016 GAP Senior Amateur Champion, noticed the golf fire reignite inside Davis, he felt confident, too. Confident in the response to his Father & Son invitation.

“I asked him a while ago to play. He said, ‘I would love to. I’ll ask off from work.’ So, we’ve known that we were playing in this for a long time,” Randy, who works in real estate, said. “We like to compete in this event. We know that if we play well, then we’re going to be in it.”

By “in it” he means the winner’s circle. Vintage Mitchells.

The Father & Son (Middle) tournament is for those father and son teams with sons 19 to 29 years old. The event was conceived in 2008 because of the high demand for participation in both the Father & Son (Younger) and Father & Son (Older) — an event in its 109th year.

GAP
Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 288 Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Gross results
NameClubScore
Randy Mitchell/Davis MitchellWilmington Country Club68
Dan Bernard/Charles BernardAronimink Golf Club72
Geoff Rice/Kevin RiceHershey’s Mill Golf Club72
Kevin Kelly/Ryan KellyPhiladelphia Cricket Club73
Robert Cooper/Timothy CooperThe Links at Gettysburg73
Robin McCool/Gary McCoolSaucon Valley Country Club75
John Tall/Ryan TallRiverCrest GC & Preserve/Spring Ford Country Club77
George Audi/Dylan AudiLedgeRock Golf Club77
Bruce Hoover/Bryan HooverWhite Deer Golf Course78
Michael Ruyak/Conner RuyakBrookside Country Club79
Gary Smith/Cody SmithPine Valley Golf Club/Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association79
Dave Waldmann/Chris WaldmannYCAGA Players Club/French Creek Golf Club80
Rob Galbreath/Daniel GalbreathHuntingdon Valley Country Club80
Jalen Griffin/Nedd GriffinFive Ponds Golf Club81
Bryan Marvin/Michael MarvinOld York Road Country Club83
Joseph Templin/Jakob TemplinLedgeRock Golf Club83
Llew Royal/William RoyalJericho National Golf Club84
Michael Ryan/Joe RyanRolling Green Golf Club/Play Golf Delaware84
John Speak/Ryan SpeakJericho National Golf Club85
Michael Walsh/Mac WalshAronimink Golf Club85
Michael Bednar/Michael BednarRolling Green Golf Club86
Chris Lilley/Nick LilleyNorthampton Valley Country Club86
Patrick Sullivan/P.J. SullivanPhiladelphia Publinks Golf Association/Spring Ford Country Club86
Joseph Garrett/Scott GarrettThe Bucks Club86
Frank Krevetski/Jake KrevetskiCountry Club of York87
Anthony Gruenling/Anthony Gruenling, Jr.French Creek Golf Club87
Michael Laporta/Michael LaportaFive Ponds Golf Club/Spring Mill Country Club87
Richard Forbes/Ryan ForbesCommonwealth National Golf Club87
Tony Gehman/Jake GehmanHershey Country Club87
Jim Johnson/Michael JohnsonTalamore Country Club/LuLu Country Club91
Tom Cohen/Jack CohenRunning Deer Golf Club93
Sal Giafaglione/Salvatore Giafaglione, Jr.Running Deer Golf Club93
Nicholas Matteo/Christopher MatteoLuLu Country Club94
Michael Baranowsky/Ryan BaranowskyHuntingdon Valley Country Club95
Ed McAdoo/Sam McAdooBellewood Country Club/Bala Golf Club96
Net results
NameClubScore
Randy Mitchell/Davis MitchellWilmington Country Club68
Geoff Rice/Kevin RiceHershey’s Mill Golf Club70
Kevin Kelly/Ryan KellyPhiladelphia Cricket Club72
Dan Bernard/Charles BernardAronimink Golf Club72
John Tall/Ryan TallRiverCrest GC & Preserve/Spring Ford Country Club73
Michael Ruyak/Conner RuyakBrookside Country Club74
Robin McCool/Gary McCoolSaucon Valley Country Club74
Michael Ryan/Joe RyanRolling Green Golf Club/Play Golf Delaware74
Bruce Hoover/Bryan HooverWhite Deer Golf Course75
Joseph Templin/Jakob TemplinLedgeRock Golf Club75
Gary Smith/Cody SmithPine Valley Golf Club/Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association76
Chris Lilley/Nick LilleyNorthampton Valley Country Club76
Michael Laporta/Michael LaportaFive Ponds Golf Club/Spring Mill Country Club76
Rob Galbreath/Daniel GalbreathHuntingdon Valley Country Club76
George Audi/Dylan AudiLedgeRock Golf Club77
Michael Bednar/Michael BednarRolling Green Golf Club77
Llew Royal/William RoyalJericho National Golf Club77
Joseph Garrett/Scott GarrettThe Bucks Club77
John Speak/Ryan SpeakJericho National Golf Club78
Anthony Gruenling/Anthony Gruenling, Jr.French Creek Golf Club78
Nicholas Matteo/Christopher MatteoLuLu Country Club78
Tony Gehman/Jake GehmanHershey Country Club78
Frank Krevetski/Jake KrevetskiCountry Club of York80
Dave Waldmann/Chris WaldmannYCAGA Players Club/French Creek Golf Club80
Patrick Sullivan/P.J. SullivanPhiladelphia Publinks Golf Association/Spring Ford Country Club81
Richard Forbes/Ryan ForbesCommonwealth National Golf Club81
Tom Cohen/Jack CohenRunning Deer Golf Club82
Michael Walsh/Mac WalshAronimink Golf Club82
Sal Giafaglione/Salvatore Giafaglione, Jr.Running Deer Golf Club84
Ed McAdoo/Sam McAdooBellewood Country Club/Bala Golf Club86
Jim Johnson/Michael JohnsonTalamore Country Club/LuLu Country Club87
Michael Baranowsky/Ryan BaranowskyHuntingdon Valley Country Club88